During McPhail presentation in class the first thing i noticed was the large use of buzz words that were said. Generally speaking the "social media" phrase is a buzz phrase in it self. Then the web apps and sites surrounding it have generated a lot of buzz.
Look at Facebook and Digg for example. These have become massively popular social media sites. Where user generated comments are a primary source of attraction. McPhail did announce his dislike for facebook during the presentation. He explained this was mostly due to facebook's now money hungry nature. Since it has become a source for add revenue. Also that it has no data mobility. Meaning that once signed up to facebook, you can not completely remove one's self from facebook even after closing your account.
McPhail went into great depth about how companies should use social media. Its all about being a participant and joining the community built upon social media. He gave an excellent example to explain this.
Take the scenario of a party where a Insurance Salesman comes to the party uninvited. He hands out a bunch of business cards but no one really cares because he not actually a friend and is only there for business. That is like a company spamming a bunch of social media sites. A company has to become an active member that gives back to the community. Then people will take notice. Like the friend that comes to the party bringing along a case of beer for everyone.
Many of the new social media sites are multimedia pioneers. What they have done is taken forms of multi media and used and combined them in new ways. Mogulus.com is a great example of this. They take video and enable you to broadcast it live on the web site using webcams then allow users to live chat about the show.
Personally i can see many uses for social media services in regards to pioneering. What better way of creating a community and allowing interactivity. Though i can see how it can be hard to come up with something new and interesting.
Here is a list of great social media sites that came up in McPhail's presentation.
The flash builder
the " What are you doing?" instant Msgr system
live video broadcast from your mobile phone
web browser broadcast tv, from web cams