Social networks are the latest and greatest trend on the internet.
They are fantastic tools and a great way to not only keep in touch with friends and family, but to network and create new personal and business relationships as well. They have gone as far as dramatically changing political landscapes, generating billions of dollars in revenue and made and broken businesses.
Social networks come in all sizes and shapes, each having its own flavor and style. Some are made specifically for news, some for personal and business relationships, others for geolocation.
Let's explore these social networks in further detail, what they're purposes are, and what you can do with them.
Twitter is a massive online social network and micro blogging service that allows users to post 140 character updates or "tweets." It's by far the fastest growing social network, and just about every business out there should be tweeting about their product or service. With it you can follow other tweeters or have people follow you.
rt (re-tweeting) RT stands for "re-tweet" and describes when a user re-tweets or quotes another users post. This is an automatic feature that any user can utilize.
follow Follow is a term describing the action of bookmarking another user within twitter. When you follow somebody, others perceive that as you being interested in what that user has to say. When you follow somebody their tweets will appear in your twitter feed when you log into the website.
hash tags / trends Users can group posts together by using hash tags (# sign). When users add these into their posts they create automatic hyperlinks to search for these terms and inform Twitter that the keyword or phrase is important. Hash tags are a way to measure trends and show how much buzz is surrounding a particular topic.
Facebook is by far the biggest social network on the internet. With over 800 million active users it generates more page views than Google. You can invite members to your events, and can also tag your location with the Facebook service called "places."
pages Pages are for organizations, businesses, celebrities, and bands to broadcast great information in an official, public manner to people who choose to connect with them
events Facebook allows its users to easily create events and invite other users to the event. This is a great tool to invite other users with like interests to take part in the event you are throwing.
places Places is a Facebook feature that allows you to see where your friends are and share your location in the real world. When you use Places, you will be able to see if any of your friends are currently checked in nearby and connect with them easily.
LinkedIn is another online social network but geared towards professionals, businesses and organizations. It allows you to connect with other members, expanding your business network through their contacts. LinkedIn can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one's contact network. When networking with other users this is called "connecting" and users that you link to are referred to as "connections."
connection levels Your network is built up of your direct contacts but can be expanded. LinkedIn allows you to connect with the networks of your contacts which is termed a "second degree connection." It further allows to you to go another level deep, connecting with your second degree connections’ contacts which is termed a "third degree connection."
Google Plus is the latest competition to the world of social networks, it's basically Google's version of Facebook, in fact it looks a lot like Facebook. It just got out of beta status, and it's already giving Facebook a run for it's money, and if you already have a Google account, which almost everybody does (you do if you have a gmail account), then you can create a Google+ account with a mouse click.
The biggest difference it has is that instead of lumping all of your friends into one giant group, you can split them up into various groups which Google refers to as "circles". You can then give these circles different permissions to access your content and updates, and publish messages to specific groups.
FourSquare is an online service that allows its users to geo-tag or "check-in" any location that they are currently in with a mobile device. The website uses "game theory" by awarded points and badges for checking into locations with certain tags.
Reddit is a massive online link aggregator website where members or "redditors" can not only post links, questions and short commentaries on any subject, but also vote on links and content posted by other users, and comment on their comment. Reddit is a great website to post up links to content you wish to share with the world.
Reddit has a plethora of "sub reddits" which are basically groups that are divided by subject. These help split up the topics that people create submission for, and make navigating the website much easier.
To show how popular the website is, in December 2011 Reddit received over 2 billion page views!
Digg is another huge online link aggregator but geared more toward linking to content on other websites than reddit. Digg users are referred to as "diggers." Digg is also another fantastic website for sharing articles and links with the world.
YouTube is the biggest online video website in the world, owned by Google it’s extremely easily to use and upload content to. The maximum video length that users are allowed to upload is 15 minutes. YouTube can be a great tool to channel users to your website if you have high quality content.
Tumblr is a free blogging service that anybody can use to easily post photos, videos and short or full blog posts. It’s an extremely easy to use service, and simplifies the blogging experience. All Tumblr users can interact with other users based on the permissions levels that each blogger sets up within their account.