I have this sentence, and I'm not sure which preposition is best to use with social media.

Teens take videos and post them through social media.

Should it be--

through social media?

to social media?

on social media?

or rewrite: on social media sites?


  • All of these prepositions are acceptable and have different meanings. Jul 17, 2014 at 3:49
  • Can you explain the different meanings? I am particularly interested in the difference between using on and using to because they seem very similar to me. I agree with Henry74 that through has a broader connotation about messaging. Thanks!
    – Lacey
    Jul 17, 2014 at 21:37
  • If you want to know about the different meanings then please edit your question to ask about them. Jul 17, 2014 at 21:50
  • @curiousdannii, she asked which is best, not which are acceptable. I think this is a legitimate, answerable question that includes an example (in my opinion, the answer is to).
    – Henry74
    Jul 17, 2014 at 22:31

4 Answers 4


For your particular example, I would suggest to. I think they are all legit, though. It's the Wild West for social media language standards right now. However, I think there are some useful shades of meaning. A politician might get his message out through social media. This is about getting a message out. A teen would say they posted a picture to Facebook. So to for a specific post. through for a broader usage.

  • 1
    You make a very good point about through. Do you have any reasoning behind using to rather than on, though? For me, on sounds the most natural because I think of social media as a platform. Your thoughts?
    – Lacey
    Jul 17, 2014 at 21:40
  • 1
    I meant to mention that in my experience to and on seem synonymous. I can't personally think of a case where I wouldn't find them completely interchangeable. btw, I saw your question got a down vote. I can't imagine why; I think it's an excellent question. I gave you an upvote.
    – Henry74
    Jul 17, 2014 at 21:48
  • 1
    Thank you for your response. I've asked this question among my friends, and they also thought to was the best choice here. Their thoughts were that to was most appropriate with post as the verb and that another verb may fit better with on. I appreciate the upvote. This is my first time using any Stack Exchange board, and I found the downvote quite discouraging as a new user.
    – Lacey
    Jul 19, 2014 at 3:27

To my ears 'on' would sound best. Posting on facebook, on twitter, etc. BUT uploading to facebook, to twitter etc.

the reason why - especially facebook is because very often people are said to post messages 'on' a surface which is known as the facebook 'wall'


I would recommend using the preposition "in", thereby treating it grammatically as the noun "media". Compound nouns tend to disregard the functionalities of the noun which has been added to the original one. One would always say "in" the media" and not "on" the media. Examples of word use in, for instance, Oxford, support this rule:

‘85 % of women made decisions based on information they read in social media.’ (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/social_media)

Using Facebook and Twitter as exact synonyms for the term "social media" is misleading as they are merely examples of social media sites. When it comes to functional grammar, one should be careful interpreting contents over function.

Lastly, since social media is an abstract concept (similar to 'nature', 'society' etc.), one should avoid using the definite article "the" at all times, as it narrows down the meaning of the term.

My suggestion would be to write "on various social media sites" or "in various social media" if one desires to express volume. Again, please note that the preposition changes to match the post-head string of the prepositional phrase, which is "sites" in the first example and "media" in the latter.


Rewriting it as 'teens take videos and post them through social media sites' would make the most sense.

If you want to continue writing 'through social media', then it's better to elaborate the entire sentence by saying 'teens take videos and screen/webcast them through social media sites'. If you're writing an expository paper, saying 'post them through social media' sounds incomplete.

  • Why does it make the most sense to use through? Don't just state what you think, explain why. Give some evidence. Jul 17, 2014 at 4:11
  • 1
    They might be spreading messages through social media sites, but they are most certainly posting them to the sites; not through them to something else. Jul 18, 2014 at 18:57

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