Social Networking Sites Explained

Social Networking Sites Explained

Many freelance writers would like to use social networking sites to develop their business, but find the whole concept of social networking a little overwhelming (or even intimidating!).

As a starting point to using social networking sites for business, let’s establish what all the sites are, what they offer, and how they differ:

Facebook– A free social networking site where users can create a profile, add friends, send them messages, and also post their random news, opinions and thoughts on their Facebook ‘wall’: a newsfeed which works like a kind of shared noticeboard made up of wall posts, photos and even videos from the connected members. With all this and more, it’s no wonder that Facebook has over 350 million active users worldwide, making it one of the most used social networking sites.

Twitter– A free social networking site and microblogging service that enables users to send and read text-based messages (up to a maximum of 140 characters). The messages are called tweets. Through posting tweets you can let others know what you are doing or thinking at any time, day or night. In turn, you can keep track of what other people are up to, by keeping an eye on their updates, or by receiving their updates directly to your phone in the form of SMS text messages.

LinkedIn– A free business-orientated social networking site with over 50 million registered members worldwide. Mainly used for professional networking, LinkedIn is in fact the No.1 business social networking website in the world. Members post their profile, photograph and information about their qualifications, skills and services they can provide. After ‘connecting’ with others in the business world (trusted contacts), members can then exchange ideas, current information, useful knowledge, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals. LinkedIn also allows members to stay in touch with colleagues and friends, find experts in a whole range of professional fields, and also to explore work-related opportunities that they might otherwise not have known about (had they not become a LinkedIn member).


MySpace– For a long time MySpace was recognised as the world’s No.1 free social networking site, until it was eventually eclipsed by Facebook. It offers similar functions to Facebook (profile creation, messaging, wall posting and photo/video sharing).

YouTube– YouTube is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos for free. As well as user-generated clips, YouTube also offers music videos, clips from film and TV, and instructional videos and video blogs.

Jaiku– Like Twitter, Jaiku is a free social networking, micro-blogging and lifestreaming service. Lifestreaming? This is where registered Jaiku members connect with friends sharing short messages. You can have a ‘stream’ of messages on your Jaiku page or sent from your phone to others in the form of a text message (standard operator charges apply). Although Jaiku does not enjoy the same high profile or popularity as Twitter, it is none-the-less an easy-to-use micro-blogging site which offers exciting functionality and applications.



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