Social Tubes

The Internets.

Social media would not exist without it.

Let me explain.

I had an interesting conversation last night about this very topic and thought it would be swell to blog about. In a few days I’ll be preparing another post discussing the difference between new media and social media but I thought I’d get this out the way first.

There are numerous definitions of social media and all of them rely on the Internet. While certain elements existed long before Al Gore was punching away at his keyboard, its full extent and potential had not been realised until recently (although some foolishly still have their doubts). As technology developed over the past twenty years, we were able to identify, engage and ultimately build a relationship with niche targets of consumers.

Yes this was possible before. But not on this scale. Not this measurably. Not this easily. Not this effectively. And most importantly, not at this cost.

Blogging, podcasting, social networks, image, video and file sharing and the uptake on user generated content all happened because of the Internet. Some of which still haven’t hit critical mass.

Without the Internet, the term “social media” would never have been coined. And people working in this area would be looking for a new job.

What do you think? Does social media exist without the Internet?

No Comments
  • Tony Thomas
    Posted at September 5, 2008 1:43pm, 05 September Reply

    Hey Zac, Interesting thought starter. If you define social media as the sharing & discussion of experiences – this goes back long before the internet was around – in the school yard, at the pub, at work or after a game of sport.
    I think what the internet has done is make them visible and accessible to a broader community.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at September 5, 2008 1:57pm, 05 September Reply

    I would agree with you very much Tony although it depends on your definition.

    Part of my definition would include engaging with consumers. And like story telling (your example) it could be fall under the basic definition of marketing, not necessarily social media.

    The Internet provides us with this visibility and accessibility, and utilising it is what I would call social media marketing.

  • Jye Smith
    Posted at September 5, 2008 3:28pm, 05 September Reply


    I think it comes down to definition. For a online marketer like myself, social media only exists on the internet. But maybe that’s because all the work I do is in the online space. Social Media is a term that has been perpetuated by it’s use on the internet. Did the term occur before the existance of main stream internet? Maybe, maybe not.

    “Social” has always existed, it’s no seret people valued this type of human interaction before the internet. We don’t call it ‘social digital media’ but I think that’s simply because its overstating the facts.

  • Rick Clarke
    Posted at September 5, 2008 3:30pm, 05 September Reply

    Nope! Who said it did? I’ll beat ’em up for ya!

    The thing about social media is that medium is key… so what’s the medium if not the various facilities on the Internet?

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