40 Social Media Examples (Ranked by Monthly Users)

social media examples

Social media are platforms that allow users to create and share content and engage in social networking. Content that is shared within networks can include text, images, videos, and audio.

Popular examples of social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

The rise of social media signaled a dramatic shift in global communication. Whereas once the elite gatekeepers (such as governments and publishing companies) controlled the dissemination of knowledge, now anyone with an internet connection can share their information with the world.

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Characteristics of Social Media

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Social media are hard to define because some platforms (like Pinterest) act more like search engines or other types of apps, but can still facilitate communication and profile creation as a secondary feature.

However, in general, social media have the following seven characteristics:

  • Participatory: Social media are participatory, meaning that users can interact with each other directly (or indirectly through content).
  • Public: Social media are public, meaning that anyone can see the content that is shared.
  • Real-time: Social media are real-time, meaning that users can post and view content as it happens.
  • User-generated content: Social media are user-generated, meaning that users become the producers rather than simply consumers of culture.
  • User profiles: Social media typically involve the creation of user profiles, which allow users to share information about themselves.
  • Social networks: Social media facilitate the formation of social networks, or groups of people who share interests and communicate with each other online.
  • One-to-many communication: Social media allow for one-to-many communication, meaning that a user can communicate with many people at once.

Examples of Social Media (Ranked by Monthly Users)

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1. Facebook (2.91 Billion Monthly Users)

Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. It was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates and has since grown to have over 2.91 billion monthly active users.

The Facebook platform allows users to share text, images, videos, and audio with their friends, as well as join groups based on shared interests. Users can also create profiles that share information about themselves.

2. YouTube (2.3 Billion Monthly Users)

YouTube is a video sharing platform that was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. It is now owned by Google.

YouTube has over 2.3 billion monthly active users and allows users to share videos of any length with their friends and the world. Videos can be uploaded, viewed, commented on, and shared.

3. WhatsApp (2 Billion Monthly Users)

WhatsApp is a messaging app that allows users to send text messages, images, and videos to their friends. It was founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton and was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion.

Its rise was in part due to the fact it enabled people to text one another through data plans rather than using SMS, which can be expensive.

In some cultures, WhatsApp is a primary source of news, including fake news, which can go viral through message sharing across social groups.

Related Article: The Pros and Cons of New Media

4. Facebook Messenger (1.3 Billion Monthly Users)

Facebook Messenger is a social media platform owned by Facebook and a direct rival of WhatsApp. It was established in the United States in 2011.

The app allows users to send messages and make calls to their Facebook friends and integrates seamlessly with Facebook.

Messenger also offers free video chat and voice call services. Calls made through the app are free if made over Wi-Fi, but cost data if made over a mobile network.

People can form messenger groups to communicate via one-to-many communication and have their profiles visible to all.

5. Instagram (1.2 Billion Monthly Users)

Instagram is a photo and video sharing app that was founded in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. It was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion.

Instagram allows users to share photos and videos with their followers which can be edited with filters and other tools. Users can also follow other users to see their content.

For many people in Gen Y and Z, it superseded Facebook as the platform of choice because Facebook came to be seen as overly political and having too many elder people ‘spying’ on their children, nieces, and nephews.

6. WeChat (1 Billion Monthly Users)

WeChat is a social media app that was founded in 2011 by Allen Zhang. It is owned by Tencent Holdings and has over 1 billion monthly active users. It is extremely popular in China.

WeChat allows users to send text messages, images, and videos to their friends, and also includes a variety of other features such as a payment system, ride-sharing, and booking appointments.

WeChat is often used to communicate within businesses and has even replaced email for some users.

Related Article: Digital Media Examples

7. Kuaishou (1 Billion Monthly Users)

Kuaishou is a social media app that was founded in 2011 by Zhang Yiming. It is owned by ByteDance and peaked at over 1 billion monthly active users thanks to the success of its recent live video feature. It is extremely popular in China.

Kuaishou allows users to share photos and videos with their followers which can be edited with filters and other tools. Users can also follow other users to see their content.

8. TikTok (732 Million Monthly Users)

TikTok is a video sharing app that allows people to record vertical videos for smart phones and post them on the platform. It was founded in 2014 by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang and was acquired by ByteDance in 2017 for $1 billion.

The app is known for people dancing and lip-syncing to popular songs, and companies have jumped on the bandwagon and created engaging musical and dance content with great success.

TikTok is most popular with teenagers and young adults.

9. Douyin ( 600 Million Monthly Users)

Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok and was founded in 2016 by Zhang Yiming. It is owned by ByteDance and has over 600 million monthly active users.

Douyin is popular among young people in China for the same reasons as TikTok, but is created specifically for the enormous Chinese-speaking market.

10. Telegram (500 Million Monthly Users)

Telegram is a messaging app that was founded in 2013 by Pavel Durov and Nikolai Durov. It has over 500 million monthly active users.

The app is known for its strong encryption, which has made it popular among people who want to keep their messages private, including journalists, activists, and politicians.

Telegram is also popular among the cryptocurrency community because of its security features.

11. QQ (595 Million Monthly Users)

QQ is a messaging app that was founded in 1999 by Tencent Holdings – the same company that owns WeChat. It has over 595 million active monthly users.

QQ is popular among all age groups in China and is used for a variety of things such as messaging, playing games, listening to music, and watching videos.

It also has a built-in payment system.

Related Article: New Media Examples

12. Snapchat (528 Million Monthly Users)

Snapchat is a messaging and photo-sharing app that was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy.

The app’s unique offering is its disappearing messages, which is one of its most popular features. People can use it to share messages that will be seen for a few seconds then be gone forever, allowing people to be bold about the content they share.

The app is also popular for its filters, which are used to edit photos and videos.

13. Weibo (521 Million Monthly Users)

Weibo is a Chinese microblogging app that was founded in 2009 by Charles Zhang. It has over 521 million active monthly users.

Weibo is similar to Twitter in that users can post short messages, or ‘microblogs,’ about anything they want.

Weibo is most popular with people in China and is used for a variety of purposes such as communicating with friends, following celebrities and brands, and sharing news.

14. QZone (517 Million Monthly Users)

QZone is a social media app that was founded in 2005 by Tencent Holdings. It has over 517 million active monthly users.

QZone is very popular in China and is used for a variety of purposes such as communicating with friends, posting photos and videos, and playing games. It also allows users to maintain a personal diary and listen to music.

15. Pinterest (459 Million Monthly Users)

Pinterest is a visual search engine that was founded in 2010 by Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp, and Paul Sciarra.

Many Pinterest users dispute the concept that it’s a social media network because its primary purpose is visual search. Nevertheless, images can be commented on, people can create profiles, and you can follow influencers. In these ways, it does fit the definition of social media.

16. Reddit (430 Million Monthly Users)

Reddit is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website that was founded in 2005 and is known as the “front page of the internet”.

The website is divided into various categories, or ‘subreddits,’ which users can subscribe to. This allows for a more targeted experience when visiting Reddit.

Users can also post links to articles, images, and videos, and then vote on whether they think it’s good or not.

Reddit is credited with bringing together micro-niche audiences so people around the world can find people who share their very specific interests.

17. Twitter (396 Million Monthly Users)

Twitter is a social media and microblogging website that was founded in 2006.

Twitter is most popular with people in the United States and is used for a variety of purposes such as communicating with friends, following celebrities and brands, and sharing news.

Twitter is unique in that its users can post tweets, or short messages, that are limited to 280 characters.

It’s well-known for political debates and was a favored platform of Donald Trump before he was banned by the network for breach of terms.

18. Linkedin (310 Million Monthly Users)

LinkedIn is a social media platform that was founded in 2003. It is most popular with people in the United States and is known as a business networking, resume posting, and job search platform. It allows users to connect with other professionals and businesses to develop career networking opportunities.

LinkedIn has been growing in popularity for use in social selling, which is the process of using social media to sell products and services.

19. Quora (300 Million Monthly Users)

Quora is a Q&A platform that was founded in 2009. It is most popular with people in the United States and India.

Quora allows users to ask questions and then vote on the best answers. This creates a ranking system where the best answers are at the top. People can ask any number of questions that they can’t find answers for on the internet.

20. Skype (300 Million Monthly Users)

Skype is a video calling and messaging platform that was founded in 2003. It allows users to communicate with other people via voice and video calls, as well as send messages.

It is most popular with people in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Skype was purchased by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Since the pandemic, it has been rivalled by Zoom, which ahs the video calling features but is less ‘social’ in that it doesn’t have open chat and profile features.

21. Tieba (300 Million Monthly Users)

Tieba is a Chinese forum website that was founded in 2003.

The website is divided into various topics, or ‘bars,’ which users can subscribe to. This allows for a more targeted experience when visiting Tieba.

Users can also post links to articles, images, and videos, and then vote on whether they think it’s good or not.

Like Reddit in the English speaking world, Tieba is credited with bringing together micro-niche audiences so people around the world can find people who share their very specific interests.

22. Viber (260 Million Monthly Users)

Viber is a messaging and VoIP platform that was founded in 2010. It allows users to communicate with other people via voice and video calls, as well as send messages.

It is most popular with people in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

23. Teams (250 Million Monthly Users)

Teams is a messaging and video conferencing platform that was created by Microsoft in 2016.

It allows users to communicate with other people via voice and video calls, as well as send messages.

It is widely used by companies with customers working remotely as it has features and functions to help groups of people, or teams, to organize themselves for meetings and workflows.

24. imo (200 Million Monthly Users)

imo is a messaging and VoIP platform that was founded in 2006. It allows users to communicate with other people via voice and video calls, as well as send messages.

It is most popular with people in the United States, India, and Brazil.

imo was purchased by Google in 2013 for $US9 billion.

25. Vimeo (170 Million Monthly Users)

Vimeo is a video hosting and sharing platform that was founded in 2004. It is the major competitor to YouTube. It allows users to upload, share, and view videos.

Vimeo’s main differentiating factor from YouTube is that it is focused on quality over quantity.

Vimeo was started by two friends who wanted a platform where they could share their high-quality videos.

26. Line (169 Million Monthly Users)

Line is a messaging and VoIP platform that was founded in 2011. It allows users to communicate with other people via voice and video calls, as well as send messages.

It is most popular with people in Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Line was started as a way to connect with friends and family in Japan after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

27. Picsart (150 Million Monthly Users)

Picsart is a photo and video editing platform that was founded in 2011. It allows users to edit photos and videos, as well as create and share memes.

Its advanced built-in photo editor for phones is superior to most other image-sharing platforms, giving it a market advantage for photo enthusaists.

28. Likee (150 Million Monthly Users)

Likee is a video-sharing platform that was founded in 2016. It allows users to share videos with each other, as well as follow other users and share their videos. Similar to other video-sharing platforms like TikTok, it encourages users to share short clips only.

It is most popular with people in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. However, it is banned in India because the app is created in China, and bad blood between the nations caused the Indian government to sanction the app.

29. Discord (140 Million Monthly Users)

Discord is a voice and text chat platform that was founded in 2015. It allows users to communicate with other people via voice and video calls, as well as send messages.

It is most popular with gamers as it allows them to communicate with each other during gaming sessions. It is designed to integrate with games to allow for a seamless text, streaming, and voice chat experience during gameplay.

People can create discord groups where you can invite friends with similar interested to participate in the chat.

30. Twitch (140 Million Monthly Users)

Twitch is a live streaming video platform that was founded in 2011. It allows users to stream videos of themselves playing games, as well as watch other people play games.

It is most popular with gamers as it allows them to watch people play games, as well as communicate with other gamers.

In 2014, Amazon purchased Twitch for $970 million. This was one of the largest acquisitions that Amazon has made in its history.

31. StackExchange (100 Million Monthly Users)

StackExchange is a competitor to Quora and Reddit. It is a Q&A platform that was founded in 2008 and allows users to ask and answer questions on a variety of topics.

StackExchange was started when two programmers, Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood, became frustrated with the quality of online documentation. They wanted a platform where they could get high-quality answers to their programming questions. To this day, it is the best Q&A platform for general tech and programming questions.

32. Flickr (90 Million Monthly Users)

Flickr is a photo-sharing platform that was founded in 2004. It allows users to share photos with other people, as well as follow other users and share their photos.

It is most popular with people in the United States, Europe, and Canada.

Flickr was one of the first photo-sharing platforms on the internet. It was also one of the first platforms to allow users to share high-resolution photos. To this day, it remains popular with both amateur and professional photographers seeking to share their high-quality photography.

33. Medium (90 Million Monthly Users)

Medium is a blogging and writing platform that was founded in 2012. It allows users to write articles, as well as follow other users and share their articles.

Medium was created by Evan Williams, one of the co-founders of Twitter. He created Medium as a way to allow people to share their ideas and stories without having to create a blog.

Medium has become popular with people who want to share their personal stories and experiences with others. It is also popular with business owners who want to create long-form blog posts.

34. Tinder (75 Million Monthly Users)

Tinder is a dating app that was founded in 2012. It allows users to find other people to date by swiping through profiles.

Tinder became popular because it allows users to quickly and easily find other people to date by ‘voting’ on different people’s profiles until they find a match. It is also popular because it is location-based, which allows users to find potential dates in their area.

Tinder has been criticized for being a ‘hook-up’ app, but it is also used by people who are looking for serious relationships.

35. Tumblr (17 Million Monthly Users)

Tumblr is a blogging and social networking platform that was founded in 2007. It is a rival to Medium, but features more short-form content. It allows users to post short articles, as well as follow other users and share their articles.

Tumblr is popular with people who want to share short articles and photos with others, as well as people who want to follow other users and find new content. It is also popular with businesses who want to create a blog and share articles with their customers.

36. Periscope (9.3 Million Monthly Users)

Periscope is a live-streaming app that was founded in 2015. It allows users to stream videos of themselves live, as well as follow other users and share their videos.

Periscope became popular because it allows users to stream videos of themselves live to others. It is also popular because it allows users to follow other users and find new content.

Periscope has been criticized for being a ‘voyeuristic’ app, but it is also used by people who want to share their live thoughts with others.

37. MySpace (7 Million Monthly Users)

MySpace was one of the pioneers of social networking, being founded in 2003. It allows users to connect with friends and family, as well as follow other users and share their photos and videos.

MySpace was briefly the most popular social network before Facebook overtook it. Following the rise of Facebook, MySpace pivoted to a platform for musicians and bands to feature their music.

38. Clubhouse (6 Million Monthly Users)

Clubhouse is an invite-only platform that allows people to join rooms, events, and ‘clubs’ where people will host discussions about a range of topics.

Its unique marketing strategy, where it was an ‘invite only’ platform, made it a desirable platform in early 2020. The only way to obtain access was to be invited by someone who was already inside of the app, and even then, the number of invites each people could pass out was limited.

39. Google+ (Discontinued)

Google+ was a social networking platform that was founded in 2011. It allowed users to connect with friends and family, as well as follow other users and share their photos and videos.

The platform was created to rival Facebook and leverage the wide reach of Google to leapfrog the competition. However, it was unsuccessful in luring people across to the platform, leading to its discontinuation in 2019.

40. Vine (Discontinued)

Vine was a social media platform that was founded in 2012. It was most popular with people in the United States. At its peak, it had 200 million monthly active users.

The platform allowed people to share 6 second long videos that would loop.

Its decline is attributed to the fact that competitors like Instagram took its best features and enhanced them, which encouraged many top Vine influencers to migrate to competitor platforms.

Conclusion

Social media platforms enable people to become the producers of content. The content can then be disseminated without the filtering of publishing houses or governments. This allowed for the democratization of knowledge in the 21st Century. The social media space is rapidly changing as different platforms vie for supremacy.

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