A CDE Definition
The online forms of communication that individuals and companies use to share information with interested parties (friends, colleagues, customers, etc.). Social media include microblogging sites such as Twitter and social networking sites such as Facebook. A primary feature of social media is that people actively follow someone who is posting content, and they are able to respond. For example, users can resend (retweet) messages on Twitter and reply to posts on Facebook. See retweet.
Ordinary blogs may allow feedback, and some websites do as well, but social media is all about spreading information to participating users. Contrast with "industrial media," which refer to professionally produced radio, TV and film.
A downside to social media is that erroneous news can travel as fast or faster than genuine news. Posting false information on Facebook or retweeting a message can cause problems with just about anything from politics to community affairs to the reputation of an individual or organization. As with user-generated content, there is no oversight or vetting. Nobody envisioned major disruption could be a consequence of social media when it took off in the mid-2000s. See viral content, new media, social networking site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, podcast and user-generated content.
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