Ranking social: My top 5 social networking sites & why I love them

I’m a social media addict.

In my defense, as a digital marketer I work in social media, and have a genuine requirement to utilise a plethora of popular social networking sites on a daily, if not hourly, basis. But off the clock, I’m still a big fan and avid user of social media and see so much positivity in what these platforms bring to the table – socially and professionally.

I’m definitely passionate about all things social media. But which networking site’s the best?

Agency ‘Social Media’ (oh so aptly named) has reported some super interesting social networking site usage results from 2017 here.

Facebook’s come out on top in terms of UK users, followed by YouTube – which made me wonder why I’m not embracing YouTube myself! I’m rarely found on the site; perhaps only when friends send me links to cat videos or Little Mix single releases…

I’m delving into my social media passion once and for all. And this is purely on a personal level. Maybe I’ll explore my social media marketing habits on another blog post, but for now, I’m celebrating what social networking sites bring to my personal, Bristol-based, prosecco-drinking, flute-playing, cat-admiring life.

Here are my top 5 social networking sites and why, counting down from…

5- Snapchat (@bethanyyymayy) 

Social networking site Snapchat on a mobile

“Snapchat is about communicating with friends and family, living in the moment, learning about the world and having fun together.”

In fifth place is the big yellow, ghost welcoming site. This social app was a huge craze in my social circle a couple of years ago, and it’s definitely calmed down now – but I’m still enjoying what it has to offer. I love the fact it’s all about real-time posting. It offers a glimpse into what everyone you care about –  from best mates to celebs – is up to. A stalker’s delight.

Of course, it’s all about the selfies and the exciting array of ever-changing filters. Be a dog. Be a mermaid. Be anything you want.

Snapchat’s an easy-going, fun addition to my app collection.

I don’t necessarily use the social networking site to network – I very rarely exchange private messages – but it’s the perfect answer to Sunday-night-on-the-sofa-boredom. My only beef with Snapchat is the Ghost Mode addition, which crept up and offered to scarily share my location with the world. It’s a bit too Big Brother for me. I instantly turned off Ghost Mode so noone gets the honour of my location updates. (I’m mainly at home, feet up on the sofa, or in the sparkling wine aisle of the local supermarket, FYI).

4- LinkedIn  

Social and professional networking site LinkedIn

“The mission of LinkedIn is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”

This is perhaps the least exciting and creative social networking site on my phone and desktop – but I do love and appreciate what LinkedIn provides. Yes, it’s fabulous for recruiters and job hunters. But it’s also a smart, classy platform for professional outreach. I’ve run company LinkedIn pages and loved networking with fellow businesses and professionals.

LinkedIn is mahoosive – so if you want to be seen, you need an account ASAP.

My personal LinkedIn account is a wonderful source of information for me – an accurate (I hope), up to date diary of my education, work experience and careers to date. I feel super organized with it and get a smug feeling inside when I’m endorsed with a skill.

There are no wacky filters. But LinkedIn is lovable, trust me.

3- Instagram (@bethanywash)

Social networking site Instagram

“A home for visual storytelling for everyone from celebrities, newsrooms and brands, to teens, musicians and anyone with a creative passion.”

I love Instagram with all my heart. It just didn’t make the top-two cut. I’m a ruthless reviewer of social accounts. Instagram’s another site ideal for Sunday night phone scrolling. It’s a dream for commuters. It’s a lovely distraction in the dentist’s waiting room, I promise.

Instagram’s all about imagery.

It doesn’t take much brainpower when browsing. It’s beautifully simple, and a lovely platform for documenting my own life through images and short videos. My Instagram page is a collection of visual mini-blog posts. I adore the plethora of photo/video features too. Boomerangs will never get old! Superzoom’s fab. And with a plethora of fun effects to play around with, you can get a little creative and silly too.

Of course, the launch of Instagram Stories in August 2016 was a hugely exciting addition! Jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon, now I can post pics and vids and have them disappear after 24 hours, and stalk others taking advantage of the feature. The fairly recent addition of Highlights is fab too – my profile looks so much prettier with my favourite Insta stories pinned proudly at the top.

2- Twitter (@BethanyMWash)Social networking site Twitter

“Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.”

A news hub. A comic trending machine. A social platform. A world of information. There are countless reasons why Twitter’s number two on my list. But to summarise; it’s a super insightful storyteller and newsgiver and incredible social platform. Skimming through my news feed, I can become up to date with a local café’s menu launch, and learn about international breaking news seconds later. My Twitter account opens my eyes up to a beastly portal of knowledge.

Of course, we can now post up to 280 characters on a single Tweet. For some, the expansion totally defeats the object of Twitter – a platform for short and sweet posts. I’ve come to embrace the change. Real-time, interesting posts have that little bit more detail. The seemingly never-ending stream of content lacks annoying typos, ridiculous #’s and acronyms due to space shortage.

And the # is a game changer.

I can so easily source posts about specific topics on Twitter and get a digestible insight into what’s being talked about in a specific location with tailored trends. Monday nights are even better with Twitter at my disposal – monitoring Made in Chelsea live-tweeting with #MIC is just plain wonderful. (#poshtotties).

*For more on the wonderful world of Twitter check out my blog: “11 tips for effective Twitter business marketing.

1- Facebook

Social media networking site Facebook

“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

The F word. My favourite social networking site is most definitely Facebook. The mammoth. The all-rounder. The root of my addictions.

Above all, Facebook is my PA when it comes to my social life – the majority of the time. I am more than capable of making plans with friends and family without this glorious tool – but Facebook has definitely made an impact on my organisational skills. Planning and hosting a party’s never been easier. Getting ideas for local events has never been simpler. Organising surprise birthday events has… been pretty much just as stressful, actually. I’m a terrible liar.

Of course, most of the five social networking sites mentioned above overlap in terms of their features. Facebook Stories is a glorious clone of Snapchat – and I love it.

Facebook’s my only private social networking site. My personal page is truly personal to me – I am only connected with genuine friends and family, and am on a very private setting on the site. My Bethany Writes Facebook Page is public. I have complete control over who sees my content and updates and I’m more than fine with that. I love it!

Facebook’s an online diary for me. The ‘On This Day’ feature is a lovely way to reminisce on my Facebook memories. It’s all about sharing memories with people I genuinely like – and reconnecting with old friends too, if I truly have the desire to! I did a huge friend clear-out recently and it felt oddly therapeutic. I remember the old, classroom days (like ten years ago) when the more friends you had, the cooler you were. I laugh at this perception now. I’m happy to keep my friendship list down to 50 if it means I’m only connecting with actual friends and family!

Facebook gives me a voice! Yes of course – my page has posts about my life; holiday photos, cat photos, food photos, cat photos, article shares, cat photos and more… but with businesses, news platforms and more running Facebook pages, I have a great platform to speak out on, 24/7. If my boohoo order’s gone rogue – I can grab their attention on Facebook. If a local community page is looking for help – I can impart my wisdom, if I have any relevant wisdom in my possession.

Facebook’s opened up a fantastically interactional world of conversation and debate.

Social networking sites: My verdict

I believe Facebook to be a social all-rounder, and that’s the reason why it’s number one in a nutshell.

There’s Facebook Stories, ticking the boxes for Snapchatters . There’s ease of uploading photos and live videos, and awesome camera filters and effects for jazzy snaps. There’s event pages to host and confirm attendance. There’s the super handy Marketplace to buy and sell. There’s private messaging, group messaging and Facebook voice and video calling. If you need inspiration – you can browse nearby places for pubs, shops, hotels and so on. And while I was totally disinterested in Snapchat’s Ghost Mode, I embrace the fact Facebook lets me share my live location with friends, when and where I want, for a limited time. (Ideal for locating individual’s on busy pub crawls.)

Facebook is an incredibly powerful social networking site which goes above and beyond with user-interaction and needs.

*For more on Facebook, check out my blog: “8 reasons why your business needs a Facebook page.

What’s your favourite social networking site? 🙂

Bethany Wash

Storyteller. Digital marketer. Blogger. Social media enthusiast. Off the clock, an avid reader, cat mum, flautist and cocktail lover flitting between Bristol and Cornwall.

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