Monday, March 3, 2014

Social Media Monday—A List of Social Media Platforms and How They're Used

by Edie Melson

I've shared a breakdown of social media platforms, along with how they’re used, on my blog in the past. But things change frequently in the digital world so it’s time for an update. 

When we know what the focus of particular network is, it’s easier to evaluate if it’s a valuable addition to our personal plan. 

So today I’m sharing a new list of social media platforms and how they’re used.

FACEBOOK: This platform prides itself on being a network that’s socially driven. It allows people to connect in an informal setting, using photos, videos, and text content to interact with friends, family, and lastly, businesses.
Median Age: 46-51
Engagement: driven by how many comments, shares and likes a specific update receives.
Edie's Notes: One of the largest platforms and one of the most clunky. The differentiation between user, creator and advertiser is not well-defined, leading to a difficult medium to gain traction in any but a social-driven focus.

TWITTER: This is a text driven platform, although it is possible to share images and videos. Users are encouraged to interact in microbursts of information with a 140 character limit. There is more meaningful interaction than might first be imagined.
Median Age: 20-30
Engagement: driven by hashtags and retweets.
Edie's Notes: A well-developed chain of connections dominates the value of this network. Utilize the lingo, including hashtags, and it’s simple to engage and grow a fan base.

PINTEREST: This platform is an image driven network that allows users to pin images from the web to virtual bulletin boards. Users are primarily women, and especially popular in the Midwest and southern areas.
Median Age: 28-35
Engagement: driven by repins and follows.
Edie's Notes: Although there are a lot of uses for writers and businesses, this is still primarily a site driven by the female psyche. But do not underestimate this platform, it is, and has been for over a year, the fasted growing platform on the web.

INSTAGRAM: This is primarily an image driven platform. Users snap photos, apply special image filters, and even text overlays. They share these images with followers, as well as over other social media networks like Facebook and Pinterest.
Median Age: 18-25
Engagement: driven by image quality and likes, as well as hashtags.
Edie's Notes: This network is a great way to connect with the younger crowd. The general user is open to finding new connections and eager to share images that resonate.

YOUTUBE: This video driven platform is a place where users can view, upload and share videos. Users can create their own channel and subscribe to others as a way of interaction and engagement.
Median Age: depends on content
Engagement: driven by subscriptions and shares.
Edie's Notes: This is a network that understands how thing work. There are clear definitions of creator, user, and advertiser. I think this is an under utilized network for writers and bloggers.

GOOGLE +: This is what’s known as an integrated social network. It has multiple ways to connect and engage, including everything from video chats to streams of information. Users can connect with others through text, images, and video.
Median Age: 30-50
Engagement: driven by categorizing connections into ‘circles’ of influence.
Edie's Notes: This network tends to attract a more techie crowd. But I still have high hopes that it will someday augment and/or replace the Facebook users.

LINKEDIN: This is a business platform. Users can strengthen and connect with others within their own sphere of influence. The tone on this platform is generally more formal and business focused than other networks.
Median Age: 30-50
Engagement: driven by established connections.
Edie's Notes: This network is generally most valuable to freelance writers and speakers, rather than novelists.

These are the main networks that are useful for engagement. This is NOT an exhaustive list, and it contains my personal opinion of what works and what doesn’t with each one. Yesterday I did some research and discovered approximately 201 social media platforms. That number changes daily.

I’d love to know what network(s) are your favorites and why. Just share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And don’t forget to join the conversation!

Important Note: This post is only an informational post. I'm NOT changing my advice. I still think it's only necessary for writers to have  Facebook and Twitter. Anything you want to add beyond that is fine, but that is the foundation to build from. Whatever you choose, be sure to restrict your major social media to no more than 30 minutes per day.



  1. Is there a way to post to all platforms at once or more efficiently?

    1. Patrica, you can post to all the text driven networks through Hootsuite. But there's not a scheduling program for the image driven sites. Actually there are a couple, but they're expensive. Also, I listed all these platforms, but I don't recommend spending time on all of them every day. You'd spend hours and not really accomplish all that much. I have several posts on how to manage your social media time efficiently. Blessings, E

  2. Thanks for the information. Pinterest is my favorite because I really like it, find it easy to use, and it drives a significant amount of traffic my way. I like Facebook, but really only because I've used it longest and I'm familiar with it. I don't necessarily like the way they do things there. I'm still learning Twitter, Linked In, and Google+, but hope to be more proficient at those in the future. I have a very few things on You Tube and would probably use it more if I had good video recording equipment and knew how to use it. Instagram came along late in the game with me and I really don't see myself using it or any more social media networks unless something really feels right to me. I can't keep up with what I have now so I'm not too keen on adding more.

    1. This post isn't advocating adding to your social media burden, it's only an informational post to give an overview of what each network is about. Blessings, E

  3. Edie, where did you get your statistics on the demographics for each network?

    1. Emily, I got the numbers from different places. There's not one place to for them all. I had to do a lot of inline research. Blessings, E

  4. Thank you for explaining all this, Edie. It can be so confusing. I finally understand the differences thanks to you!

    1. Pam, I'm so glad you found this helpful! Blessings, E

  5. I'm with you on Google+, Edie. I love the look and feel of it. But it does seem to draw in the techies, like you said. A lot of people debating whether the iPhone is superior to the Anroid. What amazes me is that the Communities aren't growing more quickly. I've tried to set up ACFW and Novel Rocket there, with terrible results. And it's perfect for members of such blogs or orgazation to interract with one one another. Check out more succesful groups like the Christian Writers group you recently joined and you wonder why everyone isn't jumping in. By the way, the Scrivener group is great, too. Hopefully more writers will get the memo.

    1. Ron, I really don't understand why it's (Google+) hasn't caught on more quickly. I think normals have a hard time navigating the Google maze. I think people like us just need to keep encouraging and reminding folks. Thanks so much! Blessings, E

  6. Hi Edie -

    I'm a huge fan of Facebook. The interaction with friends and family make it my favorite hands down. I'm on Twitter but have yet to see much good come from it.

    I wish there was some way to measure the effectiveness of these platforms.

    1. Susan, the effectiveness of each platform really depends on the user more than anything. Blessings, E

  7. Great post, Edie. I find myself using Facebook the most, but honestly, it's hard to keep up with the changes and the things to do to get more engagement/recognition. I also connect on Twitter, but I'm not very good at coming up with compelling tweets, so I usually end up retweeting. :)

    Have you done a blog on how to navigate Google+? I'm on there, but I don't do much beyond post my blog each week and check it now and then.

    I always appreciate your posts!

  8. The median age for facebook users is quite surprising. Facebook actually has a Power Editor feature where you can customize your target audience. Generally, I agree with your notes to other social media.

  9. Thanks Edie !!! For differentiating each and every Social media plateform...