Social media: Revision

In Buenos Aires, the newMedia Labs attempted to answer this question: what is social media?

It is media that involves interaction with other people in some form or another.
Social Media is an online networked community that shares opinions through multimedia, creating presence and identity. 
Everything sharable with the world online
It's something that can make a difference or waste a lot of time.

What do you think is the most accurate description of social media as a concept?

How can we classify social media?



Definitions of social media can be incredibly vague, and that's because we are just getting started wrapping our heads around what it is and what it enables us to do. As a way of breaking down the concept of social media, here is a list of six "services" that social media platforms can be classified into:

  • Social Networks (Facebook, MySpace, etc.)
  • Content Communities (Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.)
  • Blogs & Microblogs (Twitter, personal blogs, Facebook, etc.)
  • Gamer Platforms (CoD, WoW, etc.)
  • Virtual Social Worlds (Second Life, etc.)
  • Collaborative Projects (Flat Classroom, Wikis, etc.)

You will notice that some examples of social media (as well as others you might consider) fit into multiple types of social media. There are not clean lines between the different types, as so many platforms see value in offering an array of services to aid in their users' connections.


The different social media types or services available online today offer the ability to establish or accomplish the following.

  • Sharing/Storage
  • Conversations
  • Relationships
  • Presence
  • Reputation
  • Groups
  • Identity

Why do we talk about social media?

It must be important if we spend hours of our lives per day using it and valuable class time breaking down its classifications. Social media is incredibly powerful as a communication and sharing tool for the masses as well as an excellent way for travelers and global citizens to stay connect and informed.

If we want the end result of tech-savvy TGS graduates set up for success (in whatever form that may take), a necessary element of that is an awareness of how our social media interaction can benefit or hinder our future pursuits. This means using any of these venues thoughtfully for personal or professional gain.

imageLet's think about real life. How do your friends describe you as a person they know and interact with daily? How would your teachers or colleagues around the world describe you? How would a stranger perceive you on the street or in a surface conversation? We spend quite a bit of time and energy on how others perceive us in the physical world. We should be just as aware of how others can perceive us from our digital projection.

Think about your online projection: any content, information, or interaction you've provided to the internet. What social media venues do you use? If a stranger looked at your output, how would they describe you? What could they infer about your personality and skills from what you put onto the interwebs? I'm talking about all your platforms: Facebook, Spot, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, everything. When working these venues, it's imperative to keep your goals in mind. What do you hope to achieve in the next ten years? Make sure your digital footprint only leads you in that direction.

Social media is a tool, and its use is determined by the user. We are complex humans who have tons of psychological layers to swim through in any activity. This video on The Innovation of Loneliness offers a great perspective on human organization and connection and how we tend to use social media in misguided ways.

This video spells out one way of using social media that is not optimal, one that comes from external motivation to fabricate and present an "ultimate self." It's important to identify where your motivation comes from for posting what you post and curating what your projection is. There is a difference between that "ultimate self" that is there to please others and "the best version of yourself" that projects you as you are on your best days, as you hope to be every day, as you would like to exist within society. That movativation comes from inside and keeps in mind the perspectives of others without letting their approval throw you off course.

Do you think you use social media to project an ultimate self or the best version of yourself?

What about THINK Spot?

imageTHINK Spot acts as a training ground for that online projection. It works as a content community, a social network, a collaborative space, and a home for blogs and microblogs. It also performs all the social media functions. We use Spot in order to prepare you to activate any social media venue in a way that can only boost your success in life and work. As well, the social media policy helps mold your usage toward being responsible, safe, and beneficial for the years to come.

Springing from Spot into the rest of the social media world, the first step we can consider is how to integrate Facebook with your Spot account. This feature allows you to project status updates, links, and photos from Spot to Facebook very easily. Think about what you would want to project from Spot with your Facebook, and why. Being aware of why those selections are made will bring you even closer to understanding the voices and purposes of social media and help you to better craft your online projection.

Your online presence outside Spot

If Spot is training ground, that implies you use it to prepare for the next step. What is your next step beyond TGS? Or maybe more immediately, what is your next step in your extracurriculars or beyond this term? What do you plan on contributing to society? You might have a hefty digital footprint thus far. So when people google you or want to look up who you are, is there a space that clearly defines you in an accessible format for a new acquaintance? Maybe you should make one :)

Enter digital portfolios...