When most of us hear the words ‘social media’ the first thing that comes to mind is either social networks or image sharing platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, which attract hundreds of millions, if not billions of users on a daily basis.
However, these types of websites only represent a fraction of the different forms of social media platforms that are available today, some only used by specific audiences, others not usually classified as social media by the average internet user. So, here is a list of 7 different types of the most popular social media platforms you might not have immediately thought of:
1. Social networking websites
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are among the most popular social networking websites most of us are familiar with by now. These types of platforms allow us to connect with family and friends, and sometimes even companies, and they largely focus on personal, human interactions, as well as sharing knowledge and experiences.
Social networking platforms might be the most versatile form of social media, as they allow their users to share personal thoughts, curate unique content, upload different images and videos, make groups that are based on common interests, and even participate in active discussions with the community. Clearly, social networking websites are built around the needs or users, as well as their social circles.
2. Image sharing platforms
With Instagram, Snapchat, and Imgur being the most well-known and commonly used options, image sharing platforms focus solely on image (and sometimes video) sharing, allowing their users to tell stories not only through the power of the image, but also unique filter and editing options.
On these platforms, users can create, share and curate distinct, personalized pictures that are not only eye-catching and visually appealing but can also start serious conversations, and even allow an average individual to rise to fame. As visual content generally tends to capture the eye, touch the heart, and spark imagination, it’s no wonder image sharing websites are among the most popular social media platforms nowadays, particularly among the younger generations.
Examples of image sharing platforms
3. Video sharing platforms
YouTube has completely revolutionized the way we view, make, and perceive videos, and transformed it into something that’s accessible to everyone. Along with the recent technological improvements, this video-sharing website helped take the art form of video making to the next level.
Video-sharing platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo have allowed individual creators to make unique content and share it with the rest of the world on platforms that have been entirely optimized for video streaming. This ease of access to both viewers and creators made video one of the most prominent mediums in today’s society, even allowing average individuals to build successful and respected careers.
Examples of video-sharing platforms
4. Community blogs
There are times when one single picture or a short post simply isn’t enough to express the thoughts, feelings, and the overall message a person wants to share. On the other hand, many people don’t want to go through the hassle of running a personal blog on a self-hosted website, due to its complicated, time-consuming, and sometimes costly nature.
For that reason, blogging platforms like Tumblr and Medium have gained popularity. These shared, community blogging websites allow all users to express their opinions through different mediums, including text, photo, and video, while also connecting with their followers. These types of social media can provide any user with an audience, while still allowing for greater freedom of self-expression and customization.
Examples of community blogs
5. Social review websites
When buying a new product or planning our next holiday, most of us head straight to the internet first, in an effort to find reviews, and it’s exactly the social review websites that allow us to achieve our goal.
Websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, which are heavily focused on reviews, tend to display the assessments and critiques from the members of the community when it comes to different locations, destinations, and experiences. This allows the average user to make more informed choices when booking a hotel or reserving a table at a restaurant, for instance. However, these social review platforms have also helped businesses, giving them the opportunity to solve any potential issues, and even understand their customers better.
6. Discussion websites
Despite the fact that many of us have probably witnessed a number of heated arguments happen on sites like Facebook and Twitter, there are actually websites specifically designed for starting conversations and having (mostly) civilized discussions on any topic. Quora and Reddit, for instance, are among the most popular websites with this particular purpose.
On these websites focused on discussions, any user is completely free to make a statement or ask a question about anything that might interest them. Such a post then attracts other users who share similar interests to engage with their question or statement, sparking a debate among the community. However, unlike social media websites, users of discussion platforms generally don’t give out such easily identifiable information.
Examples of discussion websites
7. Sharing economy networks
Although many don’t consider them to be social media, sharing economy networks, such as Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and Rover, is actually quite an important aspect of social practices on the internet. Not only are these websites great for finding affordable holiday accommodation or a reliable pet sitter, but they also bring the people who have something to offer and share together with those who need their services.
By pooling resources on a bigger scale, sharing economy networks provide special, unique, and distinct opportunities that simply wouldn’t have existed without such a community. What’s more, chances are such opportunities wouldn’t even be possible without the advancement of technology, making sharing economy networks an important modern-day achievement.
Evidently, social media platforms can come in a number of different forms and options, all serving a unique and specific purpose. When it comes to choosing a social media website that’s most suited to your needs, you need to consider the type of social media and the purpose it serves, and whether that aligns with what you want to achieve.