It is possible to observe such a wide concept as social media from different perspectives. One of the ways to analyze social media is to compare how two different people use them. I will use myself and one of my friends as an example. My friend's name is David. He works as a computer programmer and he is also good at three-dimensional graphics modeling. Thus, the comparison concerns the one who is IT literate and the other one who is an average user. I will observe the classification of social media which includes seven groups.
Wikipedia is one of the brightest examples of collaborative projects. Wikipedia allows people to create pages which contain certain information that makes this service a kind of an encyclopedia. Then people translate these pages into many languages for people all around the world to read the information. However, the information is not always relevant because anyone can edit it.
David likes this service because it is very convenient. It is very easy to find an article which he would like to read. David uses this service quite often. He is very curious about many things, so he does it for fun. I seldom visit this website because studying is one of the main reasons why I go on the Internet, so when I need to check some information, I use academic sources. One of the main advantages of Wikipedia is that people update articles quite often.
Twitter is one of the most popular blogs. This service allows people to write short messages for their subscribers to read their thoughts and opinions. Both of us are registered in Twitter. The difference is in the subscriptions. David reads what his friends write. He also cannot live without sharing his thoughts with his friends. David is also interested in the events in lives of several music stars. In general, David reads tweets to maintain awareness of all the news mongering. I use Twitter to read jokes. I am subscribed to several fun pages where there are a lot of hilarious jokes and stories. I like reading them because they increase my mood during the day. I am also subscribed to an international news page to stay informed of all the events.
A forum consists of a number of topics and subtopics. Every member can express his or her point of view and comment the posts of other people. In most cases one particular forum is devoted to a comparatively narrow topic.
David attends forums which are connected with computers, programming, and video games. I attend forums when I do not know how to choose something that I would like to buy or when I do not have any idea how to solve a problem connected with my relationship. Both of us use forums when we are at a loss and we would like to find out other people's opinion concerning some issue.
The most wide-spread content community is YouTube. This website contains a huge number of videos. When a person registers at YouTube, he or she may upload own videos and watch the videos of other people.
When David visits YouTube, he usually looks for some funny videos. There is a great variety of funny videos, some of them are short, and others have the duration like the whole program. I visit this website to listen to music. I am not an expert of this site, so it is not easy for me to find hilarious videos. I think that it will take me too much time to find a nice funny video. People upload thousands of videos every day, most of them are not interesting at all, they are rather foolish than amusing.
Social Networking Sites
Facebook is the biggest and the most well-known social networking site. The principle of this site is to allow people to keep in touch with their friends. Every registered member creates a page where he or she writes some personal information: name, date of birth, country and city, school, interests, etcetera. People can add friends, look through their pages, and comment upon their photos and posts.
Both David and I are registered on this website. David has been registered there since 2005. He visits Facebook every day and spends there about an hour. He does it to communicate with friends. I have been registered there since 2007. I spend about 2 hours a day there. I am aware of the fact that it is too much but almost all of my friends are there, so it is very easy to communicate with them. I also have several friends who live abroad now, so I am grateful that I have an opportunity to see how they live. Thus, I feel like they are close to me.
Virtual Game Worlds
World of Warcraft is a virtual game world and it has a lot of admirers. People all around the world who are not acquainted with each other have an avatar and play this game which has its own rules and laws.
David used to love this game. He was playing it for 6 years. He liked it because it was a kind of adventure for him; he was amazed at living in a different place. He also enjoyed that he was able to communicate with a lot of people and find out how they lived in different countries. I tried to play this game several times. Unfortunately I did not figure out what I should do there because I was not a gamer. Nevertheless, this game is quite exciting.
OkCupid is a popular dating site. It gives an opportunity to find a match or just to communicate with people for those who are bored or lonely. The site has an easy-to-use interface.
Both David and I are familiar with this site. David uses it quite often. It is a well-known fact that programmers are a little shy. That is why it is hard for him to find a girlfriend in the street or in a public place. It is much easier for him to interest a girl on-line where he can impress her with beautiful music, various videos, facts and jokes. I liked this site too. However, I came to a conclusion that a person cannot find true love on-line. That is why I try to avoid using this service even if I do not have enough communication.
I have discussed the sites which we both use. However, there are other well-known social media: location-based social networking sites (i.e. Foursquare); social bookmarking sites (i.e. Google Reader); navigation social networking mobile applications (i.e. Trapster); virtual social worlds (i.e. Second Life); social news networking sites (i.e. Digg).
Social media can be subdivided into a number of groups. Nowadays social media are so popular that every person who visits the Internet probably uses at least several of these services, as well. Social media give people an opportunity to communicate with other people. A lot of people spend their time for these activities because they are interesting, exciting, adventurous, easy-to-use, and entertaining. However, every person uses social media in his or her own way. Thus, an IT literate person knows more details about social media and uses them more efficiently than an average user.