What Your Favorite Social Media Platform Says About You
In 2022, there are so many ways to express yourself digitally. The era of social media has transformed what it means to communicate with others. While various social media platforms have replicated features from each other to increase their use and engagement, there are still behavioral differences between them, and many people have accounts on all of these platforms for different needs and uses. In this post, I’m going to determine what your social media platform preferences say about you, your personality, and specifically - your social media habits.
Why Share on Social Media?
Let’s start with the psychology behind why we use social media as an outlet to show others what we’re doing or how we’re being creative. Shutterstock breaks down 5 reasons why people share on social media. A New York Times survey found that 68% of people post on social media to give people a better understanding of who they are and what they care about. One way people use social media is to convey their identity, and according to psychologist Carl Rogers, we can distinguish a “real self” (who we are) vs. an “ideal self” (who we aspire to be) based on what we show people. Social media can represent our “ideal selves.”
A Statistica study found that the leading reason why people posted on social media was to maintain relationships between friends and family. Small businesses and brands share on social media as advertisement, an outlet to spread the word about a product or service and to generate more engagement or sales through social media. Social Media can also be used to create a sense of belonging, as communities can be formed through following similar accounts, celebrities, brands, or content creators. Lastly, people use social media to keep up with good content, from motivational quotes to news sources, the information on social media we receive can serve several purposes.
Instagram can be viewed as the powerhouse of Generation Z social media. Founded in 2010, it is conducive to all sorts of content creation. Whether it’s graphic design infographics, photography, videography, or a reel with text, the Instagram feed allows for various types of content to exist in one space. If Instagram is your go-to platform, You are a very social, exploratory person. You like to share what you're up to with your friends, and you want to see what they're up to just as much, too. But you like to express yourself in many different ways and formats.
You can use Instagram stories to post highlight photos from a recent trip, Reels to post a recap video, or Instagram posts for a photo dump. You can add graphics to any Instagram story, create a cover slide in Canva for your reels, or design your posts with stickers, gifs, and so much more to decorate your content. To you, there are never too many ways to express yourself or share your social media experiences. A day in your life can be blasted to Instagram in multiple different ways.
Instagram is also a huge community for small businesses and influencers. If one of these are you, you’re in the right place. With Instagram’s ability to attach locations to posts and relevant hashtags, businesses can reach the proper audiences through Instagram. Instagram is also a place to go wild with your text. Long paragraph captions are very conducive to the platform. If you are a deep, contemplative thinker, you like to share your thoughts, and you’re a digital storyteller, Instagram is the platform for you.
Pinterest was launched in 2010, and its founder, Ben Silbermann, created the platform as a “visual discovery tool”. There is no doubt, Pinterest is THE place for the visionaries and the organizers. Users can plan out all of life’s adventures and their personal aesthetic through Pinterest boards. Boards can inspire other users to create similar boards, and with collaborative boards, users can share their inspiration with others in a strictly visual format. Pinterest is for the people who like to communicate through pictures and videos.
It is also a place where graphics can thrive. Eye-catching graphics filled with food recipes, life hacks, and other tutorials can be found across the platform. If you’re looking for sources of inspiration to create your own inspirational content, if you crave those sunset photos and that “romanticize your life” aesthetic through pictures, travel, food, fashion and more, you definitely keep Pinterest “pinned” on your list of social media platforms.
Snapchat is a more spur-of-the-moment platform. You like sharing natural photos of what you’re doing in a fun way: quickly and efficiently. It’s your way of enjoying the moment and not wanting social media to take away from it. Still, you do want to give your friends a status update with a quick photo and an artsy location or “geotag.” Many people, particularly generation Z, use Snapchat to share funny videos or photos of moments with your friends.
Snapchat has largely maintained a generation Z group of users because of its “selfie” nature, something older generations never grew up with. Snapchat is the true pioneer of “stories” and “chats.” Snapchat stories only last 24 hours to demonstrate the timeliness of what you’re doing and when. People also use private stories to share with a smaller, more personal audience of closer friends. If Snapchat is your go-to way to share to social media, then you are a very personal person and you love authenticity and goofiness.
PEW Research Center found that Twitter has increased people’s knowledge of current events, celebrities and public figures, how politically engaged they feel, but also how stressed they are. Founded in 2006, Twitter has become the place where celebrities make major statements, sports and news outlets such as E! News are linking new website stories and including key images and videos, and politicians are making major opinionated statements. The platform allows users to reply to tweets however they choose and start a “thread” or conversation underneath a tweet.
Twitter is much more word-based than image-based, only allowing 4 photos per tweet, but also limiting each tweet to 280 characters. In this way, Twitter encourages more on-the-spot sharing, story-telling, random thoughts and relatable jokes. People share a lot of Gifs on Twitter replying to funny content, and Twitter is where the casual, relatable tone of businesses and celebrities runs free. If you’re a person that is quick on your feet with thoughts, memes, and funny stories,Twitter is the place for you to post a thought and get some laughs. If you also like engaging in conversations and reactions to celebrity, sports, and news-related gossip, Twitter is your way to interact with posts in a straightforward way.
TikTok is the newbie of these platforms, as it formed after the combination of multiple apps (one being Musical.ly) officially in 2018. I like to think of TikTok as the video-version of Twitter: creative, quick, and humorous. If TikTok is your favorite platform, making videos is your creative outlet, or watching videos is your form of relaxation and unwinding. TikTok skyrocketed over the COVID-19 pandemic because it provided everyone with a creative way to share how they were spending their time at home. From cooking tutorials, to funny skits filmed indoors, to trending sounds and dances, TikTok is a silly way to express your world. With advanced video effects being added, it is a great story-telling tool, where you can overlay photos and effects to convey a story in your content.
Over time, TikTok has also become more educational, teaching viewers about any and all topics that TikTok creators are interested in: fitness, recipes, financial tips, and even companies selling their products. If you consider yourself a visual learner, TikTok is for you–and YOU can create your own visual learning, too. If you have a short attention span for funny content, TikTok is the place for you. While the app does allow for longer-form videos where users can share longer stories or story times, many of the trending sound bites and memes are short and to-the-point, capturing audience attention within seconds. These still prove to be the videos that get the most engagement and go viral.