15 Reasons Why Email is Not Social Media

There has always been that confusion among Nigerian scholars and others across the world whether e-mail is part of the social media. Sometimes you get such questions from friends but you are not really sure of what to say. First, you need to know the definition of social media so as to have an idea of whether e-mail is social media or not. Checkout this quick definition of social media.

Quick definition of social media

Social media are interactional electronic platforms that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. A social networking site is a social media site that makes it possible for users to connect with people by creating online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).

Examples of popular social media platforms are blogs (channels for casual dialogue and discussions on a specific topic or opinion, include news stories), Facebook (platform where users create their personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including status updates), Twitter (a social networking/micro-blogging platform that allows groups and individuals to stay connected through the exchange of short status messages that won’t exceed 140 characters), YouTube & Vimeo (video hosting and watching websites), Flickr (an image and video hosting website and online community), Instagram (a free photo and video sharing app where users can apply digital filters, frames and special effects to their photos and then share them on a variety of social networking sites), Snapchat (a mobile app that lets users send photos and videos to friends or to their “story.” A Snaptchat story is a photo or video you post to your very own stories section (or feed) of your account, which is visible by you and all your friends. Snaps disappear after viewing or after 24 hours). LinkedIn Groups (a place where groups of professionals with similar areas of interest can share information and participate in a conversations). You hardly find where e-mail is mentioned as an example of social media. You also check whether some of the features of the social media mentioned here are available on email platform. This helps to unravel the puzzle and clarify the platforms that can be referred to as social media.

What is E-mail?

Electronic mail (e-mail) is an Internet facilitated service that allows a user to distribute information to one or more recipients. People who have an e-mail address (accounts) send and receive electronic letters through the e-mail platform. You can see that e-mail emphasizes distribution, not collaboration; and this is the major point of departure between e-mail and other social media platforms.

15 Reasons Why Email is not Social Media

1. Social media involves mass collaboration

2. E-mail primarily involves mass distribution

3. E-mail is one-to-one or one to-many

4. Social media is designed to remain available for an extended period of time where people can come back and review what others said.

5. Social media communication is made open to the world.

6. Email involves end-to-end encryption which is a method of transmitting data where only the sender and receiver can read email messages. Only the intended recipient will be able to decrypt and read it an email. All email involves encryption. Not all social media platforms involve encryption

7. Social media adopts the pull approach whereas e-mail is a push approach

8. In social media the crowd often decides what is worth reading rather than the author.

9. In email the author can push his/her message to anyone who may or may not care to receive it.

10. Email is a supply approach rather than a demand approach.

11. Social media is a demand approach rather than a supply approach.

12. Social media ties a community.

13. Email is primarily messaging service with most of the capabilities of social media but does not exactly tie a community together.

14. The ‘social’ capabilities of Email are limited to those who are meant to be recipients of the message and there are limits to what anyone can do.

15. The ‘social’ capabilities of social media are open to all.

 

 

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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