What are the Different Types of Social Media Tools?

Tara L. Barnes

Social media tools are increasingly popular ways for people to keep in touch with friends and family, get their news in a quick and easy format and make connections with new friends around the world. From Twitter to Facebook and Digg to de.icio.us, there are a variety of different social media tools that can help streamline the online experience and connect with other people and information. The most popular types of these tools include social networking, social bookmarking, social recommendation, social content and blogging.

A tablet computer might be considered a social media tool.
A tablet computer might be considered a social media tool.

One of the most well known social mediums is social networking. Social networking sites are websites like Facebook, MySpace and Friendster. These sites allow users to create profiles, upload and share photographs, share personal information and connect with others who may share the same hobbies and interests. On social networking websites, a user can share what has their interest at the moment, providing relevant links, photos and articles. Social networking sites help users create a social media community within the vastness of the internet. LinkedIn is often thought of as a social networking website, although it serves more as a professional networking site, allowing users to create professional profiles and connect with potential business partners, employees and clients.

Some social media sites make it easy to upload photos from a digital camera.
Some social media sites make it easy to upload photos from a digital camera.

Social bookmarking is one of the most popular types of social media tools. It helps users organize all of their favorite websites. This type of bookmarking allows users to tag sites with any relevant keywords and then store them all in one handy location. Sites like de.icio.us make it easy to share favorite links with friends and followers, thus creating the social aspect. The handy feature of creating tags for saved links makes it easier to search the site for content that the user finds intriguing.

Many people keep in contact with friends and family through social media tools.
Many people keep in contact with friends and family through social media tools.

For the scrutinizing web surfer, social recommendation sites are the ideal social media tools. These sites bring together the connectedness of social networking and the benefits of bookmark and link sharing to create a system of sharing and rating internet content. A user on a site like Digg can submit an article or link that they find interesting, and other users can then cast their own vote on what has been shared.

Social content is a broad term for social media tools like YouTube and Flickr, where users can upload, share and view different types of content like photos and video. A social medium like Flickr makes it especially easy to share photos, as users can upload their photos via a variety of different devices, including mobile phones, and digital cameras.

Blogging is a tool that serves as a social medium for users to get their thoughts, opinions and interests out to the world in a basic format. Blogging platforms like WordPress can be set up much like an online journal: writers can drafts posts on any topic imaginable, uploading photos and blogging about anything under the sun. Micro-blogging is popular on websites like Twitter, where users simply update their status in 140 characters or less, addressing the questions "What are you doing?" and "What has your interest?"

There are many other types of social media tools, and as the internet expands, additional types will appear. Regardless of which social media tools someone choses to utilize, they are a fast, convenient and fun way to connect with other people online.

Social media tools might be used to organize meetups.
Social media tools might be used to organize meetups.

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Discussion Comments


Social media tools are just that, tools. They achieve whatever they're used for. Unfortunately, not everyone uses them for positive or beneficial purposes. I personally only use a career related social media site. I look for and apply for jobs and network with people in my field.


I have a blog and I'm very happy that I do. I get to put my thoughts out there and people from all over the world read it.

I think that social media like blogs have become a new way for self-expression and freedom of speech. One can share any thought or concern easily this way and it has the potential to reach a lot of people. I think that social media has the potential for social change and we are seeing it already to some extent. If nothing else, people are getting different opinions on topics.


I remember when social media sites first started. I was in college and it was exciting. Everyone flocked to these sites and started interacting through them. But now, I don't find them as useful or exciting. They do help people keep in touch but it also makes it awkward when one doesn't want to be in touch anymore.

I've also heard of people adding hundreds of people on their friend's list even though they don't know them in real life. Some social media sites have turned into dating websites or great places for stalkers.

And we shouldn't forget that everyone has access to them, including people like employers. There was an article in the paper just the other day about a guy getting fired from his job because he tweeted that he hates his job. His employer read it, what a surprise.

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