How to Participate in Online Discussions on Social Media

Stories, tweets, and snaps, oh my! These days, this lingo is now a very common aspect of our lives as social media networks are more popular and prominent than ever! Aside from the ability to share different parts of our lives with the world, one of the main benefits is being able to stay in contact with those important people in our lives, even if they live far away. If social media is still new to you, we’ve got you covered! Continue reading to learn more about the 5 most popular social media networks.


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Facebook is currently one of the most popular websites on the Internet. Created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, it was initially a website for students to engage in online discussions; however, since 2006, anyone over the age of 13 with a valid email address can become a member. Facebook allows you to stay in contact with friends and family by letting you share text, links, pictures, and videos. It also allows you to send direct messages and make audio and video calls to anyone on the platform. In addition, you can play games, create and join groups for specific interests, and even follow your favorite businesses and celebrities. With all of these functions, Facebook is one of the most comprehensive social networking sites on the web.


Instagram is a social media platform that focuses on sharing photos and videos. It was first released for iOS in October 2010 and then on Android in April 2012. Facebook bought the business in April 2012, however, it’s still largely independent from them. Instagram, like most social media apps, allows you to follow people you're interested in. This produces a feed on your homepage that displays the most recent posts from each user.

One of the newest and most popular functions of Instagram is the Stories feed. You can use Stories to share a sequence of images and video snippets that can only be viewed for 24 hours before they expire. Aside from that, Instagram features direct messaging, allowing you to communicate with your friends and family in real-time.


The name of this site is a portmanteau of the words “pin” and “interest”, which pretty much explains its function. On Pinterest, you can create collections of images, links and text (called “boards”) that are all related to a specific topic. Some popular topics for Pinterest boards are: fashion, travel, design, and food, among others. Additionally, you can show off your creativity and share it with your friends. Pinterest allows users to pin things that they find interesting from all over the Internet or “re-pin” items from other users’ boards. In contrast to Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms where your posts will become less relevant as time passes, Pinterest boards gain relevance and popularity as the more you add to them.


Twitter is a free website and mobile app that brings together the best features of blogging, social media, and instant messaging. It allows its users to interact in real-time with the people they find interesting (friends, celebrities, and even the President). Users can post short text messages called tweets which can include pictures, videos, or links. These tweets can be posted publicly or sent privately to other users. An important feature of Twitter is that it allows users to comment in real-time, online discussions about relevant, current events.


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Snapchat is an instant messaging app that allows you to send photos and videos to one or more of your friends. The unique feature of this app is that the messages, photos or videos that you post have a set time duration. After this predetermined time has passed, your posts will be permanently erased unless someone saves them to their phone. Like Instagram, Snapchat has filters to make your photos look their best, and it allows you to share your photos and videos on your profile's story for a period of 24 hours. One of its latest features is the ability to transfer money to your contacts.

Although these social media platforms are very useful for interacting and keeping in touch with your friends and family, it is important to take steps to protect your privacy. When you post something on social media, analyze the possible consequences and make sure that whatever you post is not going to get you in trouble now or in the future.