What Is Considered Social Media?

I’ve been challenged by what is and what isn’t social media. A few definitions from Merriam-Webster.

Definition of social media
: forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos) ((https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20media))

Definition of social networking
: the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships especially online ((https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20networking))

Definition of microblogging
: blogging done with severe space or size constraints typically by posting frequent brief messages about personal activities ((https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microblogging))

So the obvious ones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. But what about chat services like Facebook Messenger, Discord? I guess, technically they are but I never really considered them to be social media. I just thought of them as … social.

I’m taking part in a challenge over at the Daily Stoic called “New Year, New You“. It consists of 21 daily challenges to set up new habits, based on Stoic philosophy, to make you a better person. One of the challenges is a “digital detox” and part of that is a break from social media. I’d already decided to take a 30-day break from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram since those are the main platforms I use. I didn’t really consider FB Messenger or Discord or even Reddit to be “social media”. Taking a closer look at what the actual definition of social media is I think Reddit definitely falls into social media territory.

Here’s the thing, I tend to get overly consumed on details. Meaning I will hit “analysis paralysis” very quickly and when it hits I tend to not do anything. I know that about myself and with this social media break I acted very quickly when I decided to do it. Within 24 hours of committing to it I’d removed the apps from all my devices and blocked URLs in my pihole instances, just to keep me honest ;-).

For the purposes of my social media break I’m defining “social media” as the following:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Reddit ((I’m not a *big* user of Reddit so it’s easy to not mindlessly scroll so I’m still going to be going to a couple of subs.))
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube comment sections
  • Discord ((I didn’t intend on adding chat services but I’m going to have to since I spent almost 2 hours scrolling the Daily Stoic New Year, New You challenge channel. I’m still considering 1×1 conversations just social and not social media. I really want to use Discord for the challenge because it is adding value for me. I’m going to limit my usage to just 30 minutes. That will give me time to read and respond to other people doing this challenge.))

The first 3 are the main ones I feel I have a problem with. I can scroll mindlessly for hours without even realizing it. Pinterest is something I used to use for some of my hobbies but I haven’t even had the app installed in a couple of years.

I’m very happy I didn’t find out the definition of social media before starting this. I like to think I wouldn’t have frozen up since I know I have a tendency to do that but old habits die hard!

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