Types of Social Media

Types of Social Media

Some of the most popular current forms of social media are social networking websites such as Facebook, which surpassed over one billion active monthly users in October 2012. There are several types of online platforms classified under the vast umbrella of social media. These categories include:

Social Networks: Social networking websites allow users to build web pages featuring personal portfolios and interests. These pages are used to connect with friends, colleagues and other users in order to share media, content and communications. Examples of social networks include Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Bebo.

Visual social networks are becoming more popular, with Instagram having now surpassed Twitter in its amount of users. Data has shown that a tweet that includes an image has a 150% more chance of being shared. There are also new networks such as Snapchat and Periscope, that are slowly growing in terms of popularity, especially with the younger generations.

Web blogs: Some of the oldest and most popular forms of social media are blogs. Blogs are often viewed as online journals that order content chronologically, or by date, month, year and category. Users can also maintain “vlogs,” or video blogs, featuring shared or homemade videos. Blogging websites include WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr.

Microblogs: Microblogs are blogging tools that feature short posts, as opposed to journal-style posts. Users are usually restricted to posting a few lines of text, or uploading individual images and videos. Microblogging is particularly common for posting quick updates and distributing content via mobile devices. Notable microblogging sites include Twitter and Tumblr. However, social networks such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace also have their own microblogging features.

Content Communities: Users on content communities organize, share and comment on different types of content, including images and videos. YouTube, Flickr and scribd are examples of content communities.

Wikis: Wiki websites allow a community of people to add and edit content in a community-based database. One of the best-known wikis is Wikipedia.

Podcasts: Podcasts are audio and video files available through subscription services such as Apple iTunes. The term “podcast” is a neologism derived from “broadcast” and “pod” (as in “iPod”), since Podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.

Other types of social media include the following:

  • Rating and review sites (e.g. Yelp)
  • Social bookmarking or social tagging features (e.g. Digg; Stumble Upon)
  • Forums and discussion boards (e.g. Yahoo!; Answers)
  • Virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life; World of Warcraft)
  • Music and audio sharing (e.g. Spotify; Pandora Radio)

Social media can also be classified by their ability to facilitate certain social functions. These social functions often involve identity, conversation, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme using six different types of social media– collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia), blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter), content communities (e.g. YouTube), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft), and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life).