Social Media – A guided tour (part 1)

Most people think social media is just about the big-name platforms - Facebook, Twitter etc.  The term is much wider and love it or hate it, Social media is an ever-growing communication medium that we can't really ignore in modern society.  

It has become an integral part of everyday life in the connected online world.  As mobile devices with cameras have exploded (not literally) in demand in the past two decades, so has social media.

 Communication and sharing has never been so popular along with instant messaging.  Applications like WhatsApp are taking over from traditional 'text messages' as we move to a need for more real-time conversation and sharing for information. See my article from October 2017 WhatsApp all about?

Businesses are making good use of this landmark shift in communication and in order to keep up with markets and promote brand awareness, it is vital to have a social media presence.


There are several types of social media platform offering a wide variety of services.  Here's a breakdown of what's out there....


Social networking and media sharing

Connecting and communicating with friends, family and now more so businesses.  Posting and sharing photos and video clips.





Google Plus




News feeds

News boards and real time RSS (Rich Site Summary)




Discussion forums

Group discussions and sharing of information and knowledge





Consumer review networks

For searching goods and services provided by businesses of any size





Blogs and publishing networks

Content published online to inform, entertain, educate or inspire.  Just like DIGITAL SPEAK!  





Interest based networks

Forums and websites dedicated to certain interests, professions or hobbies





Trade economy networks

Websites or forums for buying and selling of goods





Dating networks

Websites and groups dedicated on online dating and relationship and personality matching




Gig/sharing economy

Online businesses with minimal overheads to provide services such as private hire taxis,  trade services and accommodation.






Here's a quick summary some of the big hitters in more detail.




The largest social media and social networking site in the world with around 2.2 Billion users (at the time of writing).  Founded in 2004 by some Harvard college students, of whom was chairman and founder, Mark Zuckerberg.  Social interaction and sharing is the main theme, the service is valued currently at around $441 Billion (£316 Billion).   Although businesses are now very much part of the Facebook world using it as a powerful marketing tool.  Recently in the news due to the data protection scandal, the popularity of this platform will have taken a hit. 

See my Technology news post from March 2018 - Facebook, scandal and dodgy mind tricks.


Online news and social networking service first developed in 2006.  Posting short text 150-character sentences or 'tweets' is the idea and 'following' someone else's account to either see what they're doing or saying.  In February 2018 - pop star Katy Perry had the highest number of followers worldwide on Twitter at 108 Million.  Good for you Katy since Twitter in its entirety had 330 Million active users in 2017.  Again, businesses effectively use this as a marketing platform.


Business and employment service hosting websites and app.  Founded in 2002 and designed to a media for professionals to either find employment or for companies to find candidates for job vacancies.  In 2016 it was ranked as the 20th most popular website and was also acquired by Microsoft for $26 Billion (£18 Billion).


This multimedia messaging app was first developed in 2011.  Based on the concept of using mobile devices for person to person photo sharing where the content is only available for a short time before disappearing.  With a growing user base of 187 Million, the platform has evolved to chronological stories and discovery.  Great if you want to tell your teenage BFF what you've been up to lately. 


Photo and video sharing service owned by Facebook.  First launched in 2010 initially designed for iOS (Apple) devices before opening up to Android in 2012.  With around 800 million users as of 2017, Instagram’s popularity is on the rise.  Users upload their favourite photos and video clips using ‘Instagram stories’ adding filters and layers and the ability to follow the content of friends.  Interestingly, Instagram is more popular with female users (68%) than male users (32%).


The now famous world-wide video sharing platform, bought out by Google in 2006 for $1.65 Billion (£1.17 Billion).  As well as allowing users or subscribers to upload and view video footage, this medium has opened up a world or free user generated content on every subject possible.  Shirt video clips, corporate content, TV shows, music videos, movie trailers, training videos, tuition and so on.  There are on average around 1 billion hours of content watched on YouTube every day.

There are positive and negative sides to social media.  Research in the US has shown that 60% of children have some sort of social media account and spend at least 2 hours a day glued to it.

Research is showing less and less parents are posting pictures of their children on social media.  In the same way research is showing the younger generation are using the likes of Facebook a lot less.  Posting pictures of our kids has always been popular and as parents like to share their children's special moments or achievements. 

Privacy settings are important here as the research has proven that a high percentage of people aren't aware of or even using the privacy settings on their social media accounts which means photos are potentially posted for anyone to see and not just their social media friends.  This is worth thinking about as you wouldn't just hand photos of your family to a stranger in the street.  Posting stuff on social media is essentially doing just that unless the correct privacy controls are in place



The younger generation are more geared to social media than us older folk.  Online behaviour and trends in modern society now seem to stem from it.  It's a bit worrying to think our children are becoming more and more involved in this world so it's best to keep an eye on social media use in all cases.

The mentality around 'likes' on social media or acknowledgments is another interesting trend in human behaviour.  Obsession with the number of likes received against photos, tweets or posts is something that never existed previously until social media platforms presented it to us.  Now we live in a world of constantly checking, reacting, commenting or simply watching what others are doing.

It's great to be connected online and communicating with eachother and social media opens streams of communication that would never have been possible before.  Whether it's for social interaction or business. 

Who knows where it will take us in future generations but hopefully our human nature will still remind us that it is still important to put down the mobile phone, turn off the computer and television and actually TALK to each other.

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2 Responses

  1. Very interesting

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