Every day new social networks are popping up across the digital landscape. It’s impossible to keep track of them all, but we will keep everyone up to date on the most popular social networks and what they bring to the table.
The list will start from the top, at least in a general sense. In essence, these social networks have the most users. That means the ones that make this list are considered must join for personal or professional uses.
Facebook set the gold standard for social networks. More importantly, most of the social networks that followed tried to copy Facebook. From the layout to the features, Facebook has been copied heavily.
- Ten years ago, the previous statement would make more sense from a user review perspective. The simplicity that was Facebook is gone now, and it’s full of advertisements. In that sense, the door is open for other social networks to do what Facebook did better.
- Despite all the ads, Facebook still has so many features that it’s still a valuable asset from a personal or business point of view.
Twitter is the premier microblogging platform of 2020. With a massive user base and broad influence in the media, Twitter still matters the most. The layout is still simple enough, so it hasn’t gone on the same downhill trajectory as Facebook.
- There is also a ton of ads on Twitter now. Plus, advertising on Twitter can be a real headache. Like the average Twitter user, you won’t be allowed to advertise whatever you want, all the while being bombarded with ads you never asked for.
- Like Facebook, there is still a lot of good content to be found on Twitter. Nevertheless, they both have some of the same problems too. They want to be taken seriously like publishers now. However, a lot of users want to watch funny videos or troll.
Photographers, makeup artists, and anyone or anything that looks good in high definition flock to Instagram. And rightfully so, high-definition images shine bright on the platform.
- Recently Instagram tried to make video reels more prominent by default. Some users were upset, and the content can be questionable. Instagram offers that type of freedom that has pluses and negatives.
Pinterest is the place for pictures and infographics. It is hugely popular for that reason. The site is also straightforward to use and has a non-invasive type of advertisement.
- Content on Pinterest is specifically tailored for each user. Meaning, you pretty much only see what you want to see. So it’s good for things like niche marketing, but what if you don’t fit nicely into any traditional niche?
- Nobody gets their “news” from Pinterest. Therefore it’s not really a trusted source like some of the other social networks on this list.
LinkedIn is not only the go-to spot for professionals and career types. But it’s also the place for professional brands. It’s also one of the few social networks where the design has actually improved over the years.
- With the ease of use, and simplicity LinkedIn might be one of the best on this list. However, its user base pales in comparison to the others on this list. It’s simply not that popular, and it feels a bit elitist.
Tiktok is the latest video sharing app and social network. It mostly appeals to the younger generation who have joined the service en masse. Tiktok gets high marks for ease of use and user interface.
- The main problem with Tiktok is everyone is expected to make content that essentially follows the same theme. I.e. someone dancing, singing, or cooking in highly edited soundtrack type clips.
- Tiktok is trying to monetize with advertisements, but their adherence to the specific TikTok formula seems non-inclusive from a business perspective.
Youtube is the single most important video-sharing service on the internet. The platform houses billions of hours of content, ranging from amazing to terrible.
- Any business that exists inside digital markets has to be on Youtube. It’s simply not a question. The service is very easy to use with an inclusive philosophy.
Twitch is the biggest streaming video platform in the world. The platform is loaded with content, and a lot of it is pretty good. The cream doesn’t always rise to the top, but users on twitch demand high quality.
- If you like being on camera Twitch offers a lot of opportunities. It’s also a perfect time to look into streaming on Twitch as it only gets more popular. There have been some scandals recently regarding Twitch and copyright infringement.
- Twitch is a really cool platform, but they try to own too much. They ban people at any random whim. More so than any other platform too.
Even more social networks
Another popular microblogging service has fallen by the wayside. It seems the downhill slide of Tumblr is related to people wanting a million different features.
- I don’t think most internet users want to create their own blog. Unless it means 180 characters. So yeah, somehow Twitter made the concept work. Tumblr can’t seem to get it right.
The most important message board of the internet is also a social network. It’s not a typical social network because of the anonymity, though. More importantly, it’s hard for me to imagine businesses doing that well there.
- The users are selective, to say the least. You will encounter the typical trolls and pseudo-experts. Ultimately those things keep it from being a replacement for Facebook or Twitter.
Quora is a question-and-answer platform. The layout is a bit more complex than what most social networking users are used to. There’s also a lot of low-quality questions and advertisements in odd places.
- From a business perspective, I don’t see that much value with Quora. It has some of the same flaws as Reddit. Like how are you going to walk into these platforms with your expert or specialized knowledge when everyone there is already an expert.
- Businesses are better off on Twitter and Facebook where nobody has to pretend to be smart. Maybe the message board style sites can be beneficial from a passive approach
Gab is a Twitter clone that’s trying to be different. It may have created a wave of similar freedom of speech sites when created years ago. The Qanon conspiracy theorists heavily favor the platform.
- I love a good conspiracy theory but Idk if that’s the crowd most people want to associate with. It appears like maybe Gab takes the free speech thing a little bit too far. I’m not saying the air quality is bad or anything, but it’s concerned for a social platform to be, so ring wing centered.
- Gab users think Trump won the election, which is fine. I appreciate that point of view; I just think they have a form of tunnel vision.
“Minds” is a neat-looking platform. You can even create groups and microblogs. However, a lot of content is locked behind a paywall. And to be frank, that content users have to pay for doesn’t look premium to me.
- It’s unclear who decides what premium content on minds is. Is it a user generator, or do they have an in house team? I only ask because if it’s user-generated, that seems like a sketchy proposition at best.
Another Facebook alternative. Parler has been hyped up recently due to all the exoduses from Twitter and Facebook. It’s marketed as a free-speech alternative. Moreover, the design is cool; I like the color palette and the ease of use.
- If you can navigate through all of the cam girl’s spam, Parler might be worth checking into.
If you are a business that sells or markets digital content, there is no reason not to have a page on Patreon. The company pages you can create there are pretty good compared to Facebook or LinkedIn pages.
- All in all, the verdict is still out on how effectively Patreon can be leveraged in the digital marketplace.
Mastodon is huge and looks promising from a design point of view. It looks like a bunch of different communities all mashed together. Unfortunately, it’s on the lower part of the list because I just found out about it.
- I’m still not sure what Mastadon is. Like, what’s the point beyond the obvious? In other social networks, that’s communicated much clearer.
We hoped you enjoyed reading this list of the most popular social networks and finding out about new and old social networks. Check back in the future as this list will be expanded on and updated frequently.