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What is a social network?

Social networking happens in all walks of life, we create our own social networks all throughout life; they are the connections between us, our families, our friends and colleagues etc. Social networks play a vital role both in our personal and working lives. Many successful business enterprises rely on their staff’s ability to network efficiently and networking events where people can get together are often a staple of business life.
Online a social network is a website which looks to manipulate the natural way in which individuals interact by creating online gathering places where people from all walks of life with similar interest can connect and share with one another. Many people use them for personal use, perhaps to keep in touch with old friends or share interesting videos/ pictures etc. with their friends, but more recently organisations have been using them for business ends such as marketing, drawing customer feedback and even recruiting. Social networking websites have become vastly popular over the last few years; there’s hardly anybody who hasn’t heard of Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

Facebook is the largest social network in the world. It finds it’s success by allowing people to connect through a series of user/organisation profiles and share, discuss and create their own content; both for personal and professional ends. With the ever increasing traffic of information online people often rely on such sites to get their news, whether it be about their friends latest escapade on a Friday night or the newest article from The Economist they are sure to find the information first online. Facebook is an example of an open social network; anybody is free to join and there is no restriction as to whom they can connect with.

Another type of social network that is becoming more popular is the closed social network. Many companies are implementing social networking tools into their internal networks in order to create a system known as social learning; the use of social networking tools as collaboration or teaching mechanisms. Such a strategy allows for inter-departmental communication and a faster flow of information. The benefits of this are numerous: less time spent on projects, improved customer service and increased satisfaction for staff.

The uses of a social networking website are vast. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to market or connect with new business, recruit staff, improve customer relations, draw feedback about your product, keep in touch with friends, get the newest and most up-to-date information or simply extend your brand then a social network is for you. 


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