Social Networks vs Community Content

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Social media networks are held together by the desire to communicate with already established interpersonal relationships. Community content is a byproduct of social media by fostering a large, overarching group of users that generally share common interests by maintaining, updating and populating content in a shared environment. Community content can be as simple as posting a picture, small snippet of information or just by commenting or replying to content which adds to discussion or continued dialogue. However, with the ever-growing ability and ease of adding video and audio, community content is much more robust, entertaining and informative.

“By 2016 one third of the population will use video and social networking on the mobile devices. Visual engagement on a mobile platform can help brand content in a pleasing way; with audio adding another dimension. This makes it more appealing and interactive than just print or static websites. People love video and it’s a way of capturing attention and beating boredom, especially to 18-34 year-olds.” (Rhoads, 2015)

To further enforce this trend, PR Daily (Working, 2012) reports, “Three billion videos are viewed every day on YouTube, making it among the hottest places around to tell your story visually. The videos are embeddable, enabling a fan of an airline or carmaker to drop a URL into a blog, spreading its reach.”  Needless to say, this works well in social networks as well as community sites.

 Transition from social to content? Is it both?

The blurred line in delineating social media to community content is becoming even harder to see where one ends and one begins. As Dr. Michael Wu (2012) puts it, “Communities can overlap and are often nested.”  The crux that is catapulting the two together is the advancement of technology, thus easing the option for anyone to add audio and visual content to just about any social media channel.

It is both? One of the best examples is our MMC 5006 class.  We all came together as strangers initially as a community based on inputting content in pursuit of individual, yet similar gaols.  However, through consistent interaction and getting to know each other, even virtually I now consider each of you precious classmates and instructors an integral part of my social network dynamics. Through this incidental union, this content community channel has given me even more access to branch out a step further. Albeit rare, one of my classmates happens to also live in the DC area and I see us growing into a dear friends as we continue this unique academic bonding experience until we schlep together to Gainesville to don the cap and gown and meet the rest of you (shout out to Ashley!).

How does Instagram measure up to being a content community?

Instagram is a great example of how a community channel can skyrocket based on its intriguing content appeal.  Numbers don’t lie—especially for this powerhouse that began in 2010 and boasts the largest increase of users. According to (Cleary, 2015), as of December 2014, Instagram now reaches 300 million.

In exploring Instagram’s inclusion as a community content card-carrying member, according to Search Engine Journal (Sornoso, 2014), “Three factors that make Instagram very attractive to businesses: visual appeal, engagement, and mobility. This last factor sums up the very nature of the network. Once an Instagram account gains a substantial number of followers, it starts to feel and behave like a community. The beauty of Instagram is that its content can be found across many social media platforms; with the motivation to see what others are doing successfully.”

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New Hyperlapse app

Instagram also features the ability to customize photos and videos with several custom-built filter effects. Moz Blogs Julienne Staino sums it up nicely, “Video content is like the new sliced bread.”

TechCrunch (Crook, 2014) has this to say about Hyperlapse, “Generally speaking, image stabilization tech is processing-intensive to the point where it really isn’t feasible on mobile. However, by using the gyroscopes in the phone itself, the Instagram team used algorithms to calculate the movements of the phone and correct it in the shot. They’re able to get away with this by using a cropped portion of the massive resolution available in your phone’s camera, leveraging the extra pixels of the sensor to stabilize the view. The end result is an app that creates beautiful, souped-up videos that look and feel as though they were shot by professionals using expensive equipment.”

Adding the new standalone app, Hyperlapse, is a progressive smart move to keep the spike of mobile users rising, however, Instagram’s success is really built on simplicity. Pre-set filters and easy streamlined process replace tedious editing and commenting. From start to finish, the process is centered around simplicity, something even this old gal managed in minutes.


Cleary, I. (January 2015). How to Rapidly Grow Your Instagram Followers (Links to an external site.).

Crook, J. (Aug. 26, 2014). Hands on with Hyperlapse, Instagram’s New Video Creation App. (Links to an external site.)

Rhoads, J. (Feb., 2015). Week Six Lecture: Content Communities.

Sornoso, E. (Mar. 14, 2014). How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 5 Steps. (Links to an external site.)

Staino, J. (March 4, 2012). How to Leverage Content Communities to expand your brand reach. (Links to an external site.)

Working, R. (Jan. 19, 2012). Brands use Youtube to Create a Story Telling Presence. (Links to an external site.)

Wu, M. (Sept. 14, 2012). Community vs Social Network. (Links to an external site.)

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