(WFLX) - According to the Merrium-Webster Dictionary, social media can be defined as "forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content -- such as images and videos".
Within the last decade, social media platforms have completely taken over and forced their way into more than a few of our lives. Lately, it's been hard to keep track of all the different forms of social networking out there and how they can be useful.
Incredibly, these are just a few of the sites the social networking has available. Some of the below are on the decline while others on the rise, but they all have something to offer.
Users: 50 million as of June 2013
What it is: Share photos and messages with friends (and family on your page). Also has a strong emphasis on music. This is what most sets it apart from Facebook, well that, and the fact Facebook is still relevant.
Pros: A lot of musical artists were discovered on Myspace, like Ingrid Michaelson, Soulja Boy, Adele, Colbie Callait and Sean Kingston. Justin Timberlake is one of the owners *swoons*. This probably spawned the craze that is now social media.
Cons: Facebook and Youtube can pretty much do everything that MySpace can, and they're better at it.
Users: 1.28 billion as of March 2014
What it is: Users can create profiles with photos, interests and other personal info.
Fun fact: "The Social Network", which Justin Timberlake ironically was in, is about Facebook and its creators.
Pros: Easy way to get back in touch with old friends/distant family. Easy way for companies to receive exposure. Organizations can create "groups" as a more effective way to relay information.
Cons: None really for those over 25. For those younger than 25, your friends with your family…
Users: 47.49 million as of June 2013
What it is: Social networking for writers/bloggers. Post pictures, videos and posts.
Pros: The site is very customizable.
Cons: Past its prime.
Users: Over 1 billion users visit per month
What it is: Not sure if this can really be considered social media, but if it is then it's the most successful SM site by far. Users upload videos and viewers can comment, that's pretty much all there is to it!
Cool stuff/Pros: Again lots of artists were discovered via Youtube. You can spend hours watching viral videos, tutorials, etc.
Cons: You can spend HOURS on the site. Justin. Bieber.
Users: 255 million
What it is: "Tweet" out messages that are 140-characters or less.
Pros: Easy way to stay connected to your favorite celebrities or get updates about the latest in sports, news, etc. For people who like to talk... a lot. Hashtags!
Cons: Fake accounts
Users: 150 million as of September 2013
What it is: Users post pictures which "filters" can be applied to. Able to follow other users and vice versa
Cool stuff/Pros: Probably the hottest social media app in the states right now. No such thing as a bad picture when you have filters!
Cons: Studies show that the use of photo sharing sites like this one may result in lowered self esteem and feelings of loneliness due to others' pictures making the viewer feel as if they're missing out.
Users: Estimated 26 million as of October 2013
What it is: Users can take photos and videos with text and drawings. They then send them to a selected person or group of people in the form of "snaps". You can set how long you want the recipient(s) to see your snap and are notified if they screenshot it or replay it.
Pros: Filters. Take as many ugly photos as you want, they'll only exist for up to 10 seconds!
Cons: Friends can screenshot those ugly photos…and there's the possibility of sexting.
Users: 40 million
What it is: Users can record and edit videos that are up to 6-seconds long and then can be posted on Twitter and Facebook.
Pros: Again with the viral videos
Cons: Videos are only 6 seconds long. Instagram and Snapchat provide users with the option to send/post videos as well that can be 6 seconds or longer if they please.
Users: Estimated 10 million as of April 2014
What it is: Matchmaking app! Connects with your Facebook for photos and info (such as mutual friends). Whatever gender you're interested in within the radius that you set will show up on the screen. If you want to talk to the person swipe right if you don't swipe left. If you both swipe right then you'll be able to message each other and go from there.
Pros: This can be a fun way to meet people in your area.
Cons: Trolls are all over the place.
Users: 112 million as of April 2014
What it is: Users can anonymously ask other users questions
Pros: Get the inside info on your crush without even breaking a sweat ;)
Cons: Anonymous forums always provide a safe haven for cyber bullies.
Users: Estimated 70 million as of July 2013
What it is: Described as a "visual discovery tool". Users can upload, save, sort, and manage images, or "pins" and other media content like videos through collections known as pinboards. Just "pin" pictures of anything that you like including clothes, food, home decor, etc. and others can repin it if they like it.
Pros: Possibly the ultimate way, via social media, to foster creativity.
Cons: Doesn't encourage conversation between users as much as some of the other sites do.
Users: 359 million as of May 2013
What it is: Users can create an account which includes a profile pic, background info, interests, etc. Users can create "circles" of people to share info with. Users then see updates from their circles in their stream which can be modified to only show info from certain circles.
Pros: Not only a social networking site. Can be used in professional settings.
Cons: Google created this in hopes of rivaling Facebook. Uhh, no.
Users: 300 million as of April 2014
What it is: Business oriented social networking site. Users create professional profiles and invite others to become "connections".
Pros: Employers can list jobs and may include an "Apply with LinkedIn" button on job listing pages. Users can follow different companies and see who has visited their profile.
Cons: Might require some time initially to setup a profile but the maintenance shouldn't be too time consuming.