Social Networking 101…

I thought I’d write this post after listening to my mum and my aunty talking about Facebook, and how they thought Facebook was the be-all and end-all of social networking (mind you, they didn’t know what social networking actually was).

It made me think about the different kinds of internet users out there. Not the ones who use the internet for a different purpose than another person, but about where those users come from.

Someone like me, for example, who uses the internet everyday, all day, for my job, to learn about the world, to communicate with my friends.

Someone like me, who writes about the internet everyday, all day, for my job

Someone like me, compared with someone like my mum, or my aunty, or anyone in their social circle, whose sole use of the internet is to go on Facebook, bid on crappy things on Trademe, and to play games.

When there are such different kinds of people using the internet, why am I surprised when my mum has no idea what Twitter, Myspace or LinkedIn is?

I don’t think my mum and aunty are alone, either. So I thought we’d take a look at some social networking basics.

Social networking is about starting and maintaining communications through websites. It is the modern form of socialising and communicating through webpages while you are online, using digital devices such as your computer, tablet or phone.

Most users subscribe to more than one social networking platform, while others will stick to just the one that suits them (such as Facebook). Many networks offer many different types of networking.

LinkedIn for example focuses on professional networking rather than social networking like Facebook or Twitter.

Once someone has signed up to a particular network, they can then gather their friends there to exchange daily greetings and regular messages, exchange photos, update statuses and so forth.

The more people you add, the wider your available network is. By adding one person, dozens if not hundreds of people you both know will become available for you to connect with, thus widening your social network.

Social networking is immensely popular because it is easy, playful, and quite motivating. Social networking makes it easy for people who may be shy or uncomfortable to reach out and talk with others they may have otherwise not. It allows you to build relationships and connections with people that will help you in your social circle or professional circle.

Quick notes:

Facebook is a place to communicate with your friends and family, to share photos, links and articles that you find interesting. Play social games and search for long-lost friends or classmates, and even chat interactively with your friends.

Twitter is like a blogging platform that you can use to send messages of 140 characters or less to your followers, whether they are your family, friends, or just the general Web community.

There’s not as much interaction or things to do like on Facebook, but that’s the appeal. People like to constantly update their lives in a couple of sentences.

LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals. It’s a way to share resources and ideas, articles of interest and to connect with people in your industry you may never get to meet in person. It’s a way to advertise your professional profile online to prospective employers.


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