Social Media Sites
There is more to social media sites than the ability to share breakfast plans with the world and post embarrassing pictures of friends. No matter if users want to meet others from around the globe who share their passions or to chat with business connections in hopes of landing a new job, a social network exists to meet their needs. The following list explores some of the best social media sites around, so get ready to opt-in.
- Facebook. Without question, Facebook is the ruler of all social networks. With a base of over 500 million users worldwide, it is the perfect site to get in touch with lost friends or to network with others having similar interests. Although Facebook occasionally takes flack for its approach to privacy, it remains the destination of choice for those who want a safe, easy point of entry into the net's many social media sites.
- Twitter. If Facebook is all about whispering to friends and colleagues, then Twitter is about shouting very short messages to the world. Unlike other social media sites, Twitter does not generally restrict who can see a user's messages when she releases them into the “Twitter Stream.” This makes it especially useful for getting answers to questions and finding solutions to problems. If a user tweets for assistance with a particular software product, for example, another user is sure to see it and respond.
- LinkedIn. Built specifically for business networking, deal making, and collaboration, LinkedIn is a social media site that demands a professional attitude from its users. The site offers access to groups organized around professions and industries as well as the ability to create a list of connections to follow personally. The site's greatest value is the ability to introduce colleagues to new connections, thus increasing the size of everyone's personal network and expanding the opportunities it can bring.
- Goodreads. The place where readers, writers and poets gather online to share their book recommendations, Goodreads has created the ultimate social media site for literature lovers. Savvy users can easily use it as a way to see what friends are reading, allowing them to add previously unknown titles to their own lists.
- Academia.edu. Social media sites often make it into the news because some celebrity posted something a little too candid or someone lost a job due to uploading a questionable video. Those situations are not likely to occur at Academia.edu. Built to bring scholars and researchers together, the site provides users with an easy way to keep up with developments in their fields. While the audience may be specialized, it fills a gap in the social media landscape for lovers of all things brainy and obscure.
- deviantArt. Providing a space for visual artists to gather and share their work with other digital creators and art lovers, deviantArt is a very popular social media site. The community boasts over thirteen million users. The artwork on display is often of very high quality.
- Ning. While other social media sites try to anticipate a particular need and build a mega-site around that market, Ning actually provides individual users the tools they need to create their own miniature social networking sites. Users who cannot find an easy way to connect with others in their niche—or who want to integrate social networking options into their own website—can make use of this site to grow a community around just about any topic.