A website that provides a venue for people to share their activities with family, friends and colleagues or to share their interest in a particular topic. Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter are the leading social sites.
Members create an online profile with biographical data, photos and any other information they choose to post. They communicate with each other by making their latest thoughts public in a blog-like format or via email, instant messaging or video chat.
What began for personal use migrated to business. Companies use social sites to advertise products, gain brand recognition, as well as expand traffic to their main website.
How It Started
Named for "six degrees of separation," SixDegrees.com was the first social site from 1997 to 2001. It was followed in 2002 by Friendster and MySpace a year later. Started by two friends, MySpace became extremely popular, and its parent company, Intermix, was acquired by News Corporation for USD $580 million two years after MySpace was launched. See Myspace
Facebook came out in 2004 targeting college students, but when it opened to everyone, it grew exponentially to become the top social site. Two years later, Twitter was launched with a different approach but created its own revolution within a short time. See Facebook
Social Site Trends
1. Prospective Employees
Employers can use information on social sites to learn about prospective employees. Reading profiles and perusing photos has become standard for human resources departments in some companies. One's job search could be affected accordingly.
2. Mobile Applications
Socializing via mobile devices is growing all the time, allowing users to continue their experience away from home, school or office. The GPS feature in smartphones adds the twist of knowing where friends are at any given moment.
3. The 21st Century Portal
Socially-established sites are becoming content-conscious. Pundits believe that in the future, all content portals will have characteristics of social networking. Moreover, beyond the sense of belonging that might be sought, people will visit these sites to be entertained or to find useful information. Social networking sites compete for attention much like the first Web portals did when the Internet exploded onto the scene in the mid-1990s. Variations are always emerging (see social networking websites