Social networking sites have drawn in users by millions since they have been introduced on the net. They are also rapidly drawing the attention of industry and academic researchers who are amazed at their reach.
When you browse the net, you will come across hundreds of such sites which offer various technical facilities and support a wide variety of practices. These sites will also differ depending on how they will assimilate information tools such as video sharing, blogging or mobile phone connectivity.
Social networking sites are actually web based services that will allow people to create a public or a semi public profile within an environment. These people will interact with other users by sharing a connection.
The first identifiable social network website was started in 1997 when Sixdegrees.com was allowed to open a platform for users to create their profiles and list their friends or contacts. Sites like Classmates.com got people together to associate with their high school or college pals and they could then open alumni pages or albums.
The modus operandi of these sites is to create a visible profile that will display a list of the user’s friends or acquaintances. The initiation process is very simple where anyone can enter and open a profile page. Most sites invite people to upload their photos in their profile pages.
The profile page visibility will vary from site to site and will also depend on the discretion of the user. Profiles on sites like Tribe.net and Friendster are search engine crawled and they are visible to anyone, regardless of whether the viewer has an account or not. In comparison, LinkedIn will control what a viewer can see depending on whether he or she has a paid up account. Sites like MySpace will allow their users to select whether they would like their profiles to be totally public or limited to friends only. Facebook has decided to take a different outlook. Users who are using the same network can see each other’s profile pages unless a particular profile user has denied permission to certain users in the network.
When they join a social network, users are encouraged to identify their friends in the system with whom they would like to have a connection. These may fall into the categories of friends, contacts or fans. Most social networking sites also allow a facility for users to leave messages on their friends’ profiles.
The most popular Social Networking Sites in terms of usage and popularity as per a recent survey are:
- Google Plus