Do you consider the SDMB to be "social media?"

I was having a discussion with a coworker today about how widespread social media is (meaning FaceBook, Twitter, InstaGram, etc.), especially to the Millennials. My co-worker is an older Generation X-er, and I, as I understand it, fall into the Generation Catalano crowd. It’s kinda neither here nor there, but I add it for framing. But just a li’l while ago, I got back home, and on reflection, thought I would ask the Teeming Millions: Do you consider the Straight Dope Message Board as "social media?"

Two conflicting philosophies in my head. . .

One side: The SDMB pre-dates the term ‘social media,’ and is not an “instant-feedback” kind of platform. There are no “likes.” There are no “shares.” It’s simply an old-style message board, that does not have the features that current social media applications have.
The other side: It’s online. It’s social. People talk about things/ideas/events, and on occasion, meet in public. People post thoughts/ideas, and get responses. Long friendships have formed here, and there is a “Friend” list/feature.

I haven’t made up my mind yet. What do you guys think?

Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway.

Lots of categories include members that existed before the category was defined. Certainly, it’s an older form of social media, and it’s different from many current forms of social media, but I don’t see any way to craft a definition that includes such diverse platforms as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, and Ticktock, but which does not include the SDMB.

It’s definitely social media. An older form, and a far smaller form than the big ones you mentioned, but still social media.


I would say No. All of my friends on FB are people who were personally known to me before FB’ connection was established. The only reason I have FB is because nobody has e-mail anymore. That’s Social Media.

By contrast, SDMB is a place where I hope nobody ever knows me personally. Diametrically opposite intention and function.

None of the many definitions of “social media” I’ve found online limit it to connections with only people you know in real life.

For example:

Yes, I consider the SDMB to be social media.



ThelmaLou, what makes you say “no?”

Still on the fence.

Agree. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter or any of that. I come here for intelligent discourse. And the occasional help for ‘what type of plumbing fitting is this’? ~ I live to answer those questions when I can.

I sort of know some of you in the way I might know my cousins next door neighbor. But I know my cousins next door neighbors dog, better than I know him/her.

It is sometimes an odd flavor here, and something you can push away if you don’t like it. Often you learn. And that’s why I stick around.

No, it CAN’T be!

Because my friends/students/over-sharing tighty-righty relatives are always asking me whyEVER haven’t I friended them? (as if I’ve committed some social sin).

And I get to say “Sorry, I’m not on any social media.”
I’d hate to miss their look of incomprehension (and my too cool for school feeling) …

If this place is declared Social Media, I’ll stop posting (well, I can’t do that, but I’ll stop admitting I’m here). There, Unsocial Media at its finest.

I’m willing to do my part to make this place unsocial, starting with a laundry list of all the ways you’ve each annoyed me (ever heard Thelma strutting through the Art Institute, singing “Stayin’ Alive” in that falsetto vibrato?)

Of course it’s social media. What else would it be?

No. Maybe it doesn’t appear in the dictionary definition, but as far as I’m concerned, sharing and upvoting are both core to the culture of social media. Traditional forums do not have these, and to the extent they do (some vBulletin forums have likes, AFAIK) they are only used weakly and don’t alter the content that people see.

Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all very different experiences, but they all have some form of sharing (or retweeting, or whatever) and upvoting (or likes, etc.). It’s absolutely central to their culture.

Network effects also play a part. Social media sites all have tens or hundreds of millions of users (or billions, for Facebook). This means that content can cross large swaths of the world population. Traditional forums like the SDMB are small and closed in comparison. There is no such thing as viral content on the SDMB, but there is on Twitter, etc.

Slashdot is nearly an example of an early social media platform. It is (or was) fairly large, and has a moderation system to promote or demote posts. It doesn’t have sharing as such, though stories were frequently linked elsewhere. It and others (Fark, say) were proto-social-media.

Another element is the connection to mobile phones. All social media provides easy tools for sharing pictures, videos, and other quick content from phones. That means there is a very low barrier to entry for new posts, and that again has a dramatic effect on the overall culture.

“I don’t do social media, therefore, this thing I’m doing can’t be social media?”

Wow, that’s news to me! I can name a few people and organizations that have email. It basically amounts to everyone on earth who has electricity and an internet connection. :smiley:

I looked up a few definitions of social media, and they all involve a few concepts:

  1. Computers
  2. Virtual communities
  3. Creation and a haring of content by users

It is indisputable that the SDMB meets those criteria. I haven’t found a definition that says “like” buttons are required. I haven’t found anything that requires attribution of content (that is, excluding anonymous posts as being defined as social media).

The more I think about it, the case is indisputable. The earth ain’t flat; the SDMB is one type of social media.

I talked to the lil’wrekker about just this. She, as a 21yo knows, has known lots of social media in her young life.
I described the Dope. She’s read some. I try to make her understand it, as I see it.
Her determination is ‘Maybe’ it’s social media. She thinks I use it like social media. Not all posters do.

I shall endeavor to cease using the Dope as social media. :smiley:

I promise.

Just to stick it in a slot somewhere where “types of internet communities” are being described and examples provided, “social media” works as well as any. To limit it that way is like calling Encyclopedia Britannica a set of books. Big Whoop!

The name shouldn’t limit participation in whatever subject is being addressed or discussed.

As always: IMHO!

This question was posted in a forum named “Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share.”

If that isn’t the very definition of social media, nothing is!

Is email a form of social media? Email supports virtual communities via mailing lists, and of course involves creation and sharing of content.

Also, in what way does the SDMB support virtual communities, aside from the site as a whole? It has no mechanism for internal communities in the way other platforms do.

Eh, maybe? I don’t know, or care what you call it. Damn little ‘social’ about it at all, really.

I actually talked to two real-live human beings today. First time in a while. Both just wanted to see my car. I guess I’ll take what I can get.