Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What is social media?

We're supposed to trust Google that they can point us to who the experts are, right?

So here's who and what comes up when you ask "what is social media"?

I skipped the wikipedia page, but that's the best source of easy reading on definition of any subject. The next interesting looking reference was by a website who call themselves 'the social media guide', mashable.com's "Just What is Social Media, anyway?" The discussion there seems to be against the mix of 'social' and 'media' and around if the commercialization drive of online media should be supported or not.

Then I quickly clicked through pages 2, 3, 4.... on my google search page, and I noticed quite a lot of pages of Spanish origin referring to said term. It seems that this term doesn't exist in the Spanish language, so the english term is used directly. Here's the first interesting one:"6 mentiras relacionadas al Social Media". Then from (what looks like a great pro site, with lots of goodies for online publishing tips) that offers content in English, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, "Social Media Marketing: Guía Para Principiantes".

Being the curious cross cultural person I am, I went to Google Thai and keyed in the same term, and this was one of the interesting results I got: social media images. There is a surprising amount of content in Thai related to social media, most related to 'social media marketing'. No doubt for the Thais, social media's a marketing tool. Thai is a limited language that is really pushed to incorporate changes in the modern world that the language simply cannot keep up with. However, if you're imaginative enough and stick to using simple words rather than having the lofty mentality of those who create Thai dictionaries, one Thai blog re-interpreted social media as 'mouth and sound of society' and 'media's flood', expressing a pretty worried view about its threat to online security. A pretty astute feeling about how our developments for online security is going to be always a step behind the development of new media tools.

BTW, it was only recently that Google made a huge jump in Thai cyberspace when they added Thai as an automatically translatable (really, really bad translations though) under their system. Only six years ago, I was nearly searching in vain for blogs in Thai, and for webpages that had a familiar format to what I was accustomed to in English cyberspace that weren't discussion forum format so popular with the Thais.

Call me geeky or what, but the pace of evolution of the internet never fails to amaze me.

A side note about online security, I've got to commend Canada's determination to be on top of protecting its citizen's privacy (half of Canada's population uses Facebook), as was announced by CNET, "Canadian officials take issue with Facebook privacy". I just hope that it doesn't add to the increasing tits for tats that will push governments and nations into more paranoid and more xenophobic modes. Look at the visas slapped on to the Mexicans for alleged violation of its refugee program. Look at this announced oncoming flu vaccine battle. At the same, how paradoxial can it get? Look at this trend that will push us to more insecurity, despite which some foolish governments looks like they are going for it. Oops, sorry to end up on such a pessimistic mood. Blame it on the late hour, the obsessiveness that blogging creates in a person, or blame it on the nature of media and texts.

No comments: