Is there any difference between social media and social networking sites? There is quite a difference in the terminology social media and social networking. Although many people employ both these terms interchangeably, you can isolate them as well as the websites that epitomize one or the other successfully.
When you remove the word social from both terms, then you are left with media and networking. By this, we can suggest that social media is a strategy and a channel for broadcasting, while social networking can be considered as a device and a utility for connecting with other individuals. Basically, you can be able to piece the two terms together in one umbrella known as Web 2.0.
When you look in a dictionary, you will find each of the words' meanings. However, the difference does not end in semantics alone. There are also differences in the features as well as the functions placed into these websites by their developers or creators, which lay down the way they are supposed to be used. The argument of which came first is also present; Many believe that social networking came first, and this then evolved into social media.
LinkedIn, for example, is a great tool for social networking. Your interests, the companies that you have worked for, the schools that you have graduated from have all become links to other individuals who share the same history as you. It is perfect for business reasons. It allows you to recommend the work of other individuals and it's also great for job fishing. A lot of small businesses nowdays use sites like LinkedIn to reach a wider range of potential clients. Social networking sites like LinkedIn act as functional websites for hooking up people, as well as businesses, with other individuals who might want to do business with each other or share similar interests.
On the other hand, YouTube is a good example of a social media website. Websites like these allow individuals to better express themselves visually. It is a medium that provides people the opportunity to share their expertise, knowledge, opinions, and experiences through video presentations. YouTube has become an excellent marketing tool for many businesses that wish to expand their reach in cyberspace. Websites such as YouTube also offer one of the easiest distribution outlets for video, since the video cassette known as Betamax. No doubt you have heard of people getting recording contracts because some Mr. Big saw their performance in YouTube.
There are, however, Web 2.0 sites that offer the whole package – social media and social networking in one website. Twitter and Facebook are such sites. Facebook, for example, provides you with a lot of space to broadcast your pictures, links, and everything in between. It's perfect for individuals looking for friends, relationships, and work. It is also perfect for businesses to put their products out there and let the consumers decide if they're good or not.
The bottom line is that social media and social networking work better hand-in-hand. One can not reach to its potential without the other. In other words, they need each other.