Where can we go when Webster fails us? Where do we turn when the answers we are looking for cannot be found in the places we are so familiar with? The answer lies in the question itself, we turn to social media. So I did just that, I asked people on Twitter.
Here is the question I asked on Twitter:
If you were writing the dictionary definition for "Social Media" what would it say?
Can you see the difference? Yes, everyone who answered seemed to be as confused as I am about the definition, but they all mentioned something that our dictionary definitions left out. Some of them compared Social Media to a cocktail party, others to a news source, others compared it to spending time with family and friends. Yes, these are all correct, however, these answers still aren't enough for me. I want a definition that will encompass everything that I believe Social Media can be...
Social media is more than a "website or application that allows users to create and share content." Social media is a place where we connect with friends and family, a place where we get jobs, a place where we search for news, a place where we build bridges and can conquer stereotypes and cultural differences. I know I sound like I am on a soap box, but I truly believe that Social Media has grown beyond it's definition. Social Media is a direct reflection of society. Social Media is our footprint in this world and a tool that allows us to trump traditional media and social fallacies. Social Media is about us.
Below I have listed several instances where Social Media outgrew it's Webster definition.
1. NBC reporter Ann Curry used Twitter to convince the U.S. Air Force to allow a Doctors Without Border flight to land in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January 2010 (International Business Times, 2012).
2. Twitter accounts have been created to warn Mexican patrons about real-time attacks and risk zones surrounding drug cartel wars near the Texas border, according to Quarterly Americas (International Business Times, 2012).
3. Twitter saved an Arkansas man from receiving the lethal injection in December 2011. After juror tweeted about his personal life, which included his jury duties, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned Erickson Dimas-Martinez's murder conviction (International Business Times, 2012).
4. Parents Dave Cormier and Donnie Stewart were on a hike with their toddler daughter in Canada when they realized she had eaten berries they didn't recognize. They posted a photo of the berry on Twitter, and were able to seek help after a response helped them identify it (International Business Times, 2012).
5. The trial of Bo Xilai, the disgraced former top Chinese Communist Party official had his court updates and videos posted on Social Media. This is a first for a country where legal proceedings are held in secret (CNN, 2013).
6. Anthony Weiner, an American politician and former U.S. representative who served New York's 9th congressional district from January 1999 until June 2011 accidentally tweeted a photo of his boner that was meant for his mistress and was forced to resign (Huffington Post, 2011).
These are just a few examples of Social Media changing the world and mirroring society. I didn't even have time to add the suicide notes, the revolutions, the amber alerts and so on...
I am still searching for the definition of Social Media. Please feel free to comment and leave your definition or a story about how Social Media changed the world here. I would love the help!