Social Networking:
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Social networking is the grouping of individuals into specific groups, like small rural communities or a neighborhood subdivision. Although social networking is possible in person, especially in schools or in the workplace, it is most popular online.When it comes to online social networking, websites are commonly used. These websites are known as social sites. Social networking websites function like an online community of internet users. Depending on the website in question, many of these online community members share a common interest such as hobbies, religion, or politics. Once you are granted access to a social networking website you can begin to socialize. This socialization may include reading the profile pages of other members and possibly even contacting them.

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Social Networking

Social networking, by definition, is the grouping of individuals into specific groups. Social networking can be done face to face, as it traditionally was, but is now a very popular trend through online communities. Individuals from all races, backgrounds, countries, etc get together through websites referred to as “social sites”. There are hundreds of different social sites on the web for people to use for networking, but the four most popular today are Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Once you sign up for either of these sites, you can begin socializing.

Marketers recognize that social networking is a very popular, ever growing trend amongst people of all demographics and geographics, so they are jumping at the opportunity to use it to their advantage. Many companies are using popular social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace to target specific markets. Companies can pay to use space on sites like Facebook and Myspace for their advertisements, which can be plain text, graphics, or even animation and audio. By using the databases that many of the sites offer, companies can target to specific groups based on age, gender, race, geographics, and more. They can track the progress of their ad, gain insight on who is clicking on their ads, and make any needed modifications to maximize their results.

The biggest strength of social networking is the number of people around the world that use it in their day to day lives. Since 2006, social networking has grown 93% amongst U.S. internet users, which means about 1/3 (32%) of users spend their time communicating online. It’s also very inexpensive to advertise using social networking, since you can create an account on many sites for free and advertise your business or start your own blog, and have millions of viewers every day.

The negative aspect of social networking is that your company’s reputation/image can be damaged very quickly. Since there are so many viewers, your exposure is a lot higher and the pressure to do everything correctly is increased. You have to be very mindful of the content and appearance of your ads and blogs. Social networking has the opportunity to expand since online communication is continuing to rise every year, and there so far isn’t any technology out there to threaten the life of social networking via online communications.

Though social networking is a wonderful thing, it does have its pitfalls. You have to be aware of the effects of too much bandwidth and storage consumption, potential legal liability, exposure to malware, disclosure of personal information, and risk of leaking corporate secrets. There are hundreds of companies that are beginning to use social networking to their advantage, but the majority of the companies seem to be companies with the same, or similar, target markets. This target market appears to be for Generation Y and Generation Z. The main companies that use social networking are soda companies, credit card companies, and sports apparel and fast food companies.

Social networking is a significant trend for marketers to recognize and act a pun. With millions of people using the web to communicate every day, it’s crucial for marketers to take advantage of it to advertise and promote their business.