Social networking is the talk of the day. We see it being mentioned with every strike of the key. Social networking websites connect people with others who share similar interests. People can have their profiles online and share media files such as videos, photos as well as music with friends.
The idea behind the social networks is that they operate on many levels, right from the family level up to the level of the nations. They have come to play a very important role in determining how problems are solved, how organizations are run, and the efficiency with which individuals succeed in achieving their goals.
Previously, there were bulletin board systems to communicate with people and network with them. This changed and gave way to a more open and personalized system, where it is possible to connect with each other visually and in the most appealing manner.
You would have heard of MySpace and Facebook, which are the top two social networking sites today. Both are innovative in their own way. MySpace is extremely popular and it allows users to customize their pages, share videos with friends as well as embed music. Facebook took the internet by storm when it went a step ahead and allowed people to create widgets for the site. These top social networking sites make people feel at home and this is what makes everyone from young to old feel comfortable about using these sites extensively. It is interesting to note that MySpace founder, Tom Anderson ensures that his friendly presence is felt among the registered users and welcomes each new member of the site by making them his “friend.”
You must be wondering how these sites earn when they provide everything for free. Advertising! They bring in revenues by running advertising. These sites are great for advertisers as they can reach millions of people. These networking sites have come up with a targeted ad solution where the advertiser reaches people going by the user profiles and interests. This is what makes social networking sites a haven for advertisers too. If you have a product on “music” you wish to promote, all you need to do is to join one of these social networking sites and promote it to music lovers. Imagine the number of targeted visitors to your website.
There are many social networking sites that focus on business and allow users to post their career profile and look for jobs. There are other networking sites that are niche sites and cater to specific groups of people.
Social networking sites continue to improve in what they provide, in order to attract more new users as well as retain current users, which is no mean feat. People get bored easily and they are always looking for change and something new. Social networking sites vie with each other to do one better and this proves to be a benefit for the people.
Another twist to the social networking sites is the “social media” sites, where people can share news, personal experiences, reviews and favorite websites with other people. Digg, which is a social news site, allows people to select interesting news or blog posts. When a news item or blog post is “dugg,” by other users, it gets prominence in terms of placement on the site.
Because of the popularity of these sites, big companies have their eyes on them and they are being bought for enormous amounts of money. Recently, Bebo, another social networking site, second only to MySpace and Facebook was bought by AOL for $856 million.
The best part is that all these sites are extremely easy to join and this makes it all the more interesting to today’s teenager, who has no patience to fill up long complicated forms. They can add friends with the click of a button that says, “Add as friend.” Once this is done, they become members of the network and vice versa. Then they know everyone who is on their friend’s friends list too and that is how the network expands.
In spite of there being concerns with several reports of sexual predators and safety issues and although this led to them tightening their policies and security guidelines, social networking sites continue to rise in popularity because of the huge number of people with varied interests that can be reached.