So far in this learning about social media series we have covered RSS, blogs, podcasts and Delicious. I was going to talk about something else this month, but social networking has seen a surge of interest of late.
First, what is a social network? In this context, it’s a way of networking online. When you go to a PRSA meeting, you catch up with people you know and you meet new people. The same thing happens online. In social networks, people tend to find others with similar interests.
According to Wikipedia, the first social networking website was Classmates.com, which began in 1995. Many others have sprung up since then. Some are focused to a particular demographic or industry. Others, like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn are more broad.
When you join a social network – typically for free – you will be able to set up your own profile page and start looking for “friends” who are also in that network.
LinkedIn’s profile pages are designed mostly for resume-type information. It’s designed for professionals to find each other.
Facebook has garnered much attention lately because it has opened up its infrastructure to allow for users to bring in non-Facebook applications, like to-do lists, Twitter posts, maps and movie ratings. (Though I did find it a little creepy that the sign up page asks if you are interested in men or women and if you are looking for a relationship, dating or random play. Hopefully, that will change as more and more professionals are using Facebook.)
Homework: Your first assignment this month his to ask three to five people you know if they are using a social networking site. Find out what they like and don’t like. Share it in the comments to this post. If you are using one, share what you like and don’t like.