Increasingly, my group of early adopters and the public at large are finding the need to further define and categorize the general term ‘media’ in order to communicate effectively. For example, many of us are familiar with the term “traditional media” and know what that means. We’ve heard the term “citizen journalism” and somehow know that this is traditional media made by a non-professional person. But these two terms aren’t enough to describe the different types of media that are emerging. We need more detailed terminology.
Here are some of my ‘in-progress’ definitions of different types of media to help define our growing world.
Media: any form of communication: speech, video, audio, pictures, art, written words, animation, webcast, etc.
Content: any piece of consumable media posted on the internet. Used in reference to one instance or the whole of a person’s or group’s work. E.g. “I read her blog. I really like her content.”
Content generation: the act of making consumable communication for the web. Eventually this term will be generalized to mean the act of making any media.
Content generator: Any person who makes media, but currently it refers almost exclusively to blogging and videoblogging people.
Consumer: Any person who reads or watches media on the internet or off-line.
Media snacker: colloquial term (sometimes derrogative) for people who visit many media sites to read or watch small amounts of media quickly. E.g., clicking on a website and reading only headlines or post titles, then moving on to another site to do the same.
Various Types of Media:
Traditional media: (also known as Mainstream Media, initialed as MSM): the content that comes from recognized news sources like newspapers, TV news channels, etc. Traditional media is generated by large or small organizations that hire professional journalists and video crew staff to generate content. That content is then mass-distributed on a regularly timed schedule.
Citizen media: media that serves a political or journalistic purpose. Citizen media may be the product of citizen journalism. Usually produced and distributed on the internet on no particular timed schedule. [Citizen journalism: when “regular” people (i.e. unpaid or untrained journalists) report on current events. The citizen journalism is the investigative action, the citizen media is the content generated when the investigative action is finished.]
Public media: this is media that the general population generates. Public media doesn’t serve a specific purpose like citizen media. Public media can be consumed and/or interacted with by masses of people. This can also be called “Common Media.” E.g., YouTube.
Private Media: public media that has been hidden from public view. E.g., private sets on Flickr.
Corporate media: any media that is made for or used solely by a business. E.g., training videos.
Ad media: any advertising media, including viral media.
Viral media: media that appears public (that may be public or corporate media) that gathers the attention of many consumers. Media usually isn’t considered ‘viral’ unless it has garnered attention internationally and has been seen by hundreds of thousands of consumers.
Social media: This is a confusing term. Social media isn’t media as defined above and should not be listed under the category of “Various Types of Media.” Social media isn’t media, it is technology. Social media refers to an ever-growing set of communication tools and website and mobile applications on that focus on sharing public media and connecting people who share a common interest in that public media.
Social site: a website that concentrates on forging connections between people. A place where people can share media. E.g. Myspace, Facebook.
Live stream: a technology that allows a person to generate content and post it practically simultaneously on the internet.
As I said, this is a list in progress. Let me know what you think. If you know of a phenomenon that has yet to be defined, please comment and we will think up something together. If you take issue with my definitions or want to tweak them, please comment. This is a collaborative effort from this point forward. Thanks!