Since social media covers so many different kinds of websites and applications, the function of these tools also varies. However, most social media sites start with a user creating a profile, usually by providing a name and an email address.
Once a profile has been created, users can create and share content. For instance, an Instagram user with a new account can take a picture and share it on their profile with a caption. In addition to creating content for their profile, social media users can find other users whose content they want to follow or comment on. Depending on the type of social media, a user may “follow” another user, add them as a “friend,” or they may “subscribe” to another user’s page.
Social media often uses “feeds” that allow users to scroll through content. Social media companies use algorithms, based on a user’s profile data, to determine the content that appears and the order that it appears in. The feed will include content from “followed” users, as well as from entities that pay to promote their content.