How would you define social media?
If we consider that even a site like Vimeo is considered social media, I think that the definition of social media should be: a single-column website, content being presented to users in (apparent) reverse-chronological order.
Kind of like blogs, but with content coming from more than a single user, from people you either know or follow, and with algorithms in the background altering what is in fact an only apparent reverse-chronological order.
No such thing as social media
But, as I have said before: There is no such thing as social media. There’s Facebook, and then there’s a shrinking open web. On mobile, it’s even worse — Snapchat was number 6. Will they ever become a threat to Facebook?
Social media is just the new word for the web. They tried web2.0, but that was weird and way too geeky. Then they used social networks, but social network marketing doesn’t sound as slick as social media marketing, does it?
Not to mention, nobody gives a hoot about the media part. Nobody cares, nor checks, if the information we get is fair and balanced or not, or if these websites bubble us in, protecting us from opinions we dislike. Hint: they do!
The only things that matter are that the fodder, I mean, content (user-generated content, remember?) is free or cheap — and that these websites are good at getting us hooked, addicted, locked in, and coming back for more.
But… Social media marketing!
What matters is making profits off this shit. Hey, it’s America! As banner ads on news websites written by real journalists had been a major disappointment for everybody, advertisers and publishers alike, it was time to try something new.
Single-column, apparently reverse-chronological order websites with content posted by multiple users, algorithms in the background and… the possibility of sneaking in “content” from advertisers, aka branded content or native advertising!
In other words, even if there is no such thing as “social media”, there are a lot of websites, including newspapers of quality whose content on mobile is displayed on a single column, that are eager to experiment with ads disguised as content.
Will it work?
It probably will on Facebook, because they control the whole user experience on their website. On the other hand, not a chance in a million on a distributed network where it will just become “a few words of spam from our sponsors”.