The multiplicity of social media is more easily perceived through different classifications.
The classification can be based on the sense of community, content or linkage to time or place. Social media is after all a field, which is in a state of constant change. New software platforms, services and applications are continuously being developed, old ones are being transformed or replaced by new competing options.
Even though classifications are often simplified and overlapping, social media can, for example, be divided into different categories based on the ways it is used:
A service is called a social network when the users have the chance to reach other people through it, to network and form different groups and to share content with other users or groups of users. Users can be related through kinship, friendship, hobbies, work or, for example, through a religious or political conviction. Shared content may incorporate sound, text, images, videos, links, different files or the combination of all of these. Users have the chance to interact with each other, to form groups with one another, to publish content and to share it further and comment on it. Services like this include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.
Some social networks have been born of regional needs. In China, a popular service like this is called Douban, in South-Korea Cyworld, in Japan Mixi, and so on.
2. Instant messaging services
Instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Signal, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and WeChat are among the most popular social networking platforms between users, and have become a very serious challenge to cellular operators worldwide due to the free use of these applications and platforms.
With these services the user can save and organise any links leading to online services or pages. Links and link collections can be organised through different index words or classes. The user can share their link collections with others. StumbleUpon is one of the most popular bookmark services.
4. Social news sites.
With the help of these services, users send, read and share links to actual news sites, which contain the news and articles. Users of the service vote either for or against a news article. News will be displayed on the page after this based on how popular it is. Reddit is an example of this kind of service.
5. Media sharing services.
With these services, users can share media content with each other. Media can be images, sound or video, for example. As in the case of social networks, these services often provide the chance to create an individualised user profile, under which the user compiles the content to be shared. Other users can rate and comment on shared content. Services like this include Vimeo, YouTube, TikTok and Flickr.
Forums give users the chance to discuss a certain topic with one another within the website. Content mainly consists of text, but a forum can in principle include anything: images, sound, links and so on. Very often content sent to a forum is overseen by an administrator. Supervision often concentrates mainly on the filtering of offensive or unlawful content.
7. Blogs and vlogs.
The most common definition for a blog is an online diary that can be kept by one or more writers. Thus, blogs often consist of blog entries published in chronological order. These entries feature topics that are either linked closely to the writer’s life or attract her/his interest. They can cover pretty much anything from fashion to health issues and from pets to foreign politics. A blog can feature text and/or images, videos or for instance, solely cartoons. A blog in the video format is called a vlog.
In fact, there are such an unlimited number of themes and styles of writing in blogosphere, that it is becoming increasingly difficult to define the term. A blog has pretty much become a generic term describing pretty much any type of user-generated publishing. Some blogs cover the news in more depth and even more reliably than many professional news desks. Blogs have offered people a chance slowly and analytically to write about topics that are no longer covered in the traditional media. Popular bloggers who cover topics in narrow, specialised fields can attract readers from all over the world.
Blogs are also written for marketing purposes by companies or influencers. The success of some bloggers has raised questions about their responsibility and financial transparency. Famous bloggers might receive notable financial benefits in the form of gifts or even direct payment in exchange for the coverage they offer a manufacturer. In principle, the ethical standards of journalism do not bind the bloggers in the same way as traditional journalists. Unlike in journalism where marketing is totally forbidden, bloggers are not always expected to be independent or impartial.
8. Micro blogging services.
A micro blog is exactly what the name implies. Through a service like this, users publish short textual content, which can also include links to other content on the internet. The content is published, on the user’s “wall” or “feed”, which other users can view. Users can subscribe to content published on another user’s wall. These are especially used in political debates and the entertainment industry in the form of a second screen, for example with a sports or entertainment television broadcast and for event communications. The most popular micro blog platform is Twitter.