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Social networks – a primer

2 min read

Social Media

Today we continue our primer series with an excerpt from the IAB’s User Generated Content, Social Media, and Advertising – An Overview.

What are Social Networks?

Online networks like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, and LinkedIn represent some of the most dynamic and promising manifestations of social media yet. These sites allow for networking on a grand scale, where individuals can connect with others based on offline friendships, shared interests, common professional objectives, or mutual acquaintances. When users join a social networking site, they are given a page on which they can create a profile. They are urged to enter personal information such as hometown, work history, hobbies, favorite movies, interests, etc. They can then upload photos or link to other Web pages that interest them. This information is displayed on their profile page, and users are given the option of making the page public, or viewable only to those within their network. Profile pages serve as launching pads from which users explore these social networking sites. They can search for other individuals, or find people with common interests. Users who identify others they want as part of their networks invite one another to be “friends,” and such networks are displayed for others to see and browse. In this way, global networks of people with friends or interests in common are born. Like blogs and review sites, social networks allow users to place comments, photos, videos and Web links on each others’ pages, thereby sharing information and interests with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people—depending on the size of one’s network—with a single click.

What social media term(s) have you been wondering about?