The idea that social media are defined simply by their ability to bring people together has been seen as too broad, as this would suggest that fundamentally different technologies like the telegraph and telephone are also social media.[18] The terminology is unclear, with some early researchers referring to social media as social networks or social networking services in the mid 2000s.[4] A more recent paper from 2015[2] reviewed the prominent literature in the area and identified four common features unique to then-current social media services:
Becoming a brand ambassador is another viable way for social media influencers to make money. As of late, ongoing ambassadorships are quoted to be the most effective method of influencer marketing because of their structural nature. Companies hire brand ambassadors for long-term relationships and pay them on a retainer basis. It is the responsibility of the influencer to become the supreme expert on the brand or product and broadcast his or her partnership with the brand on all social media channels.

Usenet, which arrived in 1979, was beat by a precursor of the electronic bulletin board system (BBS) known as Community Memory in 1973. True electronic bulletin board systems arrived with the Computer Bulletin Board System in Chicago, which first came online on 16 February 1978. Before long, most major cities had more than one BBS running on TRS-80, Apple II, Atari, IBM PC, Commodore 64, Sinclair, and similar personal computers. The IBM PC was introduced in 1981, and subsequent models of both Mac computers and PCs were used throughout the 1980s. Multiple modems, followed by specialized telecommunication hardware, allowed many users to be online simultaneously. Compuserve, Prodigy and AOL were three of the largest BBS companies and were the first to migrate to the Internet in the 1990s. Between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, BBSes numbered in the tens of thousands in North America alone.[11] Message forums (a specific structure of social media) arose with the BBS phenomenon throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. When the Internet proliferated in the mid-1990s, message forums migrated online, becoming Internet forums, primarily due to cheaper per-person access as well as the ability to handle far more people simultaneously than telco modem banks.
They certainly overlap, which is why it gets confusing. For example, you can share media with your social network to gather likes and comments — a form of social networking. But you can also just upvote a link on Reddit, which is a social media platform, to help out the community and give your say in the matter without any intention of building relationships with other users. 

Social media have been used to assist in searches for missing persons. When a University of Cincinnati student disappeared in 2014, his friends and family used social media to organize and fund a search effort.[66][67][68] when their efforts went viral[66][69] on Facebook, Twitter, GoFundMe, and The Huffington Post during the week-long search. Dulle's body was eventually found in a building next door to his apartment.[70][71][72][73][undue weight? – discuss] Social media was brought up as a strategy to try and help bring together the community and police force. It is a way for the police force to show their progress to the community on issues they are dealing with.[74]

GeoCities was one of the Internet's earliest social networking websites, appearing in November 1994, followed by Classmates in December 1995, Six Degrees in May 1997, Open Diary in October 1998, LiveJournal in April 1999, Ryze in October 2001, Friendster in March 2002, LinkedIn in May 2003, hi5 in June 2003, MySpace in August 2003, Orkut in January 2004, Facebook in February 2004, Yahoo! 360° in March 2005, Bebo in July 2005, Twitter in July 2006, Tumblr in February 2007, and Google+ in July 2011.[12][13][14] As operating systems with a graphical user interface, such as Windows 95 and Mac OS begin to emerge and gain popularity, this created an environment that allows for early social media platforms to thrive and exist.[15][16]