The term “social media” is increasingly used and tends to replace the term Web 2.0 and covers the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and content creation. Social media uses collective intelligence in a spirit of online collaboration. Through these means of social communication, individuals or groups of individuals form a social network, collaborate, create web content together, organize content, index, modify or comment, combine it with individual creations. The two terms of Web 2.0 and social media remain quite close and concern a wide variety of different sites: blogs, wikis, and digital social networks of any type. Social media uses a lot of techniques, such as RSS feeds and other web syndication feeds, blogs, wikis, photo sharing (Flickr), video sharing (YouTube), podcasts, social networks (Facebook ), collaborative bookmarking, mashups, virtual worlds or microblogs (Twitter).
Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is not the first social media on the web. The history and development of social networks dates back to the late 1970s. In 1978, two computer enthusiasts decided to create the Computerized Bulletin Board System. This site precedes the current sites of about twenty years. Indeed, it is the first site allowing Internet users to exchange information (notes, meetings …) by computer. Later, students from Illinois designed Mosaic, the first Web browser to display the World Wide Web as it is today.
Distinction between social media and digital social networks (DSN)
|Digital social networks|
|Digital social networks of contact and content|
Digital social networks are just another subset of social media. Among social media, it is necessary to distinguish the tools of publication and discussion of digital social networks that can be divided into two types:
- Contact RSNs for which the linking functionalities are the main ones.
- Content RSNs for which network capabilities are secondary and are based on a particular activity.
In 2007, Boyd and Ellison prefer to talk about “social networking sites” and define them as a web-based communication platform that allows individuals to:
- have uniquely identifiable profiles that are created by a combination of user-supplied content, content provided by “friends” and system data – publicly expose relationships that can be viewed and consulted by others
- access content streams including user-generated content (including combinations of text, photos, videos, location updates and/or links) provided by their contacts on the site.
A social network therefore allows users to articulate and make visible their social network whether it is to establish new connections or maintain existing links offline (latent).
In 2009, Thelwall categorized digital social networks according to their three objectives: socialization, networking and (social) navigation.
|Social media||Thread tools||Discussion forums: PhpBB
Instant messaging: Skype
|Digital social networks||Publishing tools||Wikis: Wikipedia
Blogs: Blogger, Skyblog
|Social network sites||Contact digital social networks||General social networks: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, VK
Professional social networks: LinkedIn, Viadeo
Virtual universes: SecondLife, World of Warcraft
|Content digital social networks||Micro-publication: Twitter, Pownce
Sharing videos: YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo
Photo sharing: Flickr, Instagram
Link sharing: Delicious, StumbleUpon
Music sharing: Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Deezer
Livecasting : Justin.tv, Twitch
Of course, some sites can evolve and cover several objectives. For example, although Facebook is initially used for its linking features, members also share many content. In addition, Twitter, although originally defined as a digital social network of content, is increasingly seen as a social digital contact network, with network features taking a growing place in usage (interpersonal contact, conversations).