Those great people at Common Craft are back to their paper explaining ways. We had previously seen their work with Twitter in Plain English and now they are explaining Social Media in Plain English.

While those well ensconced in the blogosphere may understand the appeal and the mechanisms behind such social media as blogs, podcasts, and video sharing services, the mass populace may not be quite as familiar. To help explain the phenomenon of social media, Common Craft uses the analogy of selling ice cream.

In the beginning, we came to rely on big ice cream stores (traditional media like the New York Times) for all of our information and entertainment. As the ice cream industry (Internet) matures and becomes more personal, smaller stores (individual web users) have the opportunity to sell their own unique flavor of ice cream. Some flavors are more unique that others, some will be more popular than others. Some people like panda-flavored ice cream, whereas others may disagree. And that’s the beauty of ice cream social media. There is a flavor (and a voice) for everyone.

In any case, check out the video below from Common Craft. No longer are you restricted to vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. There’s pickle-flavored ice cream too.

[Flash/Javascript needed. If you can’t see the video, go to Beyond the Rhetoric.]

If the video isn’t working for you, it has also been uploaded to Youtube.