What is Social Networking?
Put simply, social networking is a way for one person to meet up with other people on the Net. That's not all though. Some people use social networking sites for meeting new friends on the Net. Other's use it to find old friends. Then there are those who use it to find people who have the same problems or interests they have, this is called niche networking.
What's Niche Networking?
A niche is a specialized group of something larger. So niche networking sites are specialized groups of social networking sites. There are niche networking sites for people who want to learn a language and niche networking sites for people who want to control their finances. There are niche networking sites on all sorts of topics. You can probably find a niche networking site on just about anything.
A good example of a niche networking site would be Athlete Focus. This is a niche networking site just for athletes that are into action type sports. Another example of a niche networking site is 43Things which is a niche networking site set up for people who have goals they want to accomplish.
Isn't Social Networking Just For Teens and 20 Somethings?
No way! Most of the people I know on social networking sites are over 30. That's not to say that there aren't a lot of teens and 20 somethings out there, there are, but they're not the only group.
The "older" crowd has a lot to offer, and I recommend they get out and do just that. Join a few social networking sites, find old friends, meet new ones. Offer up help where you can. Maybe even create your own social networking site.
How Do I Find Old Friends?
It's fun, especially for us of the "older" crowd, to go on social networking sites and hunt down old friends that we've lost contact with over the years, you can do that easily from MySpace and Facebook. Anyone with a link to the Internet has probably been on one of those sites at one time or another. If more people sign up, there would be even more old friends to find. Join a social network and search by the name of your school, you're bound to find someone.
What's Out There Besides Facebook and MySpace?
There may be as many as a thousand different social networking sites out there by now, and more starting every day. Many of them are just out there to help you meet up with new people and socialize. Some are created to help you find old friends. Others are there to help you in some way, these would be the niche networks. There are even virtual social networking sites where you can see the avatar of the personal you're chatting with.
What Will I Get Out of Social Networking?
Friendship, community, a sense of belonging. Help with a problem or information on a condition you may have. People who like the same things you like, or listen to the same music you listen to, or need the same thing you need. A place to add your photos, let people view your videos and listen to your favorite music. What more could you want?