Social media is a term used to describe a wide range of interactive tools, that are based around user created content. The basis of social media is interaction, hence the use of the word social. It is also multi-media content, from games, images and video to blogs, documents and graphs.
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These are mostly communication tools, they allow you to build up a network of contacts. This can be in a social, professional or educational capacity. Within this network users can post public messages on a wall, or send private messages. they can also share links to video, images and other content. Social networks allow the user to set levels of privacy, and decide who can access what content. Some of the tools in this area are Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
Formed by the combination of the words web log, blogs are an on line journal. they can be places to log experiences, share experience, ideas and views. Because of the wide reaches of the Internet blogs can often do well be find a niche of people which a particular interest, that is not covered by any traditional media. Anyone can start a blog and most sites are free. Popular blogging sites include Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr. These sites also allow users to create pages and form mini websites.
Sharing images can range from snaps of friends and family, to photography, graphics and pieces or art. Whatever the type of image you are sharing though there are many sites to accommodate your needs. These include Picasa, Flickr and Photobucket.
Most video sharing sites will give you an embed code, allowing you to share the video else where, such as in a blog or on a web page. Top video sharing sites include YouTube and Vimeo. These sites will allow you to set the privacy of your video, so you don't have to share it with the whole world. They are also free to use.
Bookmarking is when you save the location of a particular web page or website in order that you can quickly find it again. Social bookmarking sites allow you to share bookmarks with other users in order to pass on useful sites. Specific social bookmarking sites include Delicious and Pinterest. The different between social bookmarking sites and just sharing a link is that they allow you to organise your links, normally using tags.
There is such a wide variety of social media and web 2.0 tools available it is hard to cover them all, and this includes all the different types of tools. Some not mentioned above include:
- Social news websites such as Digg, Reddit and Newsvine
- Document sharing sites such as ISSUU, Google Docs and Dropbox
- Wikis such as Wikispaces and Wikipedia