Social Media Described in One Word


For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imaginations. We learned to talk, and we learned to listen.

-Professor Stephen Hawking

Social media is a term used to describe the type of media that is based on conversation and interaction between people online. Where media means digital words, sounds & pictures which are typically shared via the Internet and the value can be cultural, societal or even financial.

-Wikipedia; The Free Encyclopedia

I take here at the outset the fortuity to express my sincere thanks to each of the very busy people that took of their valuable time to answer my call to arms. One of the wonderful things that make Social Media a viable entity is the fact that those involved are so willing to give, and the contributors present exemplify that principle to its highest magnitude.

I set before the Social Media community a very difficult task. I asked for the correspondence collective to be described in one word. A simple enough request, a behemothic endeavor. My inclination was that I might even get more than few responses, perhaps as many as 10 or even 15. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed there would be over 150! And the responses were so varied. Some were repetitious, but not many. Evidently, Social Media is in the mind of the beholder.

The following list contains names that are both abundantly apperceived and little known. There are directors, educators, consultants, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and many other captains of industry, as well as some whose involvement is purely from personal interest and have no professional affiliation whatsoever. Here, then, are your names and your characterizations (please note that there is no particular order to this list):

  1. Shari Weiss – hmmm, lots of “one words”: Engagement is one great one, but here are two others: Collaboration, Community
  2. Axel Schultze – Social (one word)
  3. Marita Roebkes – Interpersonal
  4. Tick Yes – Authentic
  5. Duncan Pringle – Sharing
  6. Logan – sharing and interacting
  7. Robin – Social and Interactive
  8. JoeM – Integral
  9. Sebastian Pistritto – here is one word to consider when describing social media: Interdependency
  10. Dana Webster – transparency……..though, that’s just one of many
  11. Richard Meyer – relationship
  12. Simon Young – transformative
  13. Amanda Olsson – engage…talk…relate..connect
  14. Gigesh G – UNexplored
  15. Lysle C Wickersham – Empowerment
  16. Tracy Terry – trust
  17. Yusuf Chowdhury – Interaction
  18. Matthew Boyles – mobile
  19. Fred Greenberg – Unknown
  20. Jane Mason – organic-dialog
  21. Spencer Powell – Communication
  22. David Ball – Comradery
  23. Divya Sesha – Talk
  24. Susan Ridgeway – Influential
  25. Tracy Brunet – immediate
  26. Susan Ridgeway – Karmic
  27. Stephanie Fuerniss – Listen
  28. Gordon Diffey – communication
  29. Fiona Gibbins – engaged
  30. Pieter Thijssen – Interaction, Engagement, Opportunities (for consumers and companies)
  31. Michelle Chmielewski – Connectivity
  32. Ivan Chen – Freedom
  33. Jan Jivmark – Marketing-channel. Is that one word??? If not, Marketing-tool (Still two words???). OK, what about Message-vehicle? No? Content-medium (note singularis). No? OK, you win – Interaction!!!
  34. Christine Hueber – Relationships
  35. Joyce Feustel – Stimulating
  36. Dan Kraus – Engagement
  37. Eric Grossman – many-to-many
  38. Jan Ryan – Trust-building
  39. David Mayne – consuming
  40. Kendra Plant – conversation
  41. Florence Dujardin – relationships
  42. Rani John – Transparent
  43. Anna Chatburn – Interactive!
  44. Meg Daintith – Interactive
  45. Matt Kammerait – Integrated
  46. Tommy TBones Cramer – WORK — I’d have put “hard” in front of “Work” but I only could use one word.
  47. Robert Rance – Fad
  48. Christine Hueber – Connect
  49. Tracy Brunet – immediate
  50. Don Mitchell – Ubiquitous
  51. Julie Bonn Heath – Interaction
  52. Jessica Seaberg – Transparent.
  53. Marilyn Casey, APR -stoplooklisten
  54. Allison Rohe – Purpose
  55. Becky Holland Fuller – Connecting
  56. Raul Burgos – Evolutionary
  57. Chris Barry – Personal
  58. Sharon Schwendt-Vetere – Engagement’
  59. ASHIM GUPTA – Conversations
  60. Anurag Kothari – Cultivation
  61. Sham Mahabir – Annoying!
  62. Ryan Ott – Community
  63. Tim Holdsworth – Noise
  64. Noël Fisher – social. I know it’s obvious, but it’s true.
  65. Drew Giffin – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
  66. Marcus Pozzan – conversationsphere
  67. Jérôme Amoudruz – Realtime
  68. daniel jeffers – Social?
  69. Olivier P. Soares – Global
  70. Brad Poulson – Investment
  71. Marti Konstant – Fleeting
  72. Becky Wanamaker – Empowering
  73. April Boone – Conversation
  74. Matthew Myrtle – real time.
  75. Gregory Borden – I describe social media as “connectivity”
  76. Heather Jeffery – Networking
  77. David Hughan – Persuasion
  78. Mikael Svensson – opportunities
  79. Cindy Morgan-Olson – Integrated!
  80. Ed Burghard – Nice challenge. I decided to answer from the viewpoint of the practitioner and the time commitment required.
    Consuming
  81. Brad Lovett – Listening
  82. Windi Barth – Reputation
  83. Courtney Wiley – Time-sensitive
  84. Lana Shekhtman – Energizing!
  85. Gretchen Gary – Dialog
  86. Lisanne Vos – Relationships/engagement
  87. The Write One (marketing communications and word design studio) -Now
  88. Nick Barry – Fun
  89. Cherryl Oake – Overrated
  90. Russell Palmer – Engaging
  91. Mark Schaefer – Opportunity
  92. Le Wong – Advisement
  93. Margaret Grigsby – Relationships
  94. Daniel Nanvati – Concatenation
  95. Stacey Womble – Explosive
  96. Esther Huro – Future
  97. Shai Ataneloy – Interact
  98. Gerardo A. Dada – UGC (one word for user generated content) This is the industry accepted definition.
  99. Craig Carrel – Educational or Learning
  100. Rich Palmer – Discussion
  101. Stephen Flick – Grail
  102. Denise Stolis – Correspondence
  103. Jamie Osborn – That is hard with one word – if I can use a hyphenated word then user-generated; if not, then interaction or involvement or interfacing
  104. Stacy Rose – Conversation
  105. Peter Goez – Interchange
  106. Kirk Cheyfitz – Media
  107. Brian Stackhouse – Customer-centric
  108. Sandy A. Miller – Addictive
  109. Prasanna Ravirai – Newsfeed
  110. Jim Elliot – Currency
  111. Larry Calvin – Brain power
  112. Paolo Soragna – revolution
  113. Che Osborne – Dialogue
  114. ‘Kim Willis – Intoxicating
  115. Mark Donnan – Astruction
  116. Michael Driehorst – Hmmmmm.
    From a person’s standpoint, I’d say: Connecting. (Echoing Dan Weingrod’s reply)
    From a business’ standpoint, I’d say: Community.
  117. Scott Crider – Touchstone
  118. Kevin Green – Listorious
  119. Alyssa Carter – Cohesive
  120. Larry Brauner – Connecting
  121. Kathy Bibb – Collaboration
  122. Steven Morris – Understanding
  123. Tom D. DeVisscher – Friends
  124. Jeannie Good Reed – Obsessive
  125. Milene Laube Dutra – I believe the best is engagement or engaging.
  126. Anand Sheombar – Hmm, only one word…either I post two times or I just give you my two: connecting & word-of-mouth
  127. Warwick Davies – Engagement
  128. Luke Thomas – Conversations
  129. Patricia Bass – Perception
  130. Anna Denison – Do-able
  131. Israel Lisovski – News getting, search, learning
  132. Julie Shipp – Engagement
  133. Marilyn Cohodas – Conversations
  134. Elizabeth Halliday – Personal
  135. Katherine Turko – Fun… Just with the help of communication
  136. Stephen Beals – One?twit/Transformative
  137. Dan Weingrod – Connecting
  138. Lee Traupel – Presence
  139. Cecil Helton, Jr.- People
  140. Grant Dahlke – Can’t believe the one word…as simple as it is…hasn’t been mentioned yet…
    communication
  141. Terri Willows – Ideas
  142. Casey Hamar, MBA, PHR – Community. (both pro and con) 🙂
  143. Jeanette Verster – Connecting
  144. Neil Kleiner – Human
  145. Toby Chishick – Can think of a few single words… that ok?  Universal;  Accessible; Anonymous (often) ; Influential
  146. Ben McGrath – Soulless
  147. Ivor Kellock – (R)evolution
  148. David Darrick – Follow
  149. Amy Tibble – My favourite is: unfolding but others are: imminent, destined, inevitable, fate, ultimate
  150. Mark Evans – Conversations.
  151. Marie Prentice – Share
  152. Mikkel Madsen – Opportunity
  153. Frederic Savoye – Karma
  154. Joop Huisman – Chance
  155. Freddie Smith – interactin(g)
  156. Imelda McGrattan – Commuincation
  157. Jill Missee – Appreciation
  158. Joseph Melanson – Connected
  159. Amber Williams – Relationships
  160. Rosemary O’Neill – Fruitful
  161. Melissa Brenneman – Grassroot
  162. Raymond A. Shirley, Sr. – Partyline
  163. Rey Ybarra – Conversational
  164. Daniel Lieberman – Revolutionary
  165. Andrew Mitchell – Gregory, defining social media in one word is no easy task. However the word “dialog” comes to mind because social media enables people to have a two way dialog, as opposed to broadcast media which is one way communication.
  166. Raakesh Kapoor – Glocal is the one world for social media. it has truly connected the world, different people from different origins sharing views helping each other is amazing
  167. Jim Belavich – Relationships
  168. Jerri Reson – Focus
  169. Matt Knott – Intrusive, addictive
  170. Yuni Iwata – Interactive, ROI-oriented, metric-driven
  171. Jane Wong – Hive – both noun & verb
    noun: a teeming multitude
    verb: move together in a hive or as if in a hive
  172. Justin Wheeler – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Not sure you can sum up Social Media with one word as it means so many different things to different people. Still there is something rather magical about Social Media, so am sure Mary Poppins fits in there somewhere!
  173. Martin Fuchs – Push
  174. Frank Podlaha – Fishbowl
  175. Angus Fraser – Relationships
  176. Jonathan Florin – Pivotal
  177. Eric Lapin – Proactive
  178. Martha Mideer – Distinguishing
  179. Rebecca Jones – Connections
  180. Julia Frances – Inflated
  181. Jeremy Victor – Communication
  182. Terri Brooks – Connecting
  183. David Mumpower – Historic (This our era’s printing press)
  184. Leon Spencer – Community
  185. Bryan Crawford – Potential
  186. Akanksha Agarwal – Instant
  187. Lee Rivers – Entertaining
  188. Shrawan Singh – Synergy
  189. Brian J. Dooley – Folkagenic
  190. Tiberius Brastaviceanu – MULTITUDE!
  191. Scott Rice –  Sorry, I do not have a one word response. The most important form of advertising of all time has been “Word of Mouth”. The word of mouth is now being handled by the various different social media outlets. Think about the power in that statement.
  192. Alan Johnston- Seems people don’t READ you said one word Gregory lol
    Well here is my one word to describe social media dauntingnewmediaohGoddoIhavetodothis?canyoudoitformeIhatefacebooktwitterwhatsthat?ihavenotimehowmanyfriends????youcan’tknowthem?allfollowmeFriday??itsonlyMondayBLOG?Ihavebloggedarteriesdoesthatcount?Ecadamyyouv’espelledthatwrongseeyoukidsthink youknoweverythingIrememberwhenwehadrealfriendsnotjpegs!!!! how’s that?
  193. Walt Reedy – Communication

As you can tell, there are many diverse and sundry portraitures. Most all are positive, many business oriented, a few might even leave some bemused and/or amused . Some could not be constrained to one word, others found no paradox.

Now, you might wonder what one word your humble author would have conjectured. I would describe Social Media in one word as-(a) hammer.

A hammer? What the hell does that mean? Hammer!

Many times I’ve heard it said that Social Media is a tool. So is a hammer. It is a simple, albeit powerful tool. It can be wielded by almost anyone. In the hands of the uninitiated, it can be destructive, even dangerous. When employed by the trained, it can be used to build up beautiful works. Social Media is the very same. It can be used for great successes, or it can be used for carnage and annihilation.

So there you have it. The complex, circuitous, and labyrinthine phenomena of Social Media described in one word. Allow me again to extend my acknowledgement, indebtedness, and sense of obligation to the many from around the globe that have helped make what has turned out to be the most ambitious blog experiment I’ve ever undertaken. I hope you have carried something of positive use away from these contemplations of your peers, who are the best the industry can offer. I know that I certainly have. My very best to each of you.

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About Grannelle

eMarketing Scholar
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