Social Media vs Social Networking


social media vs social networking

The definition of social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue. Social networking, on the other hand, is a social structure with people who are joined by a common interest.

Of course, at this point, the definition of social media seems like an oversimplification. In the last several years, technology has brought us very far from where we started and social media almost seems like it is an entirely different animal. Social media and social networking have been instrumental in many major events around the world. It is fair to say that social networking is a subcategory of social media. Many people think that social media and social networking are one and the same and therefore can be used interchangeably. That is a misconception. It is a good idea to look at the differences between the two here and walk away with a clear understanding of the differences.

Social networking

The main purpose of social networking is to connect with other people. There are other end results that come from those connections on many occasions, such as revenue, for example. Some people argue that social networking came before social media and some others believe that  it was the other way around. The foundation of social networking is basically the human side. You fill in your profiles on social media channels and people interact with you based on the personal details that they read about you. Of course, you can do social networking for work or for pleasure. Many strong relationships exist as a result of social networking online. Social networking is about mutual communication.

Social media

If you consider what you understood media to be before the Internet existed, it was about television, newspapers, magazines, etc. Once media became available through the World Wide Web, the media was no longer static. Tremendous interactivity capabilities became available to everyone and it felt much more like a personal, one-on-one relationship than anything else. At the heart of social media are relationships, which is in common with social networking. Social media is a very broad term and really encompasses several different types of media, such as videos, blogs, etc. Social media is a place where you can transmit information to other people. Social media is a vehicle for communication. Social media lets everyone share content that other people can share, in turn, with their online connections. You create the buzz through social media.

What social media and social networking have in common

One thing that social media and social networking have in common is that they both depend on viral marketing to become truly successful. If the content goes viral, more and more people will be paying attention and the more online traffic you have, the better your chances are of increasing your business. A simple way to look at the basic difference between social media and social networking is that social media helps people to make the connection and social networking enhances that connection. People get together because they have common interests, passions, and causes and they continue to strengthen their relationships as they get to know each other through interaction over time.


It is very important to understand that social media and social networking are not one and the same but that they are both of critical importance to your business and you should take full advantage of both for the greater success of your business.

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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.

Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.

Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.


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