Back in 2010, the movie The Social Network created a big buzz in the movie industry and was critically acclaimed for its direction and screenplay. The story about how Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, became the world’s youngest billionaire spiked the interest of people around the world. According to statistics, there 1.35 billion people who are active Facebook users by the third quarter of 2014. And what’s more amazing is how a social network that started with a thousand dollar funding grew to $200 Billion’s worth. Wow!
Human beings are highly sociable by nature so it’s no wonder why the social network has become very influential to majority of people all over the world. But, the social network is not limited to Facebook alone. The number of major social networking sites is rapidly increasing and as social networkers, it is helpful for us to learn the types of social networks and understand the purpose for each type.
In our previous article we covered the differences between social media and social network. In this article we explore types of social network in order to know how you can maximize the services that each of them offer.
Personal Networks and Social Connections
This is the type of social network that most of the users know about. Its platform is usually the most user-friendly as its main goal is to keep you connected with the people on your network or your friends like what most social networking sites like to call them.
This type of network gives you the freedom to keep in touch with your friends by allowing you to share important moments with them. It also keeps you updated with what your friends have been doing lately, the places they have been, the music they’re listening to, their recent interests, milestones, thoughts, food and basically their everyday lives. The major social networks that qualify for this type are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Snapchat and Google+. These social networks hold the most number of monthly active users with Facebook on the top spot.
As the name denotes, this type of social network aims to build and enhance relationships among professionals. It gives its users the chance for career-related growth and internal company communication. The users can also search for specific occupations and join in general forums that are focused in providing professional growth and opportunities for the users. The largest professional network available today is LinkedIn.
Content and Multimedia Sharing Networks
Over the years, the social networks have made it easier for us to share videos and photos online. This type of network can also be used personally or professionally. You have the ability to boost the exposure of your online content by adding other people to your posts using the tagging and hashtag functionalities. The social networks that qualify for this type are YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest and Picasa.
Shared Interest Networks
The social network also allows people of similar personal and professional interests to hang out together online. The people who gather together create an online community and form healthy relationships for the purpose of learning new things, showcasing their skills (e.g. in photography, cooking, marketing, etc.) and keeping in touch with professional contacts. Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Meetup are social networking sites that qualify in this category.
Shared interest networks can be subdivided into smaller communities.
When you are hooked with a certain personal hobby, the satisfaction you get from finding people who share the same hobby as yours is priceless. It gives you a feeling of belongingness. This is one of the reasons why social networks that use hobbies as their core are some of the most popular nowadays.
Human beings are curious by nature, and it is a known fact that people would never run out of questions to be asked and problems to be solved. Informational communities are designed to provide answers to everyday problems of the people within the network. An example of this is when you are thinking about starting a new blog and would like to know the how-to’s and do’s and don’ts. When you go over the internet, you will find countless forums and communities filled with people who have the same concerns. Some social networks create do-it-yourself communities to allow DIY-enthusiasts to connect and interact with each other.
Educational and Academic
More than half of the population in this type of community are students who collaborate with other fellow students for conducting school-based research and investigative projects, team-up for academic projects, and join classroom forums to interact with professors. Other members of this community are academic researchers who use social networking to share their research and view the opinions of their colleagues. A popular example of this is Academia.edu that allows its users to submit their research and share it with others. The educational system is slowly adapting to this type of community in the social network.
Social networks provide us hundreds of ways to interact and build relationships with like-minded individuals. Although the feeling can be very exciting, it is always important to exercise caution when engaging in this types of relationships. Never divulge any personal information no matter what type of social network activity you are participating in.