So you're new (or not so new) to Jive and you want to know which one of these content types to use. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially out on the Jive Community where we have all the out of the box + environments, cases, events, etc. Let's take a look at the main ones and see when we should use them.
Discussions: there are two types of discussions, threads and questions. I tend to call threads "dialogues" as you're starting a conversation with no specific answer. A question is similar to the dialogue in that you're starting a conversation but you're looking for a specific answer. Here are some examples of each:
Thread/Dialogue - Which feature of Jive is your favorite? (I love custom streams and labels the most)
Questions - Where do I go to post bugs and suggestions? (Get Help with Jive for Teams is the answer by the way!)
Documents: like discussions these come in two flavors, uploaded files and collaborative documents. Both are used to convey information to the community in an "official" sense. Common examples of documents are how-to, FAQ, procedures, meeting notes, etc. The cool thing is that you can comment on documents so you get social functions there too.
Uploaded files are the ones that you created on your local machine and can simply upload them. Why recreate the wheel when you don't have to? These files include but are not limited to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, images and text files. In some cases the uploaded file will be displayed in the site for you to read (commonly with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, text, images). If the file is unknown it'll create a ZIP file that can be downloaded by others.
Collaborative documents are the ones created in the community. They are written and edited directly in the browser. They can be downloaded to PDF via the actions menu but typically they're left here.
Blog Posts: Like what you're reading here blog posts are typically used to convey information but unlike documents in a "for your information" or story like sense. Take this post you're reading for example. I'm conveying the information to you as an FYI but I'm not really giving you any official steps to follow. I leave that up to you to figure out (well not really you can send me a message if you have questions). Good examples of blog posts are lessons learned, promotion announcements, recipes (see Fajitas if you don't believe me) and those super cool pet picture sprees that some post... Completely Blatant and Not Ashamed Puppy Picture Blog Post.
Other good uses for blog posts is for thought leadership. Think of it as experimenting with an idea, analysis and inspiration in essay form. Can be a very powerful tool for that.
Polls: Have you ever really used one of these? While not as common as the "big three" above they can be very helpful. I have used them in classes to learn what I didn't do right from the students. For example, if I teach the students user training topics like People, Navigating, Browse/Search, Activity Engine then I put up a poll that says "which of the topics did you understand the LEAST" and based on the results I can tell how well I do. For example, if I have 15 students and 50% or more say one thing then I know I didn't teach that topic well enough for that particular class. If the results are all mixed and there's no clear "winner" then everything is okay.
Ideas: these are an add-on content type that allows the user to get a numerical value for the topic so we can quickly figure out if people are for or against something. Let's look at an example.
I post a thread looking for feedback on whether we should automatically send out the user reference guides to any customer. The thread gets say 27 responses. I can look through the responses and gauge the overall thought of that possibility.
I post an idea looking for feedback on the same thing. I get the same 27 responses but these come in the way of votes for (+5 points) or against (-5). I now have a numerical value that tells me immediately if the idea was favorably received or not. Plus, I have comments so people can give me some feedback in addition to the vote!
Now, this doesn't mean post all your questions as ideas but if you have something that you'd like a numerical value attached to it's a great tool.
Videos: another add-on content type that allows you to upload a video directly to the community. The purpose of videos are fairly straight forward so we won't dwell on them.
So now that you're armed with some information on which of the content types to use you can go forth and conquer all collaborations. Of course if you have questions please feel free to ask a question here in Space: Jive Training | Jive Community.