Finding a ‘Mutually Beneficial’ Definition of Social Media

A few posts ago I commented on the PRSA-led campaign to develop a modern definition of public relations, with crowd-sourced votes on three finalists now being tabulated. Caution: some are still clunky with PR jargon (“build mutually beneficial relationships” anyone?), but it’s a much-needed exercise as the current definition hasn’t been updated since 1982.

While votes are being counted, what about the still relatively new social media? Here’s a definition I like, from communications pro Shel Holtz, co-host with Neville Hobson of my not-to-be-missed podcast “For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report”:

“The simple, easy-to-use online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, passions, experiences and perspectives and to collaborate with each other.”

I also like this one from Joe Thornley, CEO of Thornley Fallis and co-host of the other PR podcast that I never miss, “Inside PR” with Gini Dietrich and Martin Waxman:

“Social media are online communications in which we shift instantly and easily between the role of audience and creator – without needing to know how to code. We do this by using social software that incorporates functions like publishing, sharing, friending, commenting, linking and tagging.”

What do you think? Have you come across a better definition? Please share!

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