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What is Social Networking?

By: Andrew Carr - Updated: 21 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Social Networking Internet Sites Friends

Most of you know what is intended by the term “socialising”, and a great deal of you probably do this on a frequent basis. You may also be familer with the word “networking” which is a way of mixing with various groups of people. It is commonly used in advertising concepts.

The term has until the last few years been used outside of a computerised environment. Now, the Internet has changed all that and “social networking” is now a “craze” which continues to proliferate in a big way.

There are hundreds of networking sites including popular sites such as Facebook, Bebo and Myspace, but new social networking sites are created frequently.

What Can You Do With Social Networking Sites?

So what can you do on these social networking sites? Is it just about chatting? No it is not just about chatting, it is about the whole range of available communication on the Internet. This includes chatting of course, but it also includes sharing photographs, videos, knowledge, interests and culture across region's and even whole continents.

Social networking is available in several countries. For instance Bebo has a presence in many countries. At the moment these are mainly English speaking at non-English speaking countries are now developing their own Bebo networks.

Social networking is not intended to be specific to one group of people or countries. It is intended for people from all walks of life. Some social networking sites classify their operations into various groups depending on the interest level for a particular group. For example a group may consist of people who like classical music while others may prefer rock music. Groups can also be educational general interest groups or any type of group. There are no limits placed on social networking groups as long as they are ethical and legal.

Make Private Networks

Making friends online is one thing, but you can also have a private network for your family, let’s say. It has practical uses too, such as storing documents and files for sharing, for example videos and educational material. There are many types of social network websites which present information in different ways.

For example, “YouTube” is actually a social network site as you can become a member and share videos with other people and YouTube specialises in video content. Other sites, such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace provide various kinds of interactions, such as online chatting, blogging, file sharing and games. There is also the opportunity to join various specialist groups, such as author groups to upload your latest novel for review, music groups so you can upload your own music or share music among friends.

These days, the definition of what is and what is not social networking is becoming more blurred as the number of ways to interact with other people is increasing, and with some sites it is not obvious that you can do this. Some sites “evolve” into social networking when it was not the original purpose. The reason for this is that software for blogging and forums etc is easily available and free from the internet. There are also sites which provide social networking software for free.

Basically, when it comes to the internet almost anyone can start or join a social network. All you need to do is to sign up to the various social network sites and get communicating! It is very easy to do, and if you live alone it is a very good way of meeting people online.

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