One of the greatest things about the new Web 2.0 is that the web is no longer just a place to go get information; it is alive and full of two-way interactions. Since it has made the transition into a social web and allows for so much interaction there can be great confusion regarding terms that we have become accustomed to hearing on a daily basis. Two terms that we hear used a lot both in marketing and outside of marketing platformsare Social Networking and Social Media. Many use these two terms interchangeably but they are not synonymous.

Social Networking

Social Networking

Social networking is basically an online social community. This can be on a strictly personal level, but it can also be a large part of business and internet marketing strategies. There are many social sites on line where people with common interests can share thoughts, ideas, plans or chat about life’s occurrences. Web users build online communities around a common interest. Coming together within a social network can revolve around limitless topics. A social network can be tied together around simple friendship, kinship, or financial exchanges, religious beliefs or virtually any type of shared interest. Basically, a social network is built by creating a page or a group and allowing the exchange of conversation or information about the interest that is shared. Social networking can be accomplished through the use of social media.

Social media is a very broad term that includes a wide variety of media vehicles. It is the “how” of how we socialize on the new Web 2.0. Social media is the vehicle we use to share information with our social network. Social media includes all of our social networking sites like facebook, twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. These are among the most popular social media sites. Facebook (as of August 2011) has reached 750 million members and comes in as the number one social networking site. There are many social media sites and they use a wide variety of formats. Blogger and WordPress are two of the most popular general blogging sites, but there are thousands of blogging sites. The possibilities are endless depending on the information being exchanged and the intended audience. There are article databases such as Ezine, sites to create your own page and content (called a “lens”) such as squidoo, and scribd where ebooks or other documents can be shared across the World Wide Web. Social media covers all the tools we use for social networking.