| Feature Article|
Social Networks vs Online Communities: The Important Distinctions To Know
As part of a new series, Michael Wu, principal scientist of analytics at Lithium Technologies, shares research findings on the relationship between social networks and communities.
Since 2008, “social media” has become a heavily-used buzz word in the corporate world. The question is “what is social media?” Many seem to equate social media to Facebook-liked social networking sites; others seem to think that they are blogs, the Twitter family of applications for micro-blogging, Flickr, YouTube, or similar type of content sharing Web 2.0 applications. Yet, answers to this question may still range from social collaboration sites (like Wikipedia, Delicious, or Digg) to online communities (like those we host for our enterprise clients or Yahoo! Answer).
Well, they are all correct to some extent, and these are functional classifications of social media. Author and blogger Brian Solis, introduced another classification of social media, based on the types of conversation. He called it the conversation prism. However, if you want to understand social media from a relational and social anthropological perspective, you will find that there are really only two major types of social media:
Human social networks and communities actually pre-date their online counterpart for millennia. Both are very well-established and robust social structures that have survived the test of time. And they have emerged and reemerged as civilizations collapse and rise. Humans are naturally predisposed to gravitate to and desire this type of interaction.
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