As a social media pro, you probably already use all the biggest social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and media sharing sites (Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat), along with maybe a handful of others like Pinterest and Google Plus.
But there’s much more to social media than the top social media and media sharing networks. Look beyond those social media juggernauts and you’ll see that people are using many different types of social media to connect online for all kinds of reasons.
In our quest to bring you the latest and best social media news from all corners of the internet, we’ve stumbled upon plenty of hyper-focused niche social networks for everything from jet setting and green living to knitting and all things manly. However, grouping social networks according to subject matter quickly gets overwhelming—and sometimes utterly distracting. (Plus, Wikipedia’s already done it for us.)
And while there was once a time when you could simply categorize networks according to their functional capabilities (Twitter for short text content, YouTube for video, and so on), that time has passed. As more networks add rich features like livestreaming and augmented reality, the lines between their feature sets continue to blur and change faster than most people have time to read up on the changes.
So instead of categorizing networks according to hyper-specific user interests or shifting technology features, we prefer to think like marketers and group networks into 10 general categories that focus on what people hope to accomplish by using them.
Here’s our list of 10 types of social media and what they’re used for:
- Social networks—Connect with people
- Media sharing networks—Share photos, videos, and other media
- Discussion forums—Share news and ideas
- Bookmarking and content curation networks—Discover, save, and share new content
- Consumer review networks—Find and review businesses
- Blogging and publishing networks—Publish content online
- Interest-based networks—Share interests and hobbies
- Social shopping networks—Shop online
- Sharing economy networks—Trade goods and services
- Anonymous social networks—Communicate anonymously