Learner Audience: This is a collaborative activity appropriate for community college students with basic Internet search skills. The unit examines four major types, or zones, of social media activity found on the Web today. The channels students will research and report on are all tools businesses can use to take advantage of social networking, building community, strengthening social presence and influencing customer buying decisions.

Thinking in Social Media Zones

So far this week, we have been reading about the variety of social media channels that are available for businesses. However, it can get confusing and complicated due to the sheer quantity of commercial and marketing applications and platforms that are coming online all the time. You may find it easier to grasp the size and variety of offerings in the social media “space” if you think about all social media falling primarily into one of these four zones - community, publishing, entertainment or commerce.

Social Media Zones image

Your activity this week:

The class will conduct a group jigsaw challenge. You have been assigned to a group that will research one of the four social media zones you see in the image to the right. Each group is listed in the table below along with links to three examples that represent popular social media channels (or vehicles) used in your assigned zone.

Your goal is to research on the Internet and record what you can find about each example. At a minimum, you must answer the following questions, in detail, about each channel while working in your expert group. You may add any extra information you find that will help us understand how the channel works and what purpose it serves for users. Your group should be prepared to present your findings to the rest of us in class on Friday in a 10-15 minute presentation.

Required questions to answer:

  • What is this channel?
  • How does it work?
  • What makes it different than the other examples in this zone?
  • What purpose does it serve for its users?


Jigsaw Activity - Group Zone Assignments
Group Social Media Zone


Community Experts Social Community: These channels are focused on building relationships around common activities that people participate in.  Social networking sites, message boards, forums and wikis. Wikispaces.com
Publishing Experts Social Publishing: These channels aid in the sharing and general dissemination of content to an audience. Blogs, microblogs, media sharing sites, podcasting, social bookmarking and news sites WordPress.org
Commerce Experts Social Commerce: These channels include reviews and ratings sites, deal sites and social shopping markets. Groupon
Entertainment Experts Social Entertainment:These channels offer play and enjoyment and include virtual realities, social games and social entertainment communities.   Second Life