What is Social Media

Social media embraces web-based and mobile-based technologies to facilitate interactive communication between organisations, communities and individuals. The social media map provides a visual summary of some of the most common types of social media platforms, and their purposes. We’ve also identified the characteristics that are a feature of all social media platforms.

social media map

Characteristics of social media

Online platforms that enable users to:

  • create, share, adapt and reuse content engage in digital dialogue and collaboration
  • create linkages, groups and communities
  • have peer-to-peer contact
  • have social interactions with other users
  • create and maintain their own user
  • profiles and IDs

Online platforms:

  • are largely public, but walled gardens exist within some platforms
  • are accessible 24/7 from a range of devices and locations
  • generally expose users to an unknown audience

Content on a social media platform is:

  • discoverable
  • community moderated
  • persistent
  • subject to conditions of use

Creative Commons License
What is Social Media by NZ Education Council is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.teachersandsocialmedia.co.nz.


  • Learners

    Teachers have a professional obligation to develop and maintain professional relationships with learners based on the best interests of those learners.

  • Parents/Guardians and Family/Whānau

    Social media provides a great opportunity to collaborate and communicate with parents and whānau.

  • Society

    Teachers who model good social media use will grow learners who apply positive, respectful values in their interactions on social media platforms.

  • The Profession

    As a member of the profession you should seek and respond to opportunities to share knowledge and discuss concerns.