Social media

Aims and objectives

This module will:

  • explore the digital footprint you leave online
  • explore different social media platforms and their uses.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • understand privacy concerns when using social media
  • use social media effectively to enhance learning and improve your online brand.

2. Types of social media

The use of social media platforms varies by country, and over time. Since the creation of the first social media platform we have seen the rise, fall and sometimes rise again of many social networks.

This chart shows a ranking of the top social media platforms, year by year. Drag the slider to check the ranking for other years.

Check the current statistics for the most popular social networks worldwide.

 Most popular social networks worldwide as of October 2021, ranked by number of active users (in millions) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Social media types include:

  • Social networking sites (Facebook; LinkedIn)
  • Microblogging (Twitter; Tumblr; Weibo)
  • Photo sharing (Instagram; Flickr; Pinterest; Snapchat)
  • Video sharing (YouTube; Vimeo; TikTok)

Social networking sites

Social networks allow users to create online profiles and interact with other users on the platform. Users can keep interactions private or connect with people outside their social circle.

Facebook is used as tool to share information, and keep up to date with family and friends. It is also sometimes used at universities to allow students to create and participate in study groups. Tutors and teachers may use these tools to facilitate teaching and learning. Facebook is not an official UQ communication channel, however, so also remember to check your student email and Learn.UQ course sites regularly. UQ has a Facebook page, as does UQ Library, to share news and events.

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform centred around employment. It allows members to create digital resumes and connect with potential colleagues and employers. It can also help you create a Personal Learning Network which you can read about in the Employability module.


A blog is a web page, usually run by one person or a small group who write informally on a topic of interest. A blog is written so that the most recent posts are presented first. Microblogs, like Twitter, enable you to share short messages and ideas. They’re excellent for sharing work, research or connecting to people with similar interests.

Twitter posts, or tweets, can only be 280 characters long so you have to keep them short and succinct. There are a number of Twitter accounts at UQ including UQ News; UQ Science; UQ Library.

Weibo (or Sina Weibo) is a very popular microblogging site and one of the largest social media platforms in China. Users can share text or multimedia content.

Tumblr is another microblogging site that allows users to share photos and pictures with others as well as blog. LinkedIn Learning has a short video course on how to get started with Tumblr (2h42m), if you would like to learn more.

Photo sharing

Photo sharing is an engaging way to share aspects of your life. You can upload photos to share with friends, family and anyone else on the platform. If you are someone who enjoys photography, arts or creating pieces and showcasing them they are a great way to promote yourself, comment on others work and receive feedback.

Some of the most popular photo sharing sites include Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Flickr. Tools like Instagram also allow users to record and share videos. Snapchat and Instagram have introduced features that enable users to interact with photographs or video, making keeping in touch with others fun. Stickers and filters allow you to transform yourself online, even into different animals and characters.

LinkedIn Learning has online courses on getting started with each of these platforms:

Video sharing

Video hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo allow people to share videos with others. Video content includes music, entertainment, instructional videos, news, political commentary, movies and shows. There are courses on how to create and manage a YouTube channel (4h27m) on LinkedIn Learning.

TikTok is a social video sharing app. Users can watch, create and share videos and apply filters, audio, animation and special effects. TikTok has had a very rapid rise in popularity. In April 2020, it had about 800 million regular users. You will find many tiktoks designed just to amuse you like this one with a cat. However, users are creating tiktoks for learning too, such as teaching maths and study tips.

TikTok for study?

Search the word tiktok in your search engine, with tags like #studyhacks #studytips and #studynotes to get some good tips.

Duration:   Approximately 20 minutes

Graduate attributes

Knowledge and skills you can gain to contribute to your Graduate attributes:

Effective communication Effective communication

 Ethical and social understanding

Check your knowledge

Check what you know about this topic:

Take the quiz

Support at UQ

Access UQ services to assist you with personal or study-related issues.