Social media or social networks?

Collaboration – January 16, 2013

If most people seem to confuse “social media” and “social networks,” it’s mainly because the difference is less and less perceptible. Social media offers more networking features, which makes us forget that social networks are in fact one of the subcategories of social media.

SOCIAL MEDIA. Media are social when content (written, visual, film, audio, etc.) can be distributed through the internet (known for a long time as “new media”) on platforms that allow internet users to comment, discuss and communicate with each other.

  • SOCIAL NETWORKS. Social media become social networks when they’re placed on platforms where the priority is for individuals to connect (networking) and which is the basis for the creation of content sharing.

In other words:

1. All social networks are social media.

2. All social media that create networks are social networks.

It’s important to note that some social media, even if they were not created for networking and integrated features that allow for the creation of networks at a later time only, can be part of the subcategory of social networks.

*The case of microblogging: Microblogging is more of a feature than a subcategory of social media. The most popular applications of microblogging (Twitter and Tumblr.) are in fact social networks in which real time communication can be done through short messages.

**The case of sales sites: Websites designed specifically for sales like eBay, Amazon and Price Minister, have developed a social dimension. Thus, people are encouraged to comment on the products and to exchange information with each other. The same goes for the sales site Etsy, specialized in vintage or handmade products, and whose content offers a strong sharing potential.

Public confession

I must confess, for the reasons that I mentioned in my previous blog post on the fear generated by the words “media” and “social,” that I have often spoken about “social networks” in a business context, even when it was in reality social media with no networking aspect at all. I was convinced that the word “network” had a more serious connotation and indeed when proposing projects I received more positive feedback from clients or bosses using the word “networks” rather than “media”.

In all honesty, the world of social media is evolving, transforming and being recreated to a point where this blog post could very well be outdated by the time you read it!

Blog Archive

More articles that might interest you?

digital marketing

Digital marketing in B2B: an absolute must

B2B marketing is undergoing a major transformation in an increasingly digital world. Companies are no longer content to follow traditional… Read More...

B2B content marketing: maximize your impact

By combining quality content creation and strategic distribution, you can harness the full potential of B2B content marketing to propel… Read More...


4 LinkedIn pillars essential to your growth

Among the social networking platforms dedicated to the world of work, LinkedIn stands out as a must for individuals and… Read More...