A newsgroup is a depository for messages received from various users in remote locations. Newsgroups are normally within a Usenet program and they perform the same function as discussion forums on the internet. People post messages on newsgroups with the aim of letting other users to read and respond to their posts. Newsgroups are different from chats because they do not happen in real time and therefore users have time to think about the topic to post and even respond to other topics. This enables a user to discuss topics with different people and thus gain knowledge. The administrator of a particular newsgroup determines the time an article can take on his server before it is removed.
A wiki is a server application that enables users to easily create and edit content of a web page via a web browser with the help of an internet text editor. Users can use hyperlinks and other simple HTML capabilities to freely create new pages and links within pages. Thus, wiki is a democratic representation of free usage of internet content. Such websites are called collaborative websites. An example is the Wikipedia. Wikis may be governed by certain rules in which users are required to have privileges before performing any action or users can be given rights of access without any restrictions (Shelly, Napier, & Rivers, 2009).
Blogging and Microblogging
A blog is a website or element of a website that is managed by a user with constant entries of discussions, events, video, or other media. The latest entries are normally shown first. Blogging involves posting such contents on a blog and therefore allowing users to read and post comments on the blog. Microblogging is a type of blogging that enable users to post smaller contents in regards to size and urgency. A microblog post is a short sentence part, a picture or embedded video. Blogging enable users to store information for future use, synthesize their feelings, and to read other’s blogs. On the contrary, microblogging enable users to comment on breaking news in any aspect of life, a chance to know others on a personal level, and keep track of their friends’ activities.
Chat is an online communication tool that enables web users to send and receive messages instantly. Users must be connected to the internet in order to communicate with one another. This is a free communication tool that requires registration before using. Chat capabilities are integrated in social, business, or personal websites. E-mail agents like Yahoo and Gmail incorporate chat services that enable users to communicate with people within their email accounts. In other cases, websites enable individuals to engage in group chat, in which many people can actively exchange messages concerning a certain topic. Group chat is enabled through chat rooms, where individuals with similar interest exchange ideas (Shelly et al., 2009).
Three Primary Reasons People use Social Media Sites
The three primary reasons for using social media sites are sharing, driving conversations, and marketing. First, social media sites enable users to share interests, thoughts, stories, images, music, and video. Sharing is enhanced through chatrooms, news forum, and other communication services. For example, Facebook and MySpace are websites that host millions of users sharing information. Second, social media are important in boosting conversations between companies and customers. A company can strategize on how to act upon the customers preferences. Social media like chatrooms enable businesses to track conversations and build better product brands. Third, social media is one of the reliable marketing tools as it gives people a wide opportunity to market their products and find new target audience. Most people are registered in social media sites and therefore information about products can be shared within the sites (Stair & Reynolds, 2006).
Shelly, G.B., Napier, H.A, & Rivers, O. (2009). Discovering the Internet: Complete Concepts and Techniques. 3rd Ed. Boston: Cengage Learning, Inc.
Stair, R.M., & Reynolds, G. W. (2006). Fundamentals of information systems. (3rd Ed.). Boston: Thompson Course Technology.