Social Networks vs Communities.

Living in the year 2013, I assume we all know what social media is. Even if we do not have a precise definition of it, we know it has to do with communicating with various people in various region online.


Most of the time, we group our social media sites into many specific classifications. From social networking sites, micro-blogging, bookmarking sites, social news, media sharing, blog comments/forums and so on. Nonetheless, in this blog post I will be broadening those classifications and dividing our social media into two main categories (courtesy of Brian Solis’ Conversation prism) :

1. Social Networks: Our social network includes our friends, families and people we are acquainted with. The primary factor of a social networking site lies on interpersonal relationships between individuals. People sign up to these type of sites to maintain old relationships and build new ones. It includes sites like Facebook, My Space, Path, Linkedin and so on.

2. Online communities: Communities are groups of people that come together through common interests. There may be interpersonal relationship between the members, but that is not essential. One person may be a part of many communities, it depends on what his/her interests are. Our online communities includes Instagram, Soundcloud, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube and so on.

Knowing these two categories we should realise that both has been invented way before Social Media begins, am I right?

Social Networks has always been there. It’s the people that surrounds us, that we know and share our lives with, each person has a different social network to the other. Communities, on the other hand, comes at a wider range. Some of us might be religious and go to churches and temples, while others simply do not. We might be joining a cooking class or a photography community, it is basically related to our interests.

So what makes the Social Network and Communities provided by our social media different than it was millennia ago?

Here are some personal key points:

1. It is Faster,Wider and Easier:

This is an obvious one. With digital technology and Internet, social media allows us to be able to reach a large number of people at a split second.

2. Our solitary walks will never be solitary:

This I realised one day when I was having one of my morning jog. I do this often, and I like doing it alone, though when I think of it I was NEVER really alone. Despite having to being my house key, I always bring my phone along with me. Yes, I can’t jog without music, but I can’t seem to NOT check my social media profiles when resting from my jog. Even if I am not with anyone physically, I read my news feed on Facebook, my friends’ tweets and latest Instagram photos. Social media is just so omnipresent, that we can access it anywhere, anytime. 

3. Fakes:

One of my classmates ( Lillian, if you are reading this 😉 ) recommended me to watch an MTV series called “CATFISH”, because I’ve heard about it before, I was not skeptical at all and quickly jump straight to watching it.

The show is about how people met through online profiles and ended up knowing that one of them ( or sometimes both ) is not the same person he/she is online.

This is my third and final point. Social media platform is quite unique in a point where it allows people to create a whole new persona far from who they are in real life. Sometimes they get caught, but other times, they can hide their true identities behind their computer screen.

To an extent, some are still harmless, it could even help us develop better selves. But on other times, some people got so carried away to a point where they do horrible things (cases like cyberbullies, online psychopaths and so on).


I really think that social media is a new way of socialising for us. Even if sometimes we refer it as a “virtual reality”, something that is not real, it actually affect our lives, big time.

So, what do you guys think about that? Do you find social media changing your lives? Could you think of any other differences of social media to other mediums that we use in our social lives?

Comment down below!




13 thoughts on “Social Networks vs Communities.

  1. Yes .. Social media changes my life to be easier..with social media i have been learning so many new can also have more relationship with days having relationship as many as you can is very important..because we are social is very important for us..and the easiest way to find many relationship is a social media..and the difference between social media to other mediums that we use in our social lives..(i used text message / sms to be the media) for me sms isnt have a lot function..because when we want to sms , we must have his/her phone number and that isnt effective anymore..example,when we met 1 person ,sometimes we dont remember to ask her/him phone number and if one day we need him/her we dont have him/her phone number..that’s very not awful..but with social media if we need his/her we dont need her phone number..just search her/his name on social media and within a minute we can get his/her information and also we can send them a private message..that’s a big difference between sms and social media for me social media is needed nowdays..that’s all thank you 🙂

  2. Hi Valen, I came across your blog on my newsfeed and thought I may drop my two cent worth.

    First of all, I agree on the two big categories by Brian Solis; and that these two categories had been recognised before we even know / use / utilise Social Media.

    Second, we are talking about a broad subject, so let me suggest a great read by Marshall Mcluhan’s ‘Understanding Media’, where he explains social media as ‘The extension of man’. It also depicts how the new form of media change the perception of society – which I think made your three points valid: as convinience of oneself, globalisation of the world users, and new persona for everyone.

    In a broad subject of using social media, and trying to answer your question “if social media is changing our lives’, my take IS back to the origin of the person. This new readily technology can be used positively or negatively depending on the person — it could be a new way of socialising but it could be invading to much privacy. At the end of the day, it is up to others to decide how or what have we done with our own space in the Global Village.

    I hope it can be helpful. Coming from a Media background, I know it can be challenging to get comments.

    • Hi Yogo, I actually was taught about Mcluhan at class and yes, it is actually a good theory. And yes, positive or negative it always depends and it can even be both positive and negative at the same time. It’s never black and white with social issues like this.

  3. Yes, socmed obviously change ppl in these millenia.. and everybody using socmed. Everybody. Kid, teenagers, adult and even old ppl.
    The bright side of it, we can meet new ppl and old friends that already lost contact with us.
    The negative side is sometimes we judge ppl just from their socmed even if we dont know them personally. We dont even try to know the person in real life. But, again, this is life. Its always have a good and the bad side of everything. It all depends on the person who seeing this, is it good for our life or not, is it useful or not.

  4. Hi valencia

    You are so true and the way you explaining about social media is perfectly right. I almost couldn’t be able to add more comment about it because i think you have explained all. For me social media is just like the air that i breathe. I have all the social media applications that you mentioned in the in your blog (instagram, fb, tweeter,path, so on). I play with them every single time. nowadays, all of them can be categories as a need, not a want anymore. I would comment about social media, “i am addicted to them and i can’t live without them”

  5. Yes, I think if my children were ever ask me what has changed my life the most, it would definitely be social media. I cannot even imagine how my life is going to be without Facebook or Instagram now. Not knowing how others are doing with their life now is killing me. It is more like a routine to me to check my newsfeed when I wake up in the morning or check out my Instagram account before I go to sleep. This adversely affect my performance in my studies, but hey when you can gain more connections and find you childhood friends why not?

  6. well yeah, i need social media to be connected with my friends back home, follow their updates, as well as for me ‘telling the world’ how ‘happening’ I am or just to share about what’s going on in my life. when people ‘like’ my post/photos or ‘comment’ my post/photos, it feels like they ‘care’ about me or they ‘like’ me. I know it sounds ‘pathetic’ but that’s how the social media have influenced our value. anyway, I still need social media. I think I just can’t live a day without it. when my internet fails, that’s when I feel ‘something just missing in my life’ coz I feel so attached with this and it’s become part of my life.

    • Btw, am I the only one with profile picture? when I created this account, the first thing I do is finding a nice picture of myself and make sure I look good. Hahahah.. Well, that’s one of trend/culture the social media have created: our photo’s or our username has become our identity. One of my e-mail account called ‘debbiecoolrock’, that’s how I create my own identity that I am a cool person and I am a rock chick, Hehehe.. but that’s not who i really am, i am just not being real about myself, i’m just trying to be cool, so people would like me or accept me.. i guess, this is one of the thing we have to be aware about social media, give us a change to be ‘somebody else’ and not being real about who we are. If Rebecca Ferguson sings “Nothing’s Real but Love”, I would probably say “Nothing’s REAL ’bout Social Media”..

  7. To some extent, it could be said that social media has to have some kind of impact in today society life. It can’t be deny that living in the year of 2013, it will be difficult to communicate without any social media as well as online community. According to the last recources I read, it’s settled that TV has less media power nowadays compared to the internet, which is the engine of social media and online community. Personally, me myself were also affected in a significant way from the evolution of how we communicate, however the findings seems to potrait that social media and online community could impacting someone’s life and/or a community in a positive as well as in a negative way. In conclusion, for me, it’s all depends on who is using it and with what intention behind it. Either social media or online community, both have the same power to the most extent that can be use to add values to one’s life or destroy it.


  8. I personally never thought in a hundred years that I could be friends virtually with Hollywood celebrities. Through twitter, I know what Paris Hilton is doing and where she is. And get this, Yoko Ono, the legendary Mrs. John Lennon followed my tweets!!!!

    That’s what social media can do. Things that you never thought you could do before!!

  9. Hi Val,

    It is very refreshing to read your take on social network, and couldn’t agree more with what you say by “social media being omnipresent”. This actually correlates with what i have wrote in my blog before ( ).

    I think that social media not only changing our lives, but changing the way we approach things to. For instance, how many times in a day did you check your friends activities on facebook or check out their tweets instead of talking to them directly? These networks give you the ambient awareness or intimacy in a way that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space make it impossible. To me, if you see it in a different angle, with the current wide access to information; yes its somewhat brings people together, but it also started to diminish the necessity for direct human interactions at the same time. The instant gratification and the ambient intimacy that rapid streams of information given with the availability of these social networks, making the twenty first century generation is lack of resilience and believes that if everything goes wrong, all they should do is press a button, and they could go back to first attempt.

    But, i really couldn’t agree more that social networks have given the society a whole new platform for them to voice out their opinion and bring together people with common interest; perhaps through the creation of the great social movement that we have seen today (i.e KONY). I guess that’s when social networks have support and give the community greater capacity to actually make a change.

    Love your blog, keep writing! 🙂


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