Look Up Another Term

Definition: social media


The online forms of communication that individuals and companies use to share information with interested parties (friends, colleagues, customers, etc.). A primary feature of social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is that people actively follow someone who posts content, and they are able to respond. For example, users can resend (retweet) messages on Twitter and reply to posts on Facebook. See retweet.

Ordinary blogs may allow feedback, and some websites do as well, but social media is all about spreading information to participating users. Contrast with "industrial media," which refer to professionally produced radio, TV and film.

A major downside to social media is that erroneous news can travel as fast or faster than genuine news (see fake news and deepfake). See viral content, new media, social networking site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, podcast and user-generated content.