Social Media Today

Social Media Today

Social media has taken off in recent years and transformed the way people communicate with one another on a daily basis. Social media is defined as various online tools enabling people to communicate and share information via the Internet. Social media has become one of the most powerful platforms for news updates, as it allows a live stream of information accessible from a computer or a mobile device.  Social media has turned the web into a more accessible, human-centered place. Communication is what makes us human, and by turning the web into a platform for interpersonal communication, social media has truly altered the way technology fits into our lives. That being said, it is useful to understand the different popular social media sites and understand how they can fit into your everyday life so that you can get the most use out of social media as possible, particularly from Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Beyond these three “biggies” there are a ton of other social media sites and there are new social sites that pop up each week, it is possible to spend every waking moment exploring all of these sites, updating your status on them, inviting your friends to each of them…  But since this is not something that we at the Top SEO Blog would recommend, we want to discuss some pros and cons of the main social media sites that you may want to be a part of, if you have a must use social platform you like please tell us about it in the comment section below.

Facebook is the most popular online social network, with over 800 million active users across the globe. Facebook allows its users to create a profile, with a profile picture, a cover photo, and place to share pictures as well as personal information. The main function of Facebook is that it allows users to build a network of their friends who are also active users on the site. By adding someone else on Facebook, or “friending” them, one can see others’ status updates, photos, and various other online activity that is linked to Facebook. Facebook makes it incredibly easy to connect with friends, and has changed the way people, especially young people; communicate with one another on a daily basis. Every user’s Facebook homepage acts as a constant feed of updates from their friends, so there is always a new influx of information from one’s friends.

Facebook is perhaps one of the most useful social media websites, primarily because of the sheer number of users on the website. On any given day, the first website I visit when I open my computer is Facebook, and I check it upwards of ten times throughout the day if I am by my computer. I also have the Facebook app on my iPhone, which gives me instant notifications and also makes it easy to share pictures and status updates when I’m on the go. While I use Facebook a large amount in my everyday life, I wouldn’t say it is my preferred social network. I often feel as if I use Facebook simply because “everyone else” is on it, and I want to see what others are up to. Looking at pictures (otherwise known as “Facebook stalking”) is what I use Facebook for the most. While Facebook is a great place to receive information about friends, the website has become a bit overcrowded in recent years, and I have found myself taking a more minimalist approach to my Facebook activity as of late. Despite this, I know I will be an active Facebook user for years to come, as it is hands down the best way to connect with friends on the Internet.

Twitter is another social networking website that has experienced drastic growth in recent years. Twitter is described as a micro-blogging website, where users have a 140-character limit to share thoughts, links, photos, or anything they please. Twitter is primarily a source of information, and is best used for real-time updates of current events, such as presidential debates, extreme weather events such as Hurricane Sandy, or even something as simple as real-time updates of a television show. Users can “follow” other users on Twitter so that they receive updates from people or organizations they want to get information from. Twitter can be used in a serious and efficient way to receive news updates, or it can be used to connect with friends, or even to follow comedians or other humorous parody accounts for a daily 140-character dosage of comedic relief. Perhaps the most important function of Twitter is users’ ability to connect with others using hash tags. For instance, during an event such as the Super Bowl, someone could tweet, “Go Patriots! Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all time. #SuperBowl” By placing a “#” before a word or phrase, a Twitter user essentially joins an overarching conversation on Twitter, otherwise known as trending topics. By clicking on or searching #SuperBowl, one can see what other users have to say about the same topic, a function that makes Twitter incredibly unique and useful in the social media realm.

Twitter has become my favorite social media website recently. As a young person, it is honestly my main, go-to news source. When I hear of a major current event occurring, the first place I go is Twitter to see what other people are saying about it. It is the place to go for instantaneous updates, often breaking news stories hours before any major television news station. I also enjoy reading my Twitter news feed because I have the ability to be selective about the people whom I follow, whereas when I log onto Facebook, it is likely that I’ll see a post from someone I don’t necessarily want to hear from. Twitter is where I obtain the majority of my information about current events, and is also a great place to find interesting articles from all over the Web, as well as reliable for a few laughs throughout the day.

Next, Instagram is a great social networking tool that has also exploded in popularity over the past year or so. Instagram allows users to take pictures, add filters to them, and post them for their friends to see. Only accessible through the mobile app, users must have an iPhone or Android phone to use Instagram. I have been using Instagram more than any other social networking site recently, mainly because I just find it to be enjoyable and user-friendly. Instagram allows the user’s creativity to shine, but also keeps everything uniform and to-the-point. Users can also employ hash tags on Instagram in a similar fashion to Twitter, making it easy to connect with friends and follow accounts that are relevant to you.

Another social media website that has become incredibly popular in a relatively short amount of time is Pinterest. Pinterest is described as an online pinboard, and allows users to gather images from the web and organize them on virtual bulletin boards. Topics range from things like weddings, crafts, do-it-yourself activities, recipes, fashion, technology, and photography, but there are very few restrictions on the types of things users can pin. Pinterest is a great way to organize things from all over the web. Pinterest is very popular among brides-to-be, who use Pinterest to gather images and inspiration for every aspect of their weddings: dresses, food, party planning, flowers, color schemes, and photography ideas, to name a few. Pinterest is also very useful for recipes and great for fashion inspiration. There is no limit to how many boards a user can create, and one can follow other users, or individual boards, which is what makes Pinterest inherently social. Pinterest is great for image sharing and allows a certain amount of creativity that other social media websites do not always allow.

I personally like to use Pinterest as an organizational tool. I really enjoy cooking, so my “Recipes” board on Pinterest is a place where I keep tabs on all sorts of recipes I’ve found all over the Internet. They are arranged artfully with nice pictures so it’s easy to scroll through and figure out what I want to make on any given night for dinner. I also like to organize pictures of clothing I like and different interior design pictures for inspiration. Pinterest is also a great place to find pictures of cute and peculiar things.

LinkedIn has become an important social networking tool as of late. As job searches have begun to take place almost entirely online, LinkedIn is the primary networking site for job seekers. LinkedIn allows you to post your résumé and describe your employment history, skills and experience in detail. It also allows you to connect with other users and add them to your network, and you can even apply for certain jobs directly through LinkedIn. While I would say I definitely use LinkedIn the least out of any social networking website, it is certainly changing the face of job searches and

In sum, there are many popular social media outlets that all bring users various options for connecting with others. The amount of social media accounts you need depends on how you plan to use them. Some people might be okay with having a basic Facebook account, and other people wish to dive into every social network they can find. Figure out what works best for your needs and discover which social networking sites will help you accomplish what you want. Facebook is best for staying in touch with friends and sharing personal photos. Twitter is best for learning and sharing information, particularly news and current events. Instagram is great for sharing artistic photos. Pinterest is best for being creative and sharing ideas and inspiration with one’s friends. LinkedIn helps users with their job searches and allows them to also connect to people they know. All of these social media platforms have changed the way people connect with one another online and in person, and it will be interesting to see what changes will arise as these social networks continue to evolve.