Anyone who has spent even just a few minutes reading through the newspapers and headlines over the last couple of weeks would be forgiven for thinking that social media was the cataclysm likely to be responsible for the eventual decline of society itself.

In fact looking into it further it is apparent that there are at least three different types of social media going on, and it is important to be aware that there is relatively little overlap between these three categories of social media, despite what newspaper reporters would have us believe.

There is of course the social media, including sites like Facebook and Twitter, which allow individuals across the world to stay in touch with family and friends, and expand their social network wider than might otherwise be possible. There is nothing wrong with this, there is little danger in it, and there are plenty of advantages.

Social media is a very positive technology. Sadly there is a minority of people media who misuse social media, either through spam or for other nefarious purposes and it is these who capture the public’s imagination thanks to the news reporting.

But because it doesn’t tend to fire up the imagination in quite the same way one of the biggest applications of social media tends to be virtually ignored by news reporters. In spite of the word ‘social’, social media is a massive business tool with wide ranging applications and advantages. It is easy to confuse the way in which social media for business works with the way in which social media for personal purposes works.

It seems difficult to visualise how social media can on the one hand be policed or controlled in such a way that the more vulnerable parties are protected whilst still allowing businesses all the advantages and opportunities which social media provides.

It would be nice if the news is occasionally focused on the positive aspects of social media, rather than pandering to the vitriolic accusations hurled in response to the behaviour and actions of a minority of people who will misuse any tool or facility given the opportunity.

It is interesting however to consider whether in the future social media for business is likely to start moving away from personal and social networking.

If you have any comments about the impact of social media or the way in which social media is likely to head in the future why not leave a comment and share your thoughts with others?