Screen shot 2013-08-09 at 4.58.03 PMIn our most recent report on Social Platforms, we tracked and assessed 247 prestige brands’ presence and performance across 15 different social media sites and apps. We found that the average brand has an active account on about seven platforms, a number that got me thinking about our own individual user profiles. Facebook, given its enormous demographic reach (67 percent of U.S. adults) and the fact that most of us have been on it for at least five years, is a no-brainer: we’re on it because it’s Facebook, end of story. But for the rest of the networks, even super popular Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, the consensus is less unanimous. For most, it turns out, there’s a primary go-to platform (for your author, it’s Twitter) and a few secondary networks that tend to be used one-dimensionally–just for family or just for news–and/or used one-way, either just to post or just to browse. Below are some testimonials from our team, discussing what their social media favorites are and how their preferences and uses for certain sites and apps have changed in the nine years since the era of Facebook began.

Danielle Bailey, Research Lead
If my social media life was like ‘Sister Wives,’ Facebook would be the first wife (where I still spend the most time), but Instagram would be the younger, more charming, more spontaneous second wife that has me enchanted–with the first wife’s complete approval, of course. Instagram allows me not only to document my world but also creatively express my world view. I’ve just started adding hashtags to my visual storytelling as a means of connecting with the larger Instagram community. I follow my favorite artists and photographers (and discover new ones) for inspiration and for instant insight into their creative process. Instagram video and now the ability to edit existing iPhone videos ensures that it will occupy even more of my social media life.

Lucy Yan, Research Intern
Recently, WeChat has taken over my daily text messaging with friends and family. The luxury to have seamless conversation with friends in other countries, and the fact that you can go back and re-listen to all the video notes is a big plus compared to the standard text message platform. Group chats and adding a person via a QR code scan are convenient functions that I also use a lot.

Andrea Derricks, Director of Membership Marketing
I’m still crazy about Foursquare, even though brands haven’t really done much with it. I love to connect with nearby friends and read tips, as well as have a history of where I’ve been, particularly when I’m traveling. I recently sent an entire restaurant and bar “to-do list” for Paris to my mom based on my Foursquare history. I also think that the AmEx partnership is a seamless, non-intrusive way that retailers and restaurants can deliver discounts post-purchase on the back end.

Aaron Bunge, Design Director
I love Instagram the most, and use it the most. I like it’s simple and visual, no clutter. The people I’m following and who are following me are far fewer in number than on say Facebook, which is overrun by people friended in high school or college who I don’t know (and don’t care about).

Ari Wolfe, Research Lead
It really depends on what device I’m using. During the day, I always have TweetDeck open on my laptop to monitor news and find interesting articles, but on my phone I gravitate to Instagram above anything else to admire the artistic eye of my friends. I have also recently started playing around with KakaoTalk to keep in touch with some friends in Asia–it definitely has the most ridiculous collection of emoji I have ever seen.

Claude de Jocas, Research & Advisory Associate
Instagram combines everything I love about my various social networks. The photo sharing and gated community of Facebook, the geotagging of Foursquare, and now the video functionality of Vine–it’s like one-stop social shopping. I have a theory that Instagram has tapped into the same urge that compelled moms (and dads!) to create family scrapbooks for generations. I think there’s something deeply rooted in us that wants to preserve our memories in a way that is both artful and lasting.

Stasha Rosen, Research Lead
The truth is that YouTube is my favorite, primarily for music listening. As a jazz lover, I can type in any jazz standard and hear multiple interpretations from various artists. Priceless! 

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