I am a trilingual Millennial. Aside from English and Spanish, I am fluent in social media. (And no, that doesn’t mean I walk around saying “LOL” all of the time.)
The other day I overheard a colleague say that there isn’t really a difference between Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest simply because, “you share pictures on all of them.” I was stunned—as someone who grew up in the social realm, it hadn’t ever occurred to me that these channels could be considered a foreign land to others. So when this colleague (aka “outsider”) challenged me with, “Well, how are they different?” I did my due diligence and explained.
If you are like my colleague and challenged with wading through the modern social landscape, read on. This is “Social Media 101”.
1.19 billion users
86% of Internet users ages 18-29 (Millennials) are on Facebook
In general, users become “friends” with everyone they have met in a social setting. I have 699 “friends.” I can pretty much post whatever I want on Facebook (photos, videos, statuses), but if I don’t want 699 people to see it, I’m not posting it there.
500 million+ users
60% of users access via a mobile device
You can follow and send 140 character tweets (messages) to any public user on Twitter. These quick tidbits of information provide access to news, jokes, friendly updates and more. It also allows me to “tweet” otherwise untouchable celebrities and ask them to join me at the Pace Holiday Party. (Come on @kellanlutz, you know you want to!) If you’re wondering what the @ symbol means or how to use # (the hashtag), check out The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag.
130 million+ users
Every second 8000 users “like” a photo on Instagram
Instagram is a mobile-based platform for sharing photos and 15-second videos. Users tend to post their visual content most frequently on this platform because it’s fast and easy. Instagram is also considered more exclusive than Facebook or Twitter. I can only see one image at a time on my smartphone, so I’m only going to follow people/brands that I’m truly interested in. I don’t want to waste my time scrolling through images of people and things I don’t really care about.
70 million+ users
80% are female and most are between 18 and 34 years old
Pinterest is an image-based platform that serves to inspire. Pins can inspire people to cook, vamp up their wardrobe, improve their home, become more fit, better their lives, etc. In short, users share content created by others by “repining.” When I choose to repin something, the content is saved to my profile so that I can access it at a later date. For example, I find a recipe in my feed. I like it, so I repin it to one of my boards. Later I go to the grocery store, pull up the recipe on my Pinterest app and simply shop for the ingredients.
Launched by Twitter in January 2013
Five tweets per second contain a Vine video link
Vine is a primarily mobile-based platform and is currently most popular among young Millennials. Vine videos are limited to 6 seconds, can only be created on mobile, but viewed on desktop and mobile devices. When launching the app, scroll through videos that will automatically start playing on a loop. Personally, I was a late to the Vine game, but now I’m hooked. If I want a laugh before bed, I’ll hop on my phone and scroll through some Vines. And just think of how inventive one must be to create an entertaining and popular 6-second video.
259 million users in 200 countries
Largest professional network on the Internet.
Your LinkedIn profile is your digital résumé. You can search for jobs, connect with companies, start dialogue with recruiters and receive updates on industries that you’re interested in. You might be thinking, “I don’t need that, I already have a job.” False. With LinkedIn you can also network with people who are in the same industry or industry related fields and share ideas that could help you advance in your current career. Your chances of succeeding in the job market are significantly increased by networking. On LinkedIn, instead of a friend request, users “connect” with other users. In general, people connect with coworkers, classmates, and even potential employers.
540 million active users
Average user is a 28-year-old male
This platform has nearly the same concept as Facebook: socialize and share everything. The unique features of Google+ are the circles and hangouts. Remember, if I don’t want 699 people to see what I’m sharing on Facebook, I’m not going to post it there. G+ allows you to organize all of your friends into different “circles,” similar to how we function in real life. Let’s say you have a group of friends who really love cooking—you can make a circle of all of these friends and share your favorite recipes with only them. A “hangout” is a video chat. The best thing about these chats is that you can have up to 10 computers in one hangout—you’re basically throwing a virtual party (Side Bar: G+ is attached to your Google accounts, including Gmail. If you have a Gmail account, you most likely have a G+ account and you might not even know it.)
While there are many layers to each of these channels (with something new popping up almost everyday), use this blog post as a quick reference guide and you’ll never wonder if Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are the same thing again.
Tell us which platform is your favorite in the comments below. What are best uses of your chosen platform that you’ve seen?