Six Types of Social Media

The world of social media is an ever-evolving beast, so it helps to get an update on the current state of affairs from time to time. Here are the six primary categories of social media as of 2020, each with their own unique characteristics and marketing strengths.

Social Networks

When most people think of social media, they tend to imagine social networking sites. A social networking site is a platform that allows people from similar backgrounds or with similar interests to connect online. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the top three social network platforms for the time being, though 2020 may be a pivotal year for several new contenders in the market. 

Social News

Social news sites are aggregators that allow users to post news links to external sites, on which other users can then vote submissions up or down in a way that affects their overall exposure. In practice, this means that links with the highest number of votes are the most prominently displayed.

Reddit is an excellent example of a social news platform that has weathered the ages. Members of the reddit platform submit content like links, text posts or images, organised into separate, user-created boards called “subreddits.” As of 2019, the site ranked as the fifth most visited website in the US.


Microblogging platforms are sites that allow users to post short written entries, which can include links to product and service sites, or links to other social media platforms. Microblogging sites typically build a “wall” or “newsfeed” to allow for specific sharing with followers.

The most well-known microblogging platform is Twitter, with more than 321 million monthly active users. The first tweet was sent in March 2006, when co-founder Jack Dorsey posted “just setting up my twttr.”

Bookmarking Sites

Bookmarking sites are used to save and organize links from the internet’s plethora of online resources and websites. These sites typically allow users to “tag” or categorize these links, making it easier to share with specific groups of followers.

Pinterest is a great example of a hugely successful bookmarking site, with more than 300 million active monthly users, though Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann has described the site as more of a “catalogue of ideas” than a social network.

Media Sharing

Media sharing platforms allow users to share a range of media online; in practice, images and video dominate these sites. YouTube has been one of the world’s most well-known media sharing platforms since its launch in 2005. In 2019, more than 500 hours of video content were being uploaded to the platform every minute.

Community Blogs

Oftentimes, sharing a core message online without maintaining a self-hosted website or outlet is more than enough for a brand. This is where community blogging platforms can provide an essential service, and help communicators reach audiences with minimal fuss.

Some examples of community blogs include Medium, a relatively new online publishing platform dedicated to so-called “social journalism,” and Tumblr, a microblogging platform designed for the sharing of multimedia and short-form blogging.

As with all things in the digital marketing market, the realm of social media shifts and changes by the day. This list may look completely different a year from now.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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