Social networking is the grouping of individuals into certain groups in which they can get to know each other. Social networking websites allow people to communicate easily with one another online. These sites include Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and much more. As the popularity of social networks can increased, not only are college students taking advantage of shared information, business professionals, corporations, and governments are taking an interest as well. People are able to post their pictures, thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Social networking websites enable those to reconnect with lost friends, keep in touch with current friends, and meet new people.
Take caution when putting your personal information on social networking sites. Although information may seem harmless, it can be accessed by your employer, hackers, or people for whom it may not be intended to see. According to the New York Times, networks like Facebook, are the online version of gossip on the bathroom wall. Gossip and rumors are spread quickly, hurting many along the way.
As businesses start expanding and growing, the idea of social networking causes alarm to most employers. Will private information be safe guarded? How will they be able to protect the company's intangible assets? As the San Francisco Chronicle suggests, companies are fearful of social networking sites like Facebook. Controlling communications on social networking sites is a lot more complicated than controlling information on instant messaging or e-mail. IM and e-mail uses standard protocol, which means you just have to be in the correct spot in the network to monitor it. Social networking sites are out of their IT systems, therefore attempting to control it will be very difficult.
Despite the fact that many companies are worried about the potential dangers that may occur through social websites, there is no denying that corporations who do not find a way to effectively integrate social networks will be at a disadvantage to those who have had a head start. Investor's Business Daily researches that Microsoft is starting to embrace social networks. The company has integrated Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn into its Outlook e-mail. They have created a "I like it" tag similar to Facebook's "Like" button. Employees can tag the "I like it" when going over certain documents. Microsoft has essentially created a social hub.
Google has also created it's own social networking site which increases competition for Microsoft. According to Information Week,Google's launch of Orkut and Google Buzz was not a fan favorite. Google was sued for Google Buzz for making private data of users publicly available without the user's knowledge or authorization. This information include; place of resident, email contacts, occupation, and complaint claims. Google is making revisions to Google Buzz and is determined to become a leader in the social networking game. The company has contracted with an international executive-search firm to lead them. Information week then did a follow up article criticizing that Google may be too late in the game.
Attached is the top rated social networking websites and forums according to Social Media Today.