Nowadays, most people use their smartphones to communicate with other people. Landline phones still exist but they are mostly being used by elderly people who don’t have smartphones or being used in office spaces and homes.
Line is the most used SNS in Japan with over 4 million users. According to MAU(Monthly Active Users) as of April 2020, 7 out of 10 people in Japan use Line at least once a month. 85% of users use the app everyday.
While Line is an application that is mainly being used for text messaging and calls, you can also post to your profile timeline with texts and photos or videos.
WeChat is the most popular SNS in China with 1.24 billion users in 2021. WeChat was first introduced as a messaging app in 2011 but with over 3.2 million mini programs inside the platform, it has become so much more than it was first introduced.
WeChat’s user base is mostly in China but it is also used in other parts of the world including Japan.
WhatsApp is one the the first platforms to offer free internet-based messaging. Before, people used cellular-data networks with fees to send a text message or call people but with WhatsApp you only need a phone number to create an account and a wifi access to be able to use. It quickly gained popularity with 250,000 users a few months after its release.
WhatsApp also released a stand-alone business application called WhatsApp Business that targets small business owners. They can use the app to talk with their customers by using WhatsApp.
KakaoTalk is a messaging application that 93% of mobile phone users in Korea use. It was launched in 2010 by Kakao Corporation. The app also has tons of popular games, online shops, maps, and numerous other platform links. Users also use the app for its cute stickers and unique emoticons.
KakaoTalk is a home-grown product which makes Koreans even more inclined to use the app.
Messenger is a messaging app that can be used to communicate with your Facebook friends. You can make an account by using your Facebook account or your phone number. It’s a very convenient app if you’re a regular Facebook user as you can directly message anyone who you are already friends with in your account.
Photos and Videos
Other than messaging, people connect through other people’s photos and videos.
Whether it’s personal content that you only want your friends to see or you want to share it to a wider audience, there are a lot of ways to post them on the internet.
Instagram, an amalgam of “instant camera” and “telegram”, is a free, online photo sharing platform that was released in 2010. Instagram users take and edit photos with filters installed inside the app. In the beginning, Instagram was used by people who wanted to share photos with their friends and family but as time went on its use evolved to business owners using it for branding and celebrities and influencers to post content.
Originally you could only post photos but they added a feature that allows you to post videos in 2013. Now in 2021, you could post a picture or video that will automatically be deleted after 24 hours (Instagram Stories), you can post longer videos (Reels), and you can also live stream for your followers.
Youtube is a platform mainly used for uploading and watching videos. Launched in 2005, Youtube is now one of the most used websites with visitors watching around 6 billion hours of videos every month. Like a lot of SNS platforms, at first Youtube users utilized the website for personal use but as it grew in popularity, it is now being used by influencers, celebrities, and business owners as a way to connect with their audience.
Youtube has a wide variety of videos that can appeal to everyone. Whether you’re into cat videos, cooking videos, fashion and makeup videos, or educational videos you can guarantee that you can find content that you can enjoy.
Pinterest is an image-hosting website that targets people who are looking for inspirations for projects and events. You can save or ‘pin’ photos in your ‘board’. Each board can have a specific theme that helps you organize all the photos for inspiration for different projects.
Aside from pictures, there are also videos on the platform. With over 200 billion photos and videos on the platform, you can make a pinterest board for any occasion, project, or event that you’re planning.
Snapchat is a mobile application that was initially focused on private person to person photo-sharing. One of its main features is that you can send a picture to a friend and the photo or video that you sent will immediately disappear after the recipient views it. Over the years the app’s features have changed a lot, now you can also livestream, send your photos and videos to a large number of people, and you can also post short content to the “Discovery” page to reach a larger audience.
The “Story” feature, or the feature which allows you to post videos in chronological order and have it automatically deleted after 24 hours, was originally from Snapchat. Now you can see this feature on Instagram (Instagram Story), Facebook (Facebook Stories), and recently even Twitter added it to their app (Fleet).
Tiktok is a short-form video sharing application. Tiktok launched in 2018 and quickly gained popularity with over 1 billion active users by the start of 2021. The app allows users to create, watch, and share videos.
Tiktok being a newer SNS platform, its user base is composed of a younger demographic with 69% being users between the ages of 13 and 14.
There are also platforms which allow users to publish longer text posts with pictures and videos. You can share your interests in a more detailed way by posting blog posts and you can also connect with people with the same interests by following them.
Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world with over 100 million daily active users and 500 million tweets in a day. A tweet is the short-text (280 characters) micro-blog that you can post on Twitter. When you follow someone on Twitter, you can see their tweets on your timeline and vice versa if they follow you.
You can also directly talk to people you follow by replying to their tweet but this means that everybody that follows you or them can see your conversation. However, there is also a feature that lets you talk to them in private called Direct Message.
With a large number of users and a vast variety of people you can follow, you will surely find people with the same interests as you have whether you like fashion, sports, lifestyle, politics, or entertainment!
Facebook is arguably the most popular SNS platform in the world with over 2.8 billion users in 2021. 1.8 billion of those users use the platform daily. Facebook was originally designed for college students when it was created in 2004 but by 2006 anyone over 13 years old could create an account and use the site.
Facebook’s popularity was largely because it was one of the only platforms where you can connect and share posts with family and friends when it launched. The platform helps people stay connected with loved ones who they don’t see often as posts are posted publicly and can be seen by people who follow you. They can also interact with you by commenting on your posts or directly posting on your profile.
Tumblr is a social media platform that can be used as a search engine to easily find artistic media based on the user’s interests. Tumblr allows users to post almost anything they want from text, photos, videos, music, and so much more. This makes the platform really popular to people who want to share their works and for other people to consume and enjoy it.
Mixi is a Japanese social media platform that allows users to post blogs about their interests and hobbies. Unlike other social media platforms, most Mixi users are more focused on sharing their blog entries with close friends than sharing it on more public space though you can still make your entries public if you wish so.
Another feature that Mixi don’t have in common with other platforms is that the number of followers or “MyMixi” (マイミク) that you can have is limited to 1,000 people only. However, accounts that are marked as talents or celebrities don’t have this limitation.
Weibo is the second most popular SNS platform in China with 550 million active users in 2020. Weibo in Chinese literally translates to “micro-blog”. The platform allows users to post blog entries with a 2000-character limit. Users usually go to Weibo to read about the current trending news and topics as the site hosts more than 400 million business pages and news outlets.
Unlike all the SNS platforms I mentioned above, Weibo requires its users to use their real names for their accounts. This means that you cannot remain anonymous on the site. Furthermore, you also need to keep your account updated when you change your phone number as it is also required to make an account. If you don’t update your account information, you will not be able to log back in after logging out as you have to input your current phone number for verification.
In this day and age, there are a lot of ways to connect with other people. Be it directly messaging, posting photos and videos, and even posting or reading blog posts. You just have to find what you’re looking for and what you’re comfortable with, then soon you’ll realize that you can’t go a day without using one!