At Hootsuite, we usually talk about social media . Yet there is one question that many of you are asking yourself: is there a difference between social media and social networks? If it’s your case you’re not the only one! To tell the truth, many people confuse the two. The two terms are very often used for each other but there is a difference! It turned out that it was not clear to most people and that some definitions may seem blurry or incorrect.
To illustrate this confusion – I should say rather this inequality – remember that on average over the last 12 months the word “social networks” was sought 9900 times per month against only 590 for social media in France. (Source Google Keyword Planner)
So, should we say social networks or social media?
# 1 – Social Networking and Social Media: Definitions
For some, the 2 terms are identical and mean exactly the same. Error ! There are, however, many nuances. To understand it let’s take a look at the site definition linternaute.com :
Site internet which allows the users to to create a page personal to share and d ‘ exchange of information , the pictures or the videos with their community of ‘ friends and their network of knowledge .
Platform on the Internet that allows the people to create the content , to ‘ organize the content , of the change or of the comment. U No media social mixing interaction , technology and creation of content .
In fact, if there is an amalgam between the two terms it is that the social network is a subcategory of social media. Social media makes it possible to create and share information to a wide audience, everyone can contribute. Social media includes, for example, blogs, forums, microblogs (Twitter) and other publishing networks, but also networks for sharing photos (Flickr) and videos (YouTube), social networks (Facebook) Company (Linkedin) etc. Clearly, the foundation of the social media is content .
The one of the social network is to create a community and the interaction between people . The nuance is not always easy to discern, because on some platforms – although networking is not the primary function – there may be some like Youtube for example whose primary function is the sharing of videos.
# 2 – Social Networks and Social Media: Definitions: What Differences?
The social bond
The main difference is the notion of social bonding and interaction between Internet users. Groups of individuals on social networks have affinities, interests, or activities in common, and come together to exchange and build relationships.
How to communicate
The purpose of the social network is to forge relationships, create a community, and connect with its audience. One can not communicate on a social network as one communicates on any type of social media. It is important to listen as much as it is important to publish and to converse. On a social network we will create conversations and this is not necessary on any type of social media. It will be necessary to adapt its content to create this conversation: ask questions, adapt its message to the audience according to common interests or common experiences. The message must be engaging and draw attention with rich content, pictures, videos.
On a social network the surfer has a customizable profile. Each user has a profile constructed from personal and real information that can be modified.
The list of connections is visible on the social network (list of friends, followers ..) these people also use the site and it is possible to search for knowledge or people with a common interest or relationships.
Creating content takes time for both. As for social networks, we will have to invest more time in community management to create a direct conversation and new contacts. The conversation must be rich and personal and mostly takes place in real time. It is in this process of social media management that Hootsuite intervenes that allows listening and engaging with his community.
Conversation and sharing tools
Social networks have more conversational and sharing features such as instant messaging, a button for sharing content, the ability to like a publication (like) …
The ability to create groups, events, or pages to chat or group around a project or common topic, instant messaging to chat.
After reading this article you should see a little clearer! To know what term to use next time think about this notion of personal or professional connections. To sum up, social media gives the opportunity to give its opinion on a medium accessible to all. An individual can thus be an ambassador or a critic. Social networks allow you to create personal conversations in real time and to disseminate content to people with common interests. They are also listening tools. In short, if the main purpose of the site is to build a network of connections it is a social network, if not more generally it is a social media!
So, less lost in the complex lexical fields of social media? Or should I say ” social networks? ” Your turn to judge !