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A Handy Guide to 8 Social Media Platforms

By Amber Wheeler

2020 was the year that we can collectively all reflect on and honestly ask, "what the heck was that? "

However, it was undoubtedly a way to look at the way we are communicating with one another. Much of the younger generation is already using electronic means and started introducing it more and more to the older generations.

Why does it matter? Weddings are live-streamed on the Internet. Our families are growing, and new baby photos are shared online. We now can put old films into a digital format and be able to share them with the people that matter.

However, with so many social media platforms available, what are they all, and what are they used for? Here's a handy guide to helping you stay connected with the knowledge of what each social media platform is and how it's used.


Facebook is the most common and most popular social media platform. It was created initially to help college students stay connected and continue to stay connected after graduation. However, it soon became apparent that Facebook could be opened up for everyone, and that's precisely what happened. Now, it's uncommon to find somebody who doesn't have a Facebook page. It's a great way to reconnect with friends, new and old. Not only can you upload photos, go searching for humor, or find out the latest news from your friends, it also has a chat feature you can use with text, voice, and even video. Facebook showed us what the future could be like and that is now. Facebook is free and is continually increasing its security. Suppose you do not already have a Facebook. In that case, it is the fastest and simplest way to get connected and stay connected with family and friends.


Instagram is a photo and video only platform. Every post has a visual element of some kind. To some, it's become an art in itself. To others, it's become a fashion industry platform. Instagram easily connects you to things that you're interested in with visual delicacies of those interests. If you like to see nice pictures, Instagram is a great platform. Not necessarily a great way to stay connected per se but a great place to look at gorgeous photos from amateurs and professionals alike.


What is it to tweet? Or be tweeted? Twitter is a text-based social media platform that has become famous for utilizing quotable content from celebrities and politicians. Twitter limits each post (or tweet) to 280 characters. You can include video, links, photos, or GIFS (those short video-clip like photos). Twitter is often full of satire and sarcasm, but it is an excellent way to get important information out quickly.


Pinterest is essentially a giant bulletin board of all of the things that you find across the Internet. When you find an article or a photo or recipe you like, you can save it to your Pinterest board. That way, you can come back to it when you're ready for it rather than having to search the whole of the Internet again. It's also an excellent searchable platform for articles, do-it-yourself ideas, crafts, recipes, and anything else you can want advice and instructions for. Again, not necessarily a platform you would use to stay connected with people, but rather a way to keep all of your findings from across the Internet in one space.


LinkedIn is the social media platform business people use. It is owned by Microsoft and professionally connects you to network with other business people. Not so much a platform to communicate with family and friends but rather create networking opportunities for business. It's also a great place to learn about what other companies are doing and get tips and tricks that you can use across multiple industries.


Google owns YouTube. Therefore, when you search in Google, "how do I…?" YouTube videos will show up in search results. YouTube is a myriad of videos as it is a video-based platform. Many people have created channels for video games, fashion, makeup, how-to, and anything else you might find a television show for. YouTube allowed people to make a show they wanted and post it for anyone interested in seeing, rather than waiting with fingers crossed for a network to possibly pick them up. Yes, not all videos on YouTube are necessarily valuable, but it's a great place to learn or be entertained. Videos spend anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours. There is no time limit to the videos, and there are restrictions to inappropriate videos.


Snapchat is s chat-based platform. It is popular with youngsters because once a chat or picture is "snapped" and sent, it can only be viewed once and immediately replayed once more before it disappears. Suppose a screenshot or photo is taken of the image or conversation. In that case, the user on the other end gets a notification. It's well known for it's impressive AI technology. It has filters that adjust to your face to add things like dog ears, adjust facial features, and more. Snapchat can be a fun way to stay connected but - like all things - is sometimes used in what some would consider an inappropriate manner, and the restrictions for these things are harder to control on this program.


TikTok is the social media many are using, talking about, and sharing. It is a snack-sized video platform for mobile devices like cell phones and tablets. The videos are meant to be short, entertaining, and scrollable. It's a fun platform but was criticized most recently for the data it collects from your cell phone. It's in the process of switching hands from a China-based company to a US-based company in hopes of this change. Despite the data mining, TikTok is a popular and fun platform to utilize, even if you don't create posts yourself.

Even before staying home was the thing to do, social media helped people connect with others around the world in ways we couldn't imagine 20 years ago. Now that we are more mindful of the distance between us, it helps us find a way to stay connected even if we cannot be close physically. Whether your reasons be that your family and friends live elsewhere or you're staying home to stay safe, social media helps us remember that we all need to be a little social sometimes. Technology has helped us make the distance a little smaller.

Article Written By:

Amber Wheeler, Marketing Maven

call/text (360) 504-8106


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