Hence the need for social network websites. These websites are designed to build online communities of people who share interests and activities with others. These websites provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.
Social networking has created new ways to communicate and share information. Social networking websites are being used regularly by millions of people and has become a part of everyday life.
Here are some of the most popular social network websites:
Facebook’s target audience is more for youths than adults. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by workplace, school, or college. The website’s name stems from the name of books given to students at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the US with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better.
MySpace was the most popular social network in the US in 2006–but beset by problems, controversy, and criticism, its popularity has since faded. Still, after Facebook, it remains one of the most robust social networks in the US. Moving forward, MySpace intends to focus on becoming a hub for discovering and sharing games, music, and video, PC World notes. Although more open than Facebook, MySpace, perhaps taking advantage of the recent row over Facebook’s more permissive privacy settings, has recently introduced a new, one-click privacy option that allows people to “hide their entire profile to everyone but their friends,” PC World explains.
Pip.io lets users define their audience as loosely or as broadly as they choose. In the company’s own words, “Pip.io helps us organize the people we know so that we can say what we want to who we want.” Users can choose to make contacts “bi-directional,” allowing for back-and-forth communication, or “uni-directional,” which allows communication in only one direction and blocks personal messaging. Users can create invite-only environments called Rooms, where a private feed is established and cannot be viewed by outsiders the way Facebook Pages can be. What’s more, posts made on Pip.io have no character limit and can contain in-line media (unlike Twitter). Plus, the user Interface is clean, simple and easy to use.
Built directly into Gmail, Google Buzz lets users follow the email contacts with whom they correspond most frequently. There’s no need to set up a new account and profile, plus Buzz connects to users’ Picasa, Twitter, Flickr, Google Reader, and native blog accounts to streamline their online activity into one feed that allows in-line media. Privacy settings are saved from post-to-post, so if you limit one post to only a handful of followers, your next post won’t be made public automatically. While most chat threads are automatically cached, “off the record” chats are never stored. Buzz, which Google says aims to solve a “relevancy and ranking problem” on the web, identifies posts that may interest the user and highlighting posts that are popular among a user’s followers. To top it off, the Buzz interface is intuitive and user-friendly. There’s even a robust Mobile Interface that allows users to identify other “Buzzers” located nearby.