The world’s most popular social networking sites certainly have changed over the years, and they’ll undoubtedly continue to change as time moves forward. Old social networks will die, popular ones will stick around as they’re forced to evolve, and brand new ones will appear.
We’ve moved on from the days of MySpace to a social media era now dominated by Facebook and all sorts of other social mobile apps. A lot of kids even admit to using Snapchat the most, suggesting that it could be the future of where social networking is headed.
So, what’s everyone using right now? Have a look through the updated roundup of social networks below to see which ones are currently the trendiest.
Most of us already know that Facebook is the top social network on the web. It’s a thriving beast of a social networking site on the web with over 1.59 billions monthly active users as of December 2015 and over one billion that log on daily (according toFacebook itself). Statista shows that Facebook Messenger is also the second most popular messaging app behind WhatsApp. After failing to acquire Snapchat in 2013, Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 so that it could be the one that was one top of instant messaging.
Twitter is known as the real-time, public microblogging network where news breaks first. Most users loved it for its iconic 140-character limit and unfiltered feed that showed them absolutely everything. Twitter has changed dramatically over the years, and today it’s criticized a lot for going the way of looking and functioning almost exactly like Facebook. Besides Twitter Card integration, which now makes it easy to share all sorts of multimedia content in tweets, you can expect to see algorithmic timelines coming to Twitter soon as well.
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. Anyone who needs to make connections to advance their careers should be on LinkedIn. Profiles are designed to look sort of like extremely detailed resumes, with sections for work experience, education, volunteer work, certifications, awards and all sorts of other relevant work-related information. Users can promote themselves and their businesses by making connections with other professionals, interacting in group discussions, posting job ads, applying to jobs, publishing articles to LinkedIn pulse and so much more.
Making its debut in the early summer of 2011, Google+ became the fastest growing social network the web has ever seen. After failing a couple times already with Google Buzz and Google Wave, the search giant finally succeeded at creating something that stuck… kind of. Nobody really needed another Facebook clone, so Google+ had always been widely criticized for being a social network that nobody really used. In late 2015, a brand new Google+ was rolled out to put more emphasis on its Communities and Collections features to help differentiate the platform a bit more and give existing users more of what they wanted.
Where does everyone go to watch or share video content online? It’s obviously YouTube. After Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine. Despite being owned by Google, YouTube can still be recognized as a separate social network all on its own as the premiere place online to go to watch videos on every topic under the sun and upload your own as well. From music videos and movies, to personal vlogs and independent films, YouTube has it all. YouTube recently launched a premium subscription option, called YouTube Red, which removes all advertisements from videos.
Instagram has grown to be one of the most popular social networks for photo sharing that the mobile web has ever seen. It’s the ultimate social network for sharing real-time photos and short videos while on the go. Now it’s even a leading advertising platform for brands too. The app had initially just been available for the iOS platform for quite some time as it grew in popularity, but has since expanded to Android and, Windows Phone also the web. Instagram was bought for a hefty $1 billion by Facebook in 2012.
Pinterest has become a major player both in social networking and in the search world, proving just how important visual content has become on the web. As the fastest standalone site ever to reach 10 million monthly unique visits, Pinterest’s beautiful and intuitive pinboard-style platform is one of the most enticing and useful resource for collecting the best images that can be categorized into separate boards. Pinterest is also growing to become a huge influencer in social shopping, now featuring “Buy” buttons right on pins of products sold by some retailers.
Tumblr is an extremely popular social blogging platform that’s heavily used by teens and young adults. Like Pinterest, it’s best known for sharing visual content. Users can customize their blog theme, create blog posts in all sorts of different types of content formats, follow other users to see content in their dashboard feed and be followed back. Reblogging and liking posts is a popular way to interact. If you post great content, you could end up with thousands of reblogs and likes depending on how far it gets pushed out into the Tumblr community.
Vine is a mobile video sharing app owned by Twitter, and boy is it ever entertaining! If you don’t have the attention span to watch a full YouTube video, then you’ll love Vine. One of the most convenient things about Vine is that its videos can be directly embedded inline on Twitter when shared through a tweet. They can also be embedded on a website. Videos play on autoloop and are limited to a maximum of six seconds, but that doesn’t stop it from being such a powerful social network. Several Vine stars have mastered the art of creating entertaining Vine videos, and many prefer it over Instagram video.
Snapchat is a social networking app that thrives on instant messaging and is totally mobile-based. It’s one of the fastest growing apps out there, building its popularity on the idea of self-destructing “snaps.” You can send a photo or short video as a message (a snap) to a friend, which automatically disappears a few seconds after they’ve viewed it. Kids love this app because it takes the pressure off of having to share something with everyone like they would on traditional social networks. If you’re unfamiliar, check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to use Snapchat. Snapchat also has a unique feature called Stories, which allows users to share snaps publicly when they want.
Reddit has never really had the nicest design, but don’t let that fool you–it’s a happening place on the web. It has a very strong and smart community of people who come together to talk about the topics they love while sharing links, photos and videos relevant to the subreddit topic thread where they’re participating. Reddit AMAs are another cool feature, which allow users to ask questions to celebs and other public figures who agree to host one. Reddit works by displaying submitted links that get voted up or down by users. The ones that receive the most upvotes will get pushed to the first page of their subreddits.
Flickr is Yahoo’s popular photo-sharing network, which existed long before other popular competing networks like Pinterest and Instagram entered the social photo sharing game. It’s still one of the best places to upload photos, create albums and show off your photography skills to your friends. Yahoo has also worked hard at regularly updating its mobile apps with lots of great features and functions so that it’s easy and enjoyable to use from a mobile device. Users can upload 1,000 GB worth of photos for free to Flickr and use the powerful app to organize and edit them however they like.
Foursquare has broken up its location-based app into two parts. While its main Foursquare app is now meant to be used as a location discovery tool, its Swarm appis all about being social. You can use it to see where your friends are, let them know where you are by checking in, and chat or plan to meet up at a specific location sometime later. Since launching Swarm, Foursquare has introduced some new features that turn interaction into games so that users have the opportunity to earn prizes.
Kik is a free instant messaging app that’s very popular with teens and young adults. Users can chat with each other one-on-one or in groups by using Kik usernames (instead of phone numbers). In addition to text-based messages, users can also send photos, animated GIFs and videos to their friends. Although it’s most useful for chatting with people you already know, Kik also gives users the opportunity to meet and chat with new people based on similar interests. And similar to Snapchat snapcodes, Kik users can easily scan other users’ Kik codes to add them easily.
Yik Yak is another social network that’s big with the younger crowd. It’s a location-based anonymous social sharing app that allows users to read short updates posted from people around their area. As you might imagine, it’s very popular around high schools and on school campuses–so much so that it’s gotten some kids into serious trouble in some cases. Because it’s all anonymous, there’s no friend adding with Yik Yak. All users make anonymous posts and then other users can upvote or downvote your post and reply anonymously.
Shots is another photo and video sharing social network that young kids love to use. The social network is largely centered around taking selfies, but users can also take VHS-style videos and one-on-one chatting. Many users have praised the app for being one of the only apps that doesn’t include likes and comments on posts, which helps take the pressure off of users who get anxious about how their posts are received by friends and followers. It’s sort of like a simplified version of Instagram.
Periscope is all about live web video broadcasting from your mobile device. It’s a Twitter-owned app that’s had its fair share of rivalry against another competing broadcasting app called Meerkat. Anyone who starts a new broadcast can send instant notifications to people so they can tune in to start interacting by leaving comments and hearts. Broadcasters have the option to allow replays for users who missed out, and they can also host private broadcasts for specific users. Anyone who just wants to watch something can open up the app and browse through all sorts of broadcasts that are currently being hosted live.
Medium is perhaps the best social network for readers and writers. It’s sort of like a blogging platform similar to Tumblr, but features a very minimal look to keep the emphasis on content that’s shared there. Users can publish their own stories and format them just the way they want with photos, videos and GIFs to support their storytelling. All content is driven by the community of users who recommend stories they like, which show up in the feeds of users who follow them. Users can also follow individual tags as a way to subscribe to content focused on topics of interest.
SoundCloud is the world’s most popular social network for sharing sounds. Most users share music they’ve made or podcasts they’ve recorded. In fact, if you’re looking for a new free music app, SoundCloud should be one to try out. While you won’t exactly get to listen to all the popular songs you hear on the radio or can listen to on Spotify, you’ll get to discover lots of covers and remixes that are often better than their original versions. Even so, many well known popular artists use the platform, so you can follow your favorites to listen to what they’ve decided to promote on SoundCloud. You can also discover what’s trending, browse by genre and create your own playlists with tracks that you love.
Tinder is a popular location-based dating app that matches you up with people in your area. Users can set up a brief profile that mainly highlights their photo, and then anyone who’s matched up to them can anonymously swipe right to like their profile or left to pass on it as a match. If some who liked a profile likes theirs back, then it’s a match, and the two users can start chatting privately with each other through the app. Tinder is completely free, but there are premium features that allow users to connect with people in other locations, undo certain swipes and get more “Super Likes” to let another user know they’re extra special.
Currently the most popular instant messaging provider worldwide, WhatsApp is a cross-platform app that uses your internet connection or data plan to send and receive messages. Users can send messages to individuals or groups using text, photos, videos and even voice messages. Unlike Kik and other popular messaging apps, WhatsApp uses your phone number rather than usernames or pins (despite being an alternative to SMS). Users can allow WhatsApp to connect to their phone’s address book so that their contacts can be seamlessly transferred to the app. The app also offers a few customizable features like profiles, wallpapers and notification sounds.
Slack is a popular communication platform for teams that need to collaborate closely with one another. It’s basically a social network for the workplace. Team members can take advantage of real-time messaging, integration with other popular services like Dropbox and Trello, deep search for files and other information, configurable notifications and so much more. It’s meant to keep everyone in the loop about what’s going on at work or with a particular collaborative project and is super helpful for teams that include members working from different locations.
Musical.ly is a social networking app for sharing short music videos. The app shares a lot of similarities with Instagram and Vine, allowing users to record short videos, edit them, post them to their profiles, follow other users and see what’s trending. The idea is to select a music track either from the built-in music tab or from your own iTunes library to record yourself dancing and lip syncing to it. The more creative you can get with your own personal lip syncing stile and editing skills, the more likely you’ll see it trend on the platform. There’s also a duet feature that allows two users to both of their own videos that used the same music track into one video.
Peach only debuted in early 2016, so it’s unclear whether this app is really going to catch on or not. It certainly made a ripple in the news when it launched, but with so many other social networks out there already, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this one struggle to make its mark. Peach gives users a very simple way to share posts with friends using photos, looping videos, text-based messages, links, GIFs, the weather, your location and more. There are also other little fun features for users to enjoy, like playing a game of “Peachball” or drawing doodles. Time will only tell whether this will be one to gain any traction among the bigger social networks.
Similar to Periscope, Blab is another live streaming social network where users can enjoy watching interviews, talk shows, debates, workshops and more. The platform is currently in beta, but it’s already growing to become a major player in the world of web broadcasting and streaming. One interesting feature Blab has that Periscope doesn’t is the ability to launch a live broadcast with up to four people talking all at once in a split screen. Viewers can also interact by leaving comments or stream something to watch later by tuning in to the replay.