Social media platforms, what are they & what do they do?

Let’s talk social media for a minute here. Now we know that for the majority of you out there, that you’ll have a Facebook account – almost half of New Zealanders over the age of 55 do. Whether you’re an active user, posting updates, playing games, and staying in touch with friends and family on a daily basis, you just use it occasionally, or even if you only know it through checking out other people’s accounts, you’ll probably be at least a little bit familiar with the platform.

But there are a large number of other social media platforms out there – ones that you may even be interested in joining. Today we have a look at some of the biggest platforms – what they’re for and who might like to use them.


For: Professional networking

LinkedIn is the social media platform that concentrates on your professional life. If you are retired and not looking for any further work, then you probably won’t be interested in LinkedIn. However, if you’re on the lookout for new roles, simply would like to help others out professionally, or you are looking to chat about interesting developments in your professional field, then LinkedIn is a great network to join. Your profile outlines your professional strengths, work history, publications, certifications and more.


For: Photo enthusiasts

Do you like documenting your life through photos? Maybe you have a specific interest that you like photographing – family snaps, wildflowers, foodie shots? Instagram is the platform that allows you to post photos with captions. Instagram is a mobile app that lets you take a picture, add filters if you wish, and then post to your account. Connect with others that have similar photography interests, or just share pics with family and friends – it’s up to you.


For: Photos and short video updates

Snapchat is the app that you probably have heard of a little from the under 30 set. You use Snapchat to take photos and short videos that are distributed to your network and expire after a short amount of time. Snapchat can be a great way to show off your holiday to your subscribers, or give silly updates about your day/week to people.


For: Text updates in 140 characters or less

In terms of a social media platform, Twitter works best for the average person on the street as a way to stay up to date with people and companies in the public eye. You’ll be familiar with Donald Trump sending out tweets that’ve raised the ire of people around the world. If you have an interest in politics, technology, news and current events, or other time-critical areas, then following key accounts on Twitter may be of use to you.