Choosing a Social Network

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Social Networking: Cast Your Social Net on the Web

You’ve undoubtedly heard the names Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster thrown around in recent years. These sites are examples of online social networks, and are a tiny fraction of the number of similar sites taking root on the Web. We're all familiar with social networks offline; they could be one’s professional contacts, college friends, or family members. Online social networks take this idea of connecting with others and make it digital. Whether it’s for fun, business, romance, or any other reason, more and more people are interacting over the Net. To learn more about this phenomenon, and to do some networking of your own, use the resources provided in this guide. For a Spanish-language version of the Guide, click here.

Basics of Social Networking

Joining an online social network is pretty simple. In general, you’ll go to the site, create ... read more »

Choosing a Social Network

There are many ways to get involved in the social Web. With so many sites out there, the hardest part is choosing a social network to join. Luckily, the Web hosts social networking sites for users with a diversity of interests and backgrounds, so you’re sure to find one that fits your needs.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Social networking sites come in as many angles as are there are types of people. You’ll find massive general interest social networks (such as hi5 or MySpace), social networks for professionals (such as LinkedIn), and even very specific social networks for groups of people with a shared interest (such as Ravelry for knitters or SteamStreet for investors). Take a look at the first section of Picks below to find some lists of these sites.
  • If you’re an aspiring artist, comedian, or musician, think of your social network profile as a way to promote yourself. These sites are used as effectively for marketing as they are for entertainment. For example, many musicians on MySpace create profiles and offer a few songs for users to listen to while reading about the band. Remember though, if you want to delve into these online communities, carefully monitor what is being posted on your profile page, as it’s easy for advertisers to spam users’ comments sections.
  • Dating Web sites are a popular example of online social networking. Through these services, users can explore potential partners via online user profiles. They connect electronically, and eventually face to face. Our findingDulcinea Dating Web Guide has a collection of links to dating sites, information about how to safely engage in online dating, and tips for selecting the best dating site for your needs.
  • Professional networks allow members of the workforce to interact in an online environment that isn’t flooded by the spam, media, and inanity found on many of the popular, general networking sites. There are a few professional social networking sites below to get you started. For even more help in your job search see our findingDulcinea Job Hunting Web Guide.
  • Although many social networking sites have built-in ways to personalize your profile, independent programmers have created lots of free add-ons that can help you make yours stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking to revamp your MySpace profile or add additional features to your Facebook, try entering the desired feature (such as slideshow, wallpaper, music player, and so on) and the name of the network in a search engine, and explore the results.

Dulcinea's Picks

To explore your social networking options …
For the best social networking sites …
For popular social networks …
For photo- and video-sharing social networks …
For professional social networks …
To reconnect with old friends and classmates …
To create your own social network …
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