Have you noticed that social media services are used by different people?
Rich VCs talk about life and wealth on Twitter.
Fashionistas share their work on Instagram.
Your uncles and grandmas are on Facebook.
And your favourite video game streamer is on YouTube.
Why is that?
These social media services have millions of users. So they should house every community you can think of. So, it can’t because of the culture.
The answer has to do with the medium itself. Clothes are inherently visual. You can write an essay about them. But having a picture of it. Gives you all the information you need to know.
Instagram is one of the best places to share photos online. And one of the top places to share your fashion creations.
Professionals on Twitter
Why are their lots of writers on Twitter?
Because Twitter is designed mostly for writing. Even when you share memes. You still need to write something. 250 characters allow writers to compress their thoughts in less words.
If you want to explain more. You can create a thread about the idea. Which acts as a mini blog post.
Twitter is a great place to share things you read with numerous people. And you can give your two cents on the situation. While sharing it.
People tend to share their longer writing work on Twitter. Like blog posts on their website. Or their newsletter. And generate excitement over Twitter. This may help explain why Twitter bought out a Substack competitor Revue. So, they can integrate it into the app. As many newsletter writers, Twitter is their main acquisition tool.
This may also explain why the network has a lot more professionals. A lot of American coastal users use the service.
Many people mention that Twitter is there best networking tool. As they share ideas that people in their industry find valuable. And people use direct messages to start personal connections.
Twitter has a massive interest with white-collar professionals. And mainly city dwellers use that service.
This is why there is an oversampling of professions such as; journalists, VCs, programmers, marketers, writers, tech founders etc.
No blacksmiths, plumbers, or linesmen.
Journalism part has to do with twitter’s design. As Twitter is the place known to get breaking news. So, Twitter is the place to go when looking for material to write on.
Contrast to Facebook.
Friends and family with Facebook
Facebook is simple. Facebook is made for friends and family.
So it will make sense that your extended family is on there. But your friends may not be on there. Depending on your age. They probably left a while ago. And using other services like Snapchat and Instagram.
Facebook has bought and made more apps for you to talk to friends and family. Like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. With these services, no one is creating long-form essays on there. As they are designed to for communication between people. Not explaining one’s thoughts of the world.
You can argue WhatsApp is a bit different. Because large groups can work as channels. Like a company communicating with its users. Or news company sharing what’s happening with their local community.
This may explain why Facebook is popular in the American Midwest and other less urban areas. As there is more of focus other areas of life. Rather than a career. (Hence Friends and family focus). Compared to the coastal parts of America. But these patterns show up in many countries.
Facebook has a wide appeal to many people. Mainly older folks.
YouTube, The Entertainment Medium
YouTube is the hub for entertainment. So it is a medium not use for communication. But to share ideas and make people laugh. There is a lack of direct messaging on YouTube. And communication is designed to be one to many. Think of YouTube comments.
Like Instagram YouTube tends to be more visual. Because of the longer time limit. People can experiment more. Like the video essay format. A traditional essay. With highly engaging visuals. To get hooked. But highbrow stuff like that is not as popular.
Lets plays. Or crazy challenges, celebrity vlogs etc. These tend to be highly visual and engaging. As lots of stuff happens in those videos. Great videos to watch when you are bored on a train ride.
Because of the amount of time allotted. A lot of creators have time in the video. To show their sponsorships. Which are basically ads. They also share their merchandise which you can buy.
Due to the size of YouTube. Almost everyone uses YouTube at some point. To a person who wants to learn about fashion. To a person who wants to learn about the periodic table. It’s all on YouTube.
The video just has to be entertaining enough before you click away.
Even education videos tend to be highly engaging. The one’s that are not. Get little views. Or split up into smaller videos. Like lectures.
But there is a growing genre of video that is not visual per se.
Which are podcasts.
Where you simply just watch the host and guest talking on video. I tend to use this a lot. I guess that is more visual than an audio-only podcast. As you get to see the faces of the guest and host. And all their expressions.
A podcast can help a YouTube creator produce much more videos. One hour YouTube podcast. Can be cut into 5 different clips. All linking back to the original podcast. The cost of production is low compared to other genres. Like travel or shopping hauls.
Also, can be less of a time sink on the creator’s side. Compared to something like vlogging.
Design affects the medium
The design of the social network affects who uses the platforms. As it incentivises users to use the app in a certain way.
Instagram is for getting likes and followers. So eye-catching content is pushed.
Twitter is for getting retweets. So funny or outrageous content is pushed.
YouTube is for getting views. So outlandish content is pushed.
Because of that:
People with very visual hobbies will get more traction on Instagram.
People who have controversial opinions. Do well on Twitter.
People who are entertaining. Do well on YouTube.
Which self-selects for people with certain personalities and interests. That is suitable for the platform.
All that explains why people thrive of different platforms. And you view your favourite creators on different mediums.
If you liked this article. Sign up to my mailing list. Where write more stuff like this.