Evaluating Information: Social Media Sources

Use What Where or Not at All

Social Media sources

There are many Social Media Sources which you may use throughout your studies at Victoria University. Social Media Sources are not educational resources and can be used only if they are objects of research. Check the relevant Referencing Guides for how to reference different Social Media Sources that you may use in your work. A few different types of Social Media Tools are discussed briefly on this page. 

Social Media Sources include:

  • ​Websites & Web Documents
  • Blogs
  • Wiki
  • Tools such as Facebook and Twitter

You will need to evaluate all your social media sources to ascertain whether they suit your requirements. Refer to Information types for further information.

Websites & Blogs

Websites - What are websites

Screenshot of a website page. From Victoria University, titled 'Study at VU'.

Published on Web - Not an open source

Content is mostly static

Author can be an Individual or Corporate

Formal or Professional - as contents are created/ edited by professionals

Focus on content about products and/ or services marketed by companies

When websites are updated, no history is available for users

Only the recent modification or updated information is available to users

Not an interactive medium - communication is one way



Helping you find government information and services - Australian Government

Social Media - Victorian Government


Blogs - What are Blog Posts

Screenshot of a blog homepage. Victoria University's VU Connect Ed Blog.

Published on Web - Not an open source

Content is regularly updated 

Author can be individual or group

Not Formal or Professional - as individual thoughts and opinions are posted

Author focuses on the opinions written in their own voices

As new blogs are posted, the old blog posts are maintained

Blogs are organised in reverse chronological order for users 

Interactive medium - readers can comment or add to the author's posts

Not Transactional - informative or educational


The Thesis Whisperer

Ebooks for Family Historians - State Library Victoria Blog

Wiki - What are Wiki articles

Screenshot of a wiki. Wikipedia page on Victoria University.

Published on Web - Open source 

Content is updated or altered

Authors usually in group

Not Formal or Professional - as content can be altered by anyone on the web

Focus is mainly on the content produced and not the individual opinions

When wiki entries are edited, a complete version history is maintained

Articles are available in the reverse chronological order - from History

Interactive medium - anyone can amend the contents or the articles

Not Transactional - informative, can be educational


Victorian Family History 

Family Search Wiki - Members of the community can submit research advice on any family history topics

Social Media explained with chocolate

Infographic titled 'Social media explained with chocolate'. Infographic text is reproduced directly below in this section.

Facebook - I like 'chocolate'

Twitter - I eat #chocolate

Pinterest - Find my home made chocolate receipe

YouTube - Watch me eating chocolate

LinkedIn - I have great skills eating chocolate

Instagram - Here is a photo of my home made chocoloate

Blog - My writitings on chocolate

Spotify - I listen to music about chocolate

Facebook & Twitter

Facebook logo. White lowercase letter 'f' on a blue square.









Twitter logo. White tweeting bird on a pale blue square.




What is Facebook - A social media tool, which allows the user to connect and share information, photos and videos, play games with connections or organise events among the connections. Facebook can be used to create a personal profile or a professional profile.

Facebook is an interactive platform.

Facebook Glossary of Terms

Features of Facebook 

  •     Groups: Share and keep in touch with the important groups.
  •     Events: Organise gatherings, respond to invites and keep up with what the group are doing.
  •     Search: Find people and contents.
  •     Notifications and News Feeds: Get alerts from groups and stay up to date with group activities
  •     Timeline: Posts and shared information are listed in the timeline of the user.
  •     Pages: Help to connect and share information with groups.
  •     Trending: Headlines for topics are automatically selected based on the engagement, timelines  and pages visited.
  •     Location Services: Share information on your location with groups.

What is Twitter - A social media and micro-blogging tool that enables users to send and read messages known as Tweets.

Twitter is an interactive platform.

A Tweet is a 140 or less characters in length.

Twitter Glossary of Terms

Features of Twitter

  •     # [hashtag]: keywords or topics in a Tweet are marked by this symbol.
  •     Search: Tweets not more than 10 days can only be searched.
  •     Timeline: Tweets occur in a timeline, showing all Tweets from chosen Twitter accounts.
  •     Retweet: Used to spread news or share information.
  •     Direct Message (DM): Private message sent to followers or received from followers.

List of Fake News websites - on Wikipedia

Watch the video (below) discussing the 'filter bubble'; the way in which social media tailors content for users, and the dangers this might entail.