What social media has to offer

Millions of people use social media practically daily. Almost everyone that I know does. Heck even I do. 

We all probably use social media for a different reason, and there can be some controversy around it: that it skews our view of others in society, thus creating self-esteem issues, etc., but it has so many good uses too. 

It helps us keep in touch with friends and family, keep up with our favorite public figures, network for jobs, businesses use it to reach a larger audience. That’s just a handful of the healthier ways to use social media. 

There are a variety of reasons to use social media, and an array of different platforms to engage with. 

All social aspects aside, such as censorship for not safe for work (NSFW) content or graphic images, let’s discuss what social platforms will allow you to post and how that works best for what you want to share. 

In my case, I love photography, and social media’s allowances impact me when I want to share my photos. 

There’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. They have similar features, but depending on what content you post, one could be more tailored to your desires.

Facebook practically lets you post whatever you want, from written text to multimedia – photos and videos, and GIFS. 

Because there is no minimum or maximum, this makes Facebook a good platform for longer, important posts, like updates on things like family events and/or political opinions.

It lets users write in-depth about their topic and lets them share visual elements. As a photographer, I can post a thread with multiple photos and write a caption with no limit. 

Facebook has some unique features too, such as Marketplace and Events. 

Marketplace is a feature where you can post items for sale. It lets you get in touch with a seller to ask about the product for sale and decide how to obtain that product. 

This includes discussing the product, its condition, price, and if the buyer will pick it up from the seller. 

Scheduling events includes setting a time, location and summary of the event. It lets users respond with 3 options: Going, interested, or can’t go. This lets the event’s creator know who will be able to attend. 

I use this feature all the time, especially regarding events I photograph for The Chart. If I mark myself interested in an event, Facebook will remind me around a day in advance, letting me prepare to attend.

Secondly, there’s Instagram. Unlike Facebook, it has posting restrictions. Instagram posts must include a visual competent – either video or photo. 

There can be up to 10 images and/or videos included in a single post, but they must all be cropped either square, horizontally or vertically. Then you can write a caption for your posts, but you can’t post just text.

When you post to Instagram, you can also link to your Facebook and Twitter, and share posts to those platforms when you initially post on Instagram. 

I post to Instagram the most. Since I shoot a lot of artistic photos, I post a lot of photo series.

A fun feature Instagram has incorporated is stories. Stories only last 24 hours, but you can take or select a photo/video and then add additional content to the post, such as music from Spotify, voting polls, short quizzes, anonymous responses, and timers that countdown to a selected date. 

I like to use these when posting before and after shots. I’ll also do quizzes like “how many photos did I take during this shoot?” or things along that line. 

These features let your viewers interact with your post. Users can also use text, search through stickers, emojis, or GIFs to their story to add visual elements to their story. 

This allows you to use and share your own creativity in a different way than many other social media platforms do.

Next up is Twitter. This platform allows you to post text and/or multimedia content, however, its writing feature is limited. It was originally 140 characters but was changed to 280 in 2017. 

There is also a limit on how many images and/or videos a post can contain. A tweet can only have four multimedia components per post. So although Twitter lets your write and/or multimedia content, it has a strict limiting factor for both. 

I rarely post photos to Twitter, but use it to retweet things I find funny or important. 

Twitter’s minimal format is good if you are into posting short witty quips, or stories and visual components.

When telling a story, you can create tweet threads, replying with additional comments underneath the beginning of the original tweet. 

This could be cumbersome to write but it allows your readers to read the content in shorter bursts. 

The last is Snapchat. Similar to Instagram, Snapchat has a multimedia component requirement. You have to post either a photo or video to share to Snapchat. 

You can either post to your story or send snaps to other users personally. The catch with Snapchat is that all its posts are temporary. 

Snaps last a maximum of 10 seconds or whenever the recipient clicks past it. Stories only last 24 hours, and only remain if you save them to your memories. 

Similarly to Instagram stories, Snapchat has a variety of filters, stickers and GIFs to include. Many of Snapchat’s filters are user-based and add something to the people who are in-frame – like the dog-ear filter, but it also has some visual filters like black and white, etc. But Snapchat doesn’t let you add music elements, polls, or link to another Snapchat post. 

After looking at each of these media platforms, we can now speculate what will work best for certain users.