This is a subject that got me thinking when I was considering the use of Social Networks now why are in the digital age and how old we should be before we starting using such services like Facebook and Twitter just to mention the two in the news right now.
What is a Social Network?
Taken from Wikipedia
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.
With this definition it seems that a social network can involve anyone that has a vested interest in anything whether it be something like a friendship to just having something in common. Both of which have their own merits, but with the internet knocking down geographical barriers and bring more and more people together do we really use the Social Network tools at our disposal properly?
The key answer to that is understand what each are trying to achieve and how we can best use them.
Understanding the different Social Networks
Lets start with the Grandad which has be said is My Space now this was one of the first social network utility of the type we are discussing on the internet and it has been a great launch pad for music artists. Although the amount of people now using it is declining with the success of Facebook, it does remain a good place to showcase your musical work, as the profile is more open then Facebook and others giving you the ability to leave certain stuff completely open and others not.
Bebo was the next one to come along and that got more into the spirit of the teens and keeping their profiles safe a secure more then My Space that being said all social networking tools have the capability to hide things away, Bebo attempted and succeeded on trying to do what Facebook is now.
Now for the Facebook, now it has to be said this in now people’s social hub of the internet and it is one of the best ways to keep in contact with old and new friends while keeping up to date with your favourite band or movie star. It gives you the ability to connect with new people in a restricted way as you can post views on topics if they have their own walls so giving you the chance to extend your social network but at the same time keep your personal life personal.
Moving on to Twitter this is the most open out of all the social networks but it isn’t designed to be quite as personal the idea is that you can leave short updates of what you are doing or what is on your mind and it goes out into the cloud. Like all the other social networks it has the capability to be private with its settings however it does go against the idea behind it.
So the low down and what this all means
At the moment with the way the internet is you really only have 2 main choices and that is Facebook and Twitter, I believe you can use these together to achieve your end goals but use them in different ways.
Twitter I started off using as a way to promote content on my sites, and then went on to using it everyday just to tweet about what I felt strongly about or what I was watching in my opinion twitter brings together what a Internet Age Social Network is. The ability to share snippets of information with everyone and then finding like minded people where you can discuss these matters, and build a relationship this based on a common interest and or goal.
Facebook on the other hand is the other main contender because it offers so much more in the way of functionality but at the same time can be far more restrictive in the fact you have to know the individual to add them or share information with them. Where as Twitter it goes out to anyone that wants to search for that particular topic.
Is one better than the other though the answer would be no, they all have their flaws and benefits its just understanding them in order to exploit these amazing tools to their best use.
Feel free to comment on your experiences with the social networks and how you think they are best used!