The common answer is: Social Media is a group of websites where users network socially. It is not a bad definition.
But is this enough? To be characterised as Social Media, a website should have the following seven key characteristics:
1. Web space
The website should provide the users free web space to upload content.
2. Web address
The users are given a unique web address that becomes their web identity. They can post and share all their content on this web address.
3. Build profiles
Users are is asked to enter personal details like name, address, date of birth, school/college education, professional details etc. The site then mines the personal data to connect individuals.
4. Connect with friends
Users are encouraged to post personal and professional updates about themselves. The site then becomes a platform to connect friends and relatives.
5. Upload content in real time
Users are provided the tools to post content in real time. This content can be text, images, audio, video or even symbolic likes and dislikes.The last post comes first, giving the site freshness.
6. Enable conversations
Members are given the rights to comment on posts made by friends and relatives. The conversations are a great social connect.
7. Posts have time stamp
All posts are time stamped, making it easy to follow posts.