There are a ton of social media platforms, with new ones created every day. While most fail, a handful capture the attention of your children. But just because they use Snapchat, should you? Which platforms are worth learning about and which can you afford to skip? We’ve compiled the parents guide to social media – now get ready to sign on. Read a brief summary of each social media network’s function as well as whether or not parents should join!
Function: Share photos (one or an album), videos, articles or posts which will appear on friend’s newsfeeds. Engage with others by liking and commenting on their posts.
Parents Guide to Facebook: Chances are, if you’re wondering about social media for parents, you’re already on Facebook. You probably have friends on the site, along with children, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters. It’s a great way to monitor everyone’s lives without logging into multiple accounts. Plus, it’s almost expected that most parents use Facebook.
Function: Share photos or 30 second videos with followers after applying photo editing and photo filters. Engage with those you follow by liking (nicknamed “double tapping”) or commenting on their media.
Parents Guide to Instagram: Instagram is an easy way to edit and share your photos. While you may not have a lot of friends on the Instagram, you can directly share pictures to Facebook (which owns Instagram) or other sites. It’s fun and easy to use, therefore definitely worth a try.
Function: Snapchat is a photo-sharing platform that sends disappearing “snaps” (photos or videos) within ten seconds or less. Other functions include uploading and watching stories, which are shared with every follower (unlike snaps, which are sent to select individuals).
Parents Guide to Snapchat: First of all, unlike Facebook and other social media apps, most older parents aren’t on Snapchat. Instead, Snapchat facts indicate that most teens are users. If you want to send photos publicly use Facebook or privately through email or text. Unless you have a need to send disappearing photos, skip the trouble.
Wow, I liked @TheRock before , now I really SEE how special he is. The daughter story was IT for me. So great! #MasterClass — Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) November 16, 2015
Function: A micro-blogging site that can share text or photos equal or under 140 characters. Engage with followers by replying, liking (previously called favoriting), or retweeting (sharing to your followers) posts.
Parents Guide to Twitter: Twitter can be an easy way to keep up with breaking news, friends’ lives, and favorite figureheads. However, unless you have a lot of opinions to share, it may not be worthwhile signing up for just yet. Sharing posts under 140 characters feels unnatural at first, and therefore can be kind of tedious. Plus, you may prefer to get your news in other forms. Keep Twitter on your back burner and when you want to add a new social media platform, this should be next.
Function: A professional network to share work achievements, endorsements and industry news. Connect with colleagues, past coworkers, and perhaps close personal friends to find people in your network when job hunting.
Parents Guide to LinkedIn: Joining LinkedIn may depend on your job standing. If you’re not in the market for a job, LinkedIn might not be necessary. If you expect a change in careers during your life, it could be helpful but depends on your industry. Ask around your office and see how your coworkers like it. For many users, it’s just an online resume that requires little attention once completed. So if you’re looking for an easy way for recruiters to find you- join! Otherwise, move along.
Function: Share six second video clips with followers. Engage by liking, “revining” (sharing to your followers) and commenting.
Parents Guide to Vine: Don’t worry about Vine. While important for certain groups, like comedians, your kids will find it embarrassing and your friends likely won’t use the app. Plus, it hasn’t had any major developments and may be losing popularity. Put your energy into a different platform instead.
Function: Create a virtual place to “pin” your favorite recipes, interior design ideas, clothing items, whatever you please! Great for building lists and discovering projects. Engage with followers by “repinning” posts, commenting, or uploading your own unique content.
Parents Guide to Pinterest: Pinterest has a key audience: typically women with an interest in food, fashion, make up and design. It’s a great way to find content as well as store your own (you could make a virtual cookbook, for example, to save your favorite recipes). If you fit this demographic, then join! Furthermore, to view other user’s boards you’ll need an account. This could be particularly helpful when searching through loved ones Pinterest “wish list” boards during the holiday season.
Function: A blog to follow people with similar interests to like, reblog, and comment on content.
Parents Guide to Tumblr: Tumblr users are very niche. And if your child is there, they probably don’t want parents there (more than other social networks). It’s really meant for younger audiences given its existing content- like model pictures, TV gifs, and lots of lots of One Direction. Some bloggers like to share personal stories, like a semi-public diary. It’s probably best to skip it. You probably wouldn’t enjoy the material there anyway and wouldn’t interact with your kids like you expect to on other platforms.
Function: Share photos, videos, articles and pictures to people in your “circles” (think friends, family, coworkers in separate groups).
Parents Guide to Google+: If you’re not already on, don’t bother. It didn’t take off like people expected and will likely have trouble catching up to Facebook.
Of course, we encourage you to try every platform. But some may be more relevant and welcoming than others. Did you find this parents guide to social media helpful?