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What is a Social Networking Site?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 17, 2024
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A social networking site is a website where individuals can set up an online profile, describing his/her interests, and add links to other profiles. Generally, users are able to post personal information, including photographs, videos, and blog entries. One such site, MySpace, has been extremely popular both with individuals and with music groups, who can post their songs on their profile pages and advertise their tour dates. Many bands will attempt to solicit as many "friends" as possible on these sites, so that more people will be aware of their music.

Sites for social networking are popular with people all over the world, particularly teenagers and people in their 20s. Because it is so popular with teenagers, some people are concerned that teenagers and kids who post personal information on these sites are at risk of being solicited by pedophiles. As a result, some sites have taken precautions to monitor the information provided by underage patrons; however, there is no way to enforce proof of age or identity, so this issue is currently unresolved.

Social networking sites can be a great way to stay in touch with a large group of people. If you have news you'd like to share with everyone you know, you can simply post it on your own personal bulletin board, and it will be distributed to everyone on your friends list. These sites can also be helpful for connecting with new people, whether on a business, friendship, or a romantic level.

On some social networking sites, you can only make a connection with someone who is already linked to people that you have claimed as friends. On others, it is possible to contact anyone you like. However, some people claim to make their profiles private, and available only to people they select as their friends. This can be a wise decision, particularly if you have information available on a site that you would not want the general public, such as a family member or an employer, to see.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon350641 — On Oct 07, 2013

Social networks are a blessing if one uses them for the right things, but they can be a curse if an individual uses them for the wrong things.

By stoneMason — On Dec 15, 2012

I don't like social networking sites. They're impersonal and people share too much about their private life I would rather not know about.

By donasmrs — On Dec 15, 2012
People have been talking about several sites all the time for the past few years. The ones I know of are MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and Google Plus.

I'm not too great with technology, so I didn't think about joining until recently. I just made a couple of profiles last week and added all my contacts. So far, I'm loving it. I feel like I don't even need to call or email anyone anymore because they're all online.

By ZipLine — On Dec 14, 2012
Social networking sites are a great way to express individuality and opinions. But people tend to forget that it is public and easily accessible.

Many people have gotten sacked from their job or simply not hired in the past couple of years due to the information they shared on a social networking site. Employers are now looking at people's social networking profiles to get to know them more. So it's a good idea to keep things clean and respectful on these sites. You never know who might be looking.

By CalebDrew — On Aug 03, 2011

Social networking sites become a part of user's life in every country. I think in some years people will forget how to get acquainted with a girl without sites like Facebook or Twitter. But it's a good way to have useful contacts. As for me, it helped me to find good info for my research paper two years ago, because the libraries didn't have enough materials, especially in IT.

By anon121440 — On Oct 24, 2010

Indeed, social networking websites are gate way to get connected with people and friends.

By anon115065 — On Sep 30, 2010

@Anon114085: I just checked out the site and it looks like it could be a great new social networking site. I wouldn't change it to find a niche, instead I would keep it like it is and try to get the word out.

By anon114905 — On Sep 30, 2010

Social networking seems to be the best and powerful tool in communicating with individuals, for it reaches those who are in faraway places, linking people.

I am currently conducting a research on the "effects of social networking among students," and any help, suggestions and guidance would be of great help to me and an honor to the successful pursuit of my research study.

--zector

By anon114085 — On Sep 27, 2010

I am trying to get a new social networking site called abuzzling off the ground and it's been slow going. Perhaps it's best to find a niche.

By latte31 — On Aug 06, 2010

You know there is a company that can set up your own social network platform. Elgg is a type of search engine that offers to set up social network platform.

The site is free to download. It gives you direction on how to set up the site on your own, but it also provides information on partners of the site that might be able to set up the site for you.

By icecream17 — On Aug 06, 2010

Social networking web sites are great way for people to reconnect with old friends. Many people talk about finding friends that they haven't seen in years.

But like with anything on the Internet, you have to be careful. Although this is a friendly site you should never post any personal information like your address or phone number or any other information were person can track you down.

Many top social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace now offer additional security to protect its members. But it is still a safe precaution to keep personal information off the Internet.

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