A very popular component of the Internet today is the social network. A social network is a website that connects its users by allowing them to communicate with each other, share pictures, share information, and share ideas. Social networks also make it easy for people to form groups of friends based on common interest. Social media is the term used to describe the sharing of media (photos, videos, audio, text messages) via a social network. Many people feel that social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have changed the way people use the Internet. Listed below are some of the most popular social networking websites.
|Website||URL Address||Number of Users Per Month||Description|
|http://www.facebook.com/||1.87 Billion as of January 2017||Most popular social network on the Internet. Allows users to set up a profile that can be used as a custom web page, where users can share photos, videos, audio, text, web links, etc. Users can choose who has access to the content shared by specifying “friends.”|
|http://www.twitter.com/||313,000,00 as of 2016||Allows users to set up a profile that can be used as a custom web page. Users can only share 280-character messages per post; users can share photos, videos, and audio by sharing links to the content. Users can choose who has access to shared content by specifying “followers.”|
|Google +||http://plus.google.com/||2.5 Billion as of 2017||Google’s social network; allows users to share information such as photos, videos, and audio. Similar to Facebook.|
|https://www.instagram.com/||100,000,000 as of 2016||Mobile photo sharing application. Users can share photo and video with others. Users can choose who has access to shared content by specifying “followers.”|
|http://www.linkedin.com/||433,000,000 as of 2016||Professional social network allowing users to connect with past, current, or prospective employers, employees, or colleagues. Provides services for job search and resume posting. Users can make a profile to share employment history and related information. Users can choose who has access to posted content by making “connections” with other users.|
|http://www.pinterest.com/||110,000,000 as of 2016||Idea-sharing website where users can share images or videos to their "boards" and browse content shared by other users.|
|YouTube||http://www.youtube.com/||Over 1 Billion users monthly as of 2016||Most popular video sharing network where users can upload video, create channels, and video blog.|
|https://www.whatsapp.com/||Over 1 Billion as of 2016||Messaging application that gives users the ability to communicate and share via text or voice instantly.|
|https://www.tencent.com/en-us/system.html||853,000,000 as of 2016||
Instant messaging (chat-based) social media platform. It became international (with more than 80 countries using it), after it was launched in China.
It can be used to stay in touch with friends through texts, video calls, and voice chats. It even has a built-in translator to translate your chats.
|https://web.wechat.com/||697,000,000 as of 2016||All-in-one communications app for messaging and calling (similar to WhatsApp) that enables you to connect with the people of your choice. It was also developed by Tencent in China and can easily work alongside QQ.|
|Qzone||http://qzone.qq.com/||640,000,000 as of 2016||Similar to QQ and WeChat, Qzone is another social networking service developed by Tencent. It enables you to share photos, watch videos, listen to songs, write blogs, maintain diaries, and so on. It also empowers you to choose the accessories and customize the look and feel of your Qzone web pages.|
|Tumblr||https://www.tumblr.com/||227, 000,000 as of 2016||Tumblr serves as a social media and microblogging platform that can be used to find and follow things that you like. You can also use it to post anything, including multimedia, to a short-form blog.|
There is no doubt that social networks have had a huge impact on how people use the Internet. For many individuals, social networks are a major part of their lives. Businesses and organizations are realizing the potential of social networks as they seek to develop more personal relationships with customers and clients. While there are many benefits to social networking, recall that there are also risks associated with social networking as well. Listed below are some of the pros and cons of social networks.
|Social networking sites encourage greater collaboration amongst users||The potential for cyber bullying is increased as users collaborate with one another|
|Social networking sites build communities around special interest||
Social networks can increase the risk of computer addiction as users engage more with friends
Social networks can increase the amount of time wasted engaging in social media as opposed to being productive
|Social networks increase community access to information||Social networks increase the potential for personal information to be compromised or stolen|
|Social networks enable people with common interest to meet||Social media can cause relationship problems|
|Social networks provide fast sharing of information||Social media sometimes provides false information|
|Social networks are a great way to market or promote a product||
Social media can be used for cyberbullying
Social media can be used to discriminate against other people
|Social networks can aid law enforcement agencies in catching criminals||Social media can compromise personal privacy|