There are many ways to navigate the world of social media. Every time a new platform pops up, an old one becomes obsolete. The best services are the ones that we can use for free, and these are the best apps for the best free social media services in the App Store.
Want more free stuff? Check out our list of the best free apps for iPhone!
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Facebook is the behemoth of all social media sites. Practically everyone and their mother uses it (and a lot of grandparents, too). The Facebook app for iPhone is the best free version for the site because it includes all of the features necessary (except messaging) to have the ultimate experience.
You can't send or receive messages in the Facebook app for iOS. Unfortunately, you need a separate app for that. Messenger is that app. You can send stickers, videos, photos, and more. Group messaging is super easy, even if you don't have someone's personal contacts, like an email address or phone number. All you need is to be friends on Facebook to chat. You can even make phone calls via Wi-Fi or cellular data for free!
Twitter is one of the other big social networking sites, but it is relegated to microblog-style communication. The official Twitter app is fine, but sometimes you want something different. Twitterific is the best free third-party Twitter client in the App Store. You can view the feed of multiple accounts in one, unified stream, mute or muffle hashtags, users, phrases, and URLs that you don't want to see, and there are also a few more features you can unlock with an in-app purchase if you want the entire Twitter experience without having to use the official Twitter app.
Vine is Twitter's answer to micro video blogging. You have 6 seconds to prove your point, show off your 'stache, or make a coherent but tiny movie. People get creative with their Vines. Some of them are downright art. So, if you're camera shy, you can still make time with Vine by watching itty bitty videos. Because each Vine is 6 seconds or less, you can digest this social platform in bite-sized fun increments.
WhatsApp is one of those messaging apps that is slowly taking over how humans communicate with each other. Gone are the days of old-fashioned phone calls or simplistic text messaging. With WhatsApp, you can call, text, or even video chat without leaving the app. It works with your phone number, so you don't have to create a new account to use it. As soon as your number is verified, every friend or family member in your personal contacts that also uses WhatsApp will be listed as someone you can get in touch with. You can make and receive calls for free, from anywhere in the world, with just an internet connection.
SnapChat is a photo and video social media platform that puts you right in the moment. When you Snap, your friends can only see it for a few seconds before it's gone forever. Well, sort of. They can always replay the Snap. You can send and receive direct Snaps, create day-long Stories, and make the funnest selfies on the planet. With Snapchat, you can discover new accounts to follow based on popular content from the pros, like iMore (yes, you can follow iMore on Snapchat at imoresnap!).
Instagram was the premier photo social media site and continues to be hugely popular. Some people have even figured out a way to make a living just posting pictures on Instagram. With Instagram Stories, you can share your entire day with your followers and they can let you know what they thought by commenting on specific sections of your Story. Instagram is so popular that you can follow practically any celebrity and see personal pictures of them hanging out with friends, waking up in the morning, and saying things they will probably later regret.
Pinterest is like a digital DIY magazine. Everyone can create beautifully crafted boards of particular interests. Each pin, which is a picture of something, includes a link to the original website it was found (unless you upload your personal pictures directly). Pins with recipes will feature a short list of ingredients and a link to how to make it. Pins with purchasable items will have a buy button right on them. It's the most fun you can have, visually, on the internet without having to browse a bunch of websites.
SoundCloud is a music (and podcast) streaming service that anyone can use to upload music or other audio. It's great for independent bands and artists. You can also follow other users and listen to tracks they have uploaded themselves, songs they have liked, or playlists they have created. People can comment on a track and read what others have said, right at a specific time in the audio clip. It's a music service, but it's the most social music service out there.
With Spotify, you can create and share playlists, follow your favorite artists or record companies, and discover new music that your friends are listening to — with thousands of song and artists streaming you'll never run out! By default, your Spotify activities are streamed to a social feed where people who follow you can see what you are listening to. You actually have to go incognito in order to hide what you are listening to (which I do often because I don't want my friends to know how much I listen to Disney music). You can create playlists that are specific for one person. It's kind of like making a digital mix tape!
The free version has ads and you're limited to the number of times you can skip songs, so you can subscribe if you want to via and in-app purchase.
Tumblr is a microblogging site that is set up to make it super simple for you to blog. You can quickly and easily post pictures, videos, music, and quotes without having to think about it for more than a few seconds. You can also produce well-crafted long-form content if you need to satisfy your creativity. It is easy to discover and follow other Tumblr bloggers that fit your style. It is the most social blogging site around. It's also the place where some of the funniest memes on the internet are born.
Hangouts is Google's chat service. With it, you can call, message, or video chat with a single person or a group. Hangouts can be incredibly useful for keeping a conversation going with multiple people at once. You can send stickers and continue chat threads for decades. It's a great place for you and your friends to, well, hang out.
The world of social networking is an ever-changing cosmos that ebbs and flows with time. Today's top social networking apps may be all but forgotten tomorrow, so please add your favorites to the comments section so we can keep the flow strong.
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Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).