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What do we mean by social media?

The terms social media and social networking are often used interchangeably to refer to a number of web-based tools and technologies that support online communication and information sharing. They enable participants to share ideas, activities, events, and interests.
For the purposes of this report we will use this definition

Social media is the collection of tools and online spaces available to help individuals and businesses to accelerate their information and communication needs (Schultze, 2008)

We will use the term social media to describe these various tools and services:

  • blogs
  • microblogs (eg Twitter)
  • wikis
  • podcasts
  • content sharing services (eg flickr, Youtube),
  • social networking sites (eg Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning)
  • social bookmarking (eg delicious)

These tools may used either to engage with service users or for internal communication, learning and development. This distinction is not especially important. What is important is that professional staff are allowed to engage with these technologies in order to understand the potential, the limitations and the dangers.

Ian Watson's picture

Eleven ways local authorities can use flickr

The photo sharing website Flickr is being used by several local authorities, mainly because a picture is worth a thousand words.

It's great way to share information: