There’s a post over at Copyblogger that asks Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media?. It linked to my post Why I’m Quitting Social Media as example of an author confused with the term. While I don’t agree about the being confused part, I’ll admit that I’m wrong on giving the idea that a blog isn’t “social media”. At least with giving the perception that I think that, which I really don’t. But what are you going to do?
That said, if you can’t really see differences between a Twitter account and a blog, that’s what in my neighborhood they call being anal. Social networking sites are set, excuse the redundancy, as social networking sites first. You can use it as a medium to broadcast and publish content, but that doesn’t mean it stopped being a online social networking service. A blog in contrast is not set up as a social networking service. You can use it, and it has been used, as a way to “talk” and “network” with people, but it’s primarily a publishing tool.
Again, you can use social networking as a tool to broadcast and you can use a blog to tell you friends what you’re up to. You can use Twitter as a mini blog (remember the term microblogging?) and hell, you can even use your blog like email. Good luck with that though. You can blend and mix the purposes. The possibilities to share and consume information are endless.
The thing is and here’s the question, what media, specially on the internet, isn’t social?
I have a post trying to riff on that question but it didn’t come out to well, but it made me stumble on that key question. It’s not as much that the term is confusing, but more why do we need it and what exactly is it naming? What new thing it’s pointing to? See, on a macro level every media is social. Newspapers, Television, Radio, the Internet… they are all forms of communication between you know, humans, and usually more than two. We can have an endless argument about the ways people can talk back, with comments, conversations, community, and all the hippie web 2.0 utopic idealism, but you can’t say that a Newspaper is anti-social.
But we know that the term is mostly meant as social networking services used as mediums to publish and broadcast content. If a writer says that he’s quitting social media, nobody says, “oh my god, he’s going to stop writing books”. See what I’m trying to get at? If we go with the authoritative wikipedia definition, saying that a blog is social media is like saying water is wet.
If you’re the one that always starts the conversation, no matter if people can comment and talk back, or send a letter, it’s still a “monologue and one to many”, but that doesn’t mean you’re a misanthrope and anti-social.
And the question a second time: What media isn’t social on the web? A static page with a person’s portfolio? Even that serves a social purpose. I’m trying hard to think what isn’t social in the web of interconnected computers, but I can’t.