Social Media is media that enables social communication through the use of web based technologies. There are a lot of social media websites available for social communications. Popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.
Facebook is the most popular social media website on the Internet. Facebook was launched in February 2004 and is owned by Facebook, Inc. As of 2010, Facebook has over 500 million users. At Facebook, users can create a profile, add friends, join different groups and will be automatically notified when some of their friends update their profile. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his friends. Initially Facebook was limited to only Harvard students, but now anyone over 13 can use Facebook.
Along with popularity, Facebook has met several controversies. In 2009, Facebook was blocked in several countries including Pakistan, Syria, People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, Iran, Uzbekistan and North Korea. The safety of its users has been compromised several times. Facebook allow users to set their own privacy and choose who can see various parts of their profile. This website is free to use and makes revenue through the use of banner ads. At Facebook users can ‘like’ pages which are maintained by organizations as a means of advertising.
Twitter is another social networking site. Owned by Twitter, Inc, it offers social networking and a micro-blogging service. It enables users to send and receive messages called ‘tweets’. Tweets are visible to anyone who is following a person. If a person wants to restrict his tweets to only authorized users, he can do so by making his profile private. If a person is subscribed to some others tweets, then the first person is said to be ‘following’ the other. Twitter was created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey and has over 190 million users worldwide. Twitter also includes a feature called “Twitter Lists”, that enables users to follow lists of authors instead of individual authors. For example, a list can be created for a football club which lists the players and others members of that club. The twitter lists feature was added to Twitter in late 2009.
Unlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is a professional social networking site. LinkedIn was launched in 2003 and has over 75 million users all over the world. LinkedIn is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. At LinkedIn, a registered user can maintain a list of contact details of people they know. People in the list are called ‘connections’ and a user can invite anyone to become a connection. LinkedIn is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in Omaha, Chicago, New York and London. Reid Hoffman is the Founder of Linkedin, who is now Chairman of the Board. Jeff Weiner is the current CEO of LinkedIn.
Whilst there are more than these three sites, they are currently maintained to be the most important sites due to their wide reach and large user bases.