Facebook. The boss, the man; the pioneer of social media. Well, perhaps six or seven years ago, yes. These days, modern technology is providing a multitude of possibilities for the average person to be able to -- shock, horror -- choose which place they wish to tell the whole world about what's going on with them. Like it or not, one way or another, social media is taking over traditional forms communication. Who needs a phone, when you can plaster your pictures on Instagram, tweet, BBM and more. Gone are the days of MSN and clunky computers. These days it´s all hashtags, BBM-ing and perhaps not surprisingly; sexting.
Qzone and QQ messenger -- Tencent
The baby of Huateng “Pony” Ma's brain, and one of Tencent's biggest assets, "QQ" messenger has undergone a vast amount of scrutiny over the years, due to its copycat accusation case with AOL back in 2000. These days, the air is clearer and the IM chat service has an estimated 818 million users. The service offers free video calls, group chat, online chat rooms, multiple file sharing and chat translation. In 2011 QQ ranked number 4 on Forbes' "Most Innovative Companies" list. (see references). Qzone is the social media option offered by Tencent.
WeChat (Weixin) -- Tencent
Also owned by the biggest Internet service portal in China (Tencent), WeChat is a relatively new platform of communication in the world of digital text flow. The instant messaging service offers live chat, video calls, group chat, voice chat, as well enabling the user to connect through social media, such as Facebook. The service is popularly used on BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian and Windows Phone devices and has an estimated 236 million users. (see references).
Sina Weibo (China's Twitter)
Donned "China's Twitter," though often referred to as a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook, Sina Weibo currently has over 80 million users, rapidly making its way up the social media ranks. The microblogging platform allows its user to "share happiness with hundreds of millions people," and it seems to be making an impact. So much so, world leaders like David Cameron are getting on board. The British Prime Minister joined as a way to connect with his Chinese audience, prior to a trip to the country in December 2013 and instantly acquired over 100,000 fans.
RenRen (China's Facebook)
Formally known as the "Xiaonei Network," RenRen is China's answer to Facebook. RenRen (translating as: everyone) sports over 54 million users today. Although it's not the top dog in China with regard to messaging and social network services, it still holds a hugely important place in the ranks.
Firstly used by celebrities to pose in pictures in high places; today anyone can Instagram their way through the day. The image manipulation and editing application offers a vast range of filters, borders and caption options. Outings, outfits, people, places, food, animals; pretty much anything can look good once it´s been "Instagramed." Once the picture´s been edited, it can be looped through to Twitter and Facebook. For the most part, people take odd photos of themselves in the gym or more incessant shots of things that no-one cares about.
The creator of the hashtag phenomenon and formally Facebook´s arch rival, Twitter is part microblogging, part messenger, part social network. That said, mainly it´s a quick and easy way to stay up-to-date with the news and to promote; pretty much anything you like. Unfortunately, many use the service as a personal diary, however, when used correctly, Twitter can be a very resourceful device. What began as an easy way for celebrities (and now everybody) to promote themselves, has now turned into a key tool for government officials, opposition parties, police and more to watch us all.
Twitter´s by-product or better yet, Twitter´s baby; Vine is a new application which allows the user to record or create shot videos and share them on bigger social media sites. What´s a looping video, you ask? Basically it´s like a prolonged image -- a short video that doesn´t normally last longer than 6 seconds. Introduced at the beginning of 2013, Vine is currently available for iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and for Windows. The service has often been used to make the ever-popular "memes."
"Tinder is how people meet. It's like real life, but better." That´s what it says on the tin. Basically, it means you can connect with people you don´t know through social media. It´s a sort of link between Bluetooth and Facebook. You loop through your information via Facebook and then use GPS to find people hanging out in your area. According to Marie Claire UK, it´s "the modern hot or not." Apparently it´s all the rage and making huge moves to serve lonely hearts around the world.
Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is the new way to send your CV to a possible employer. Initially a low-profile network to share your work experience; these days it´s almost unheard of to not have your employment information on the site. It offers forums, job postings and the option to connect with current and former colleagues. Depending on how you fix your profile and how you use the site, the job of your dreams could well be clicks away.
Blackberry Messenger (BBM)
When the Blackberry became all the rage, the chat service application BBM came along with it. Boasting the possibility of never having to log in or out, users of the famed phone are often seen exchanging BBM codes and clicking mini keys. The service has an estimated 80 million users worldwide. It´s arch rival is now of course, WhatsApp.
Founded in New York City in 2007, Tumblr is sort of combed version of various different types of social network sites. For the most part, it´s used to share images, memes and the like, though it is also used to share quotes, posters and videos. Though many use it as a kind of cooler and more interactive Flickr, it has been known to share a large amount of pornographic material, making way for the infamous ¨NSFW¨ mode (not safe for work), to protect your eyes. In a nutshell, it´s a very slick photoblogging site that´ll likely make you feel cool when you use it.
The closest thing to Facebook since its creation, Snapchat has already caused a lot of controversy since its launch. Set up by a group of Stanford University students, the main point of using the program, is to take pictures (¨snaps¨) and send them along to a set of recipients. It has become famous because its known use for ¨sexting¨ and the like, particularly between teenagers (see references).
Have you got WhatsApp? Pay as you go texting, feel very far away when someone poses that question. The messaging service is now a hugely popular way to communicate; largely because it´s free and isn´t limited to one type of smart phone. The service now boasts close to 350 million users worldwide.
Based on a set-up of profiles and information sharing on circles, Google Plus is relatively successful in terms of online sharing (300 million users worldwide is not a bad number), however, it never quite kicked off as well as Facebook. The typical type of user is one that uses Gmail and has a Youtube account, as it´s easy to share content without having to sign out of your email.
Related: 15 Things Google knows about you