Internet social networks are websites that can help you connect and stay in touch with the people you know.
These websites contain pages for each individual member, and pages for areas that are accessible to all members.
Some websites are geared to connect with friends and family and some are geared to connect with business contacts.
• Individual profiles (including yours)
• Photo albums that members post
• A way for you to find people
• Applications, including Games
• A common area accessible to all members
• Common interest groups for you and other people to join
You can join them all, but you run the risk of not being able to keep up with them.
Before you join an internet social network, you may want to read about the dangers of social networking sites.
Once you've decided to join a site, the list below can help you chose which site to join.
You can use Facebook to find people that you have lost track of. You can use it to keep people posted on what you do, the places you visit, the pictures and videos you take. There are groups about a particular subject, or a place, or a famous person, or an activity.
You can chose to post this information for one person, for a group or for all to see.
A recent piece of news (August 2009) reported that that Bill Gates just quit using his Facebook account because he couldn't keep up with so many friends anymore. That might give you something to think about.
Some people enter status updates (tweets) very often, others let their status become stale, updating them every few days or weeks.
Twitter is immensely popular, as shown by the statistics on visitors per month. Still, a study just conducted by Pear Analytics in August 2009 shows that 40% of the "tweets" were "pointless babble".
More than before, LinkedIn is being used for job hunting and recruiting. What makes LinkedIn different than job search sites like Monster or Ladders is that whatever you post is visible to all so there is less exaggeration on resumes.
Another feature that gives LinkedIn an edge is that its capability to map people’s networks and show degrees of separation between people.
As an example, a couple of years ago, while working in a WiFi project, I was trying to get in touch with the CIO of a large entertainment company to determine how the wireless network was going to affect the company where he worked.
I called him, wrote him letters, sent him emails, to no avail. I turned to LinkedIn and found there were only two degrees of separation between him and me, meaning I had a business friend who knew the CIO in question.
I contacted my friend asking him to introduce me to the CIO. Within two days, I was in contact with the CIO, all via LinkedIn. Later, I met him and his staff and got the information I needed.
Internet social networks can help you reconnect with people from previous jobs and school mates, or just people you have lost track of. Once you find them, use the networking sites to stay in touch with them until you set the time aside to see them in person. Nothing beats that.
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