Social Media

Increasingly, I’m seeing this with a singular verb: Social media is …, Social media has

While the phrase can logically be regarded as a singular concept encompassing different components (LinkedIn, Twitter and their ilk), I still don’t like it.

Why? Media is a plural, the singular form of which is medium.

Just like data, which is the plural of datum – although I guess I can see big data as singular if it means a monolithic construct rather than the sum of its parts.

The French don’t do this better. Where we would refer to the media (and improperly use a singular verb), in French one would say les médias. Even my 1903 Larousse dictionary, which doesn’t list médias at all (not thought of as a category back then, presumably), gives médiums as the plural of médium.

The medium is the message, as a wise man once said.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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