An overview of social media platforms


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An overview of social media platforms

A smartphone showing several social media app icons on the home screen.

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Now that you have an understanding of what social media is, this activity will provide an overview of some of the most widely-used social media platforms. You will learn about what each platform does and how they are different to one another.

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The Facebook logo.


By far the most popular and widely-used social media platform in Australia and globally, Facebook is often the first platform that comes to mind when talking about social media.

Facebook's users primarily use this platform to share photos, thoughts, content and private messages with other users.

Facebook users connect to one another by becoming Friends via a Friend Request that is sent from one user to another. Users only become friends once the Friend Request has been accepted.

Anything you post on your Facebook page, known as your News Feed, can be seen by your Friends. They also have the ability to Share your posts with their Friends, and Like or Comment on what you have posted.

Facebook users can connect to each other by becoming 'friends' on the social media platform.
Julie has an Instagram account and her profile page shows how many people she's following and how many people are following her.


Instagram is a photo- and video-sharing platform that runs on mobile devices only. Instagram allows its users to share these content types with people who Follow them. Instagram users can Follow other users by tapping the Follow button on that user's Instagram account.

Instagram accounts can be set to either Public or Private. A private account means that you can approve or decline Follow requests, and also allows you to block the general public from viewing your photos. Photos and videos posted to a public account can be viewed by all other Instagram users.

Julie has set her Instagram profile to 'private' so only approved friends can see her posts.
The Twitter logo with the little blue bird icon.


Twitter is a social platform where its users can interact with one another via short messages, known as Tweets. User can share photos and videos with their followers, and they can Like, Comment on and re-tweet posts from other users.

Twitter is a useful resource if you are someone who likes to receive news alerts as events are unfolding. All reputable news sources, such as the ABC, have Twitter accounts, and tweet regularly to provide their followers with instant information as soon as news stories break.

You can keep up to the second with news reports on Twitter.
The YouTube logo.


YouTube is the world's second most popular social media platform, and is owned by the tech-giant Google. The YouTube platform allows its users to upload video that can be shared with anyone around the world with access to the internet.

Unlike other social media platforms, YouTube doesn't require you to create an account to view content on its platform.

YouTube contains videos on just about any subject matter you can think of. Production houses (e.g. BBC), businesses (e.g. National Geographic) and individual users set up what are known as ‘channels', and these channels list all of the videos posted to YouTube by that user.

For instance, the National Geographic channel lists a range of documentaries from 'Tornados' to 'Exploring the Amazon', that are free to watch.

YouTube has videos on almost any subject under the sun, some are amateur videos and others are produced by professional tv companies, businesses and academics.
The Pinterest logo.


Pinterest is a social media platform that is designed for its users to share photos and design ideas. The platform has a seemingly endless number of categories that you can search, from modern architecture to recipes and travel, Pinterest has something for everyone.

Pinterest allows its users to save photos that you move across to your own collections, known as boards. This is a great way to compile a list of your favourite recipes, collect photos on your favourite travel destinations or get inspiration for your garden.

With Pinterest, members 'pin' interesting articles onto their profile 'board' to build up a collection of their interests.
You can connect to friends from anywhere in the world using social media.

Well done!

You have completed the activity - An overview of social media platforms.

You should now be able to identify what each of the major social media platforms does, and how you can use them to connect with others and share content with likeminded people.

The next activity, Key safety tips for using social media, will outline some essential safety points that you can follow to keep you and your information safe when using social media.