Like many new technologies, the discrete definitions are hard to come by. I generally refer to "social media" as...
what the second word in its name implies -- a form of media. Essentially, social media is a platform for broadcasting information, whereas social networking is a platform for communicating with one another. Social media is a communications channel, whereas in social networking, the communication has a two-way nature.
Even with the description I have just given, there are nuances that can be pointed out. As an example of how they can differ and yet somewhat overlap, Facebook is a social networking site. You register and post your profile, connect with friends and comment on topics in a generally interactive way. On that same social networking site, companies set up a presence and use Facebook as a way to communicate their brand and gain a following. This is distinctly a use case for both social media and social networking.
Have a question for Paul McMillan? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related Q&A from Paul McMillan -- Retired Expert
Can Google Apps and Google+ be used to facilitate communication and collaboration for an enterprise's remote knowledge-based workforce? UC expert ...continue reading
Should businesses invest in internal, vendor-based enterprise social software or stick with free, public social networking clients? UC expert Paul ...continue reading
Using video in conjunction with unified communications technology can open doors to enhanced collaboration. Our expert explains how video can become ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.