The Socrates of hyperlinked conversations, Doc Searls, says the term “social media” is meaningless to him — indeed, he doesn’t know nor care to know what the term means. “I don’t think of my what I do here as production of ‘information that others ‘consume.’ Nor do I think of it as ‘one-to-many’ or ‘many-to-many.’ I think of it as writing that will hopefully inform readers,” he generates writes.
I’ll disagree with Doc only on one point. I do consume what he writes. I go far beyond merely reading it. I internalize it and often act upon it. And sometimes, I even re-word it and act like I’m the one who originated the brilliance.
I try not to use the terms “social media” or “Web 2.0,” but when I respond in a blog post to what Doc Searls has written, what I am writing is part of a conversation. (It was he who first uttered the words, “markets are conversations.”) That is why, when referring to a genre that encompasses various types of methods individuals use online to express themselves and to respond to the expressions of others, I sometimes use the term “conversational media.”
Sidenote: Doc’s previous writing on this topic is also why I do not use the words “content” or “consumer” when talking about what we create when we are expressing ourselves online or reading, viewing and listening to that which is created by others.