There’s a lot of talk these days about the shift to Snapchat from other networks: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. But where you share still comes down to three main factors:

  • When you’re sharing
  • Who you’re sharing with
  • What story you’re trying to tell

When, Where, Why?

Context is an important factor in determining what social network you use. People, place, an Internet connection, the lighting: all these impact the content you make. For instance, you may not be able to use Snapchat because there’s zero bars in the subway! In this scenario, you can use the phone’s default camera to capture the moment and publish it later through a third-party app like Snaproll.

Social networks want you to use their apps to make content. But the tools are interchangeable. You may use Hyperlapse to record a video for Snapchat, Twitter, or your Tumblr. You may use Snapchat to capture a moment and decide to save that content for sharing across other networks. Content is fungible. What differentiates the content is the network you choose to publish it in.

Who’s the Audience?

Whom you share content with depends primarily on the feedback you expect in return. Many people still share on Facebook first because they know that’s where they’ll get the most likes and comments. They may also use that same content and open it up to other channels.

Going direct is always a popular option. The likes of iMessage and WhatsApp allow people to share with their closest circle of friends. This hidden exchange is what they refer to as dark social because it can’t be tracked.

But if you ask anyone at work on the street what their favorite social networks today it’s Instagram. It’s easier to tell a story through imagery than it is to think about a Tweet. Instagram is Twitter without the words. Instagram is the next mass media network like Facebook.

What’s the Story?

There are some basic storytelling tenets to social media. For example, Snapchat is generally used to project real life and raw events while Intagram is more edited in the attempt to capture one defining moment. Meanwhile, people use Facebook and Tumblr summarize past events.

As previously mentioned, your story also depends your intended audience and the environment you’re in. Constriction forces creativity. It sometime harder to decide what to share when there’s free range to shoot anything.

So Where to Hang?

When you start seeing social networks as places rather than virtual networks you begin to evaluate your habits better. Perhaps you like to keep your dialogue amongst a circle of friends. Perhaps you prefer to go public with everything, especially knowing that the content expires (i.e. Snapchat Stories). Content creation can be a predetermined process based on your intended audience.

But content creation is neutral. It’s actually the filters and other stuff (geotags, captions, emoji) that give the content an identity. You are what you share.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.