Social media has become a popular way to share information and content with others. Social Networking Sites are the sites that host social media. For those new to social media, it is good to know what types of social network sites there are and what each does.
Probably one of the first sites to allow for social interaction, forums have been around for a while. Forums are typically comprised of people with a similar interest. Users have conversations around a particular given topic and build up relationships with each other. They provide a great deal of information about a topic and is a great way to share your knowledge.
People like to journal, and with the internet they wanted to share their lives more openly. Originally called web-logs, these personal journals have advanced. Some personal journals still exist, while other blogs discuss a particular niche or interest.
Similar to blogs, this is a micro journal of what is happening right now. These sites can share what is going on in an individual life or can be information the individual wants to share. Major news events are now breaking online via microblogs. The best known microblog is Twitter.
Social Networking Sites are known for sharing of information, in this case photos. Users upload their pictures to Photo Sharing Sites. Rather than having to send individual pictures to family, you send a single link. You can tag your photos with keywords related to the image and allow people to comment. Some popular photosharing sites are Flickr and Picasa.
YouTube is the video sharing site that almost everyone has seen. Videos are shared online, keywords are added so people can search for those terms or for the video title. People can comment if the video owner allows. Like other forms of social media it allows for a more personal look of the actual user.
Networking has long been touted as an asset in professional circles. Networking allows the person to connect with people and by those connections meet other professionals that person knows. Professional social media allows for that type of opportunity online. Thus if you move away from your home town you can still remain connected to your ex-coworkers and others in your profession. Linked In is one of the top professional social networking sites.
After you have worked with people a while, they may become your friends. Then you have friends from church, from your school, and friends you have met in a wide variety of ways. Social networking sites are about being social, so there are sites purely for allowing users to stay in touch with people whom they know. While MySpace was the leader, the current leader is Facebook. It is growing around the world.
The major purpose of these social networking sites is the sharing of information. If you read a web page that is interesting, informative, or inspirational you may choose to bookmark it. By doing this you are saying that you like it. Your friends will learn what you liked and can choose to read it. Pages that many people bookmark become popular and drive others to that page as well. Digg, Delicious, and StumpleUpon are very popular bookmarking websites.
There are other types of social networking sites out there, some are very similar to the ones mentioned here. Many sites have a major form of socializing and then use the other types as a other ways for users to interact. People love to socialize and interact, so this is a growing field with ever more sites.