4 Social Networking Sites You Need to Participate In

There is no doubt that online social networking has exploded into incredible levels of popularity in the past few years. In fact, social networking is more popular than email, and preferred over email. Almost seventy percent of recent Internet users report having visited a social networking site at least once in the past year. With these extraordinary numbers, there comes many different ways to monetize social networking.

Facebook and Twitter, currently two of the most popular social networking sites out there, are allowing people to connect with others they will probably never meet in person. Facebook, in particular, is very popular among upper-middle class individuals and is fast-growing among the 35 and up crowd. Twitter is growing in leaps and bounds every day.

While MySpace was originally the flagship social networking site for a few years, it has now been mainly relegated to teens and urban dwellers, rather than businesses hoping to make a living on it. The benefit of MySpace is mostly its heavy HTML orientation, allowing users to customize their pages relatively easily.

Facebook, in contrast, has a cleaner, starker layout that leans heavily toward updating one’s status and reading everyone else’ status updates. It is a terrific social networking tool for sharing links and photos. Some believe that Facebook is too “invasive” in terms of privacy, but the great thing about Facebook is its ability to customize settings to block certain information to network “friends.” Others use Facebook strictly for business purposes, collecting “friends” that share the same business or interests.

LinkedIn is another fantastic social network site that is growing every day. It’s like having your business card and resume out there for the world to see and to network with people that are in your particular business or service industry. LinkedIn is also geared heavily toward upper income individuals and professionals (in contrast to the more “social” MySpace). It is a good website to advertise one’s business and showcase a professional image.

Twitter is the newest social networking tool right now, and it shows tremendous promise for its ability to market to a specific group and for affiliate marketers to make huge profits. It’s very simple to use, fun, requires very little software knowledge (in contrast to MySpace), and can reach a wide or targeted audience at will. The best feature of Twitter is the easy, quick, ability to throw out links to one’s webpage.

Ways to Use Social Networks to Market Your Business Online

Considering setting up a social networking site or fan page for your business? At first, you may feel overwhelmed, confused, or uncertain about where to begin. They all offer free personal branding and methods for connecting with others and sharing information – but which is right for YOUR business?

A good starting point is understanding what each individual social networking site does – and then evaluating which site (or sites) would best help your business.

Twitter allows you to send short, quick updates to large numbers of people at once. In fact, the focus is on the message itself – and not on a profile page with pictures or extensive biographies. Another unique thing about this social network is that it links people to celebrities and people who are experts in their fields. It’s a great way to build relationships. Twitter is rapidly growing and some experts believe it may one day surpass Facebook as the most popular social network.

Facebook is great for staying in touch, maintaining more personal relationships, or building relationships with people you may (or may not) already know. Especially with the new profile page redesign, Facebook puts an emphasis on photographs as well as status updates and an information “feed” of all other activity. Businesses can create fan pages that allow people to “like” them – and provide status updates, photos, contests, and other methods of keeping customers, clients, colleagues, and other business owners up-to-date and connected. Best of all, Facebook can be linked to Twitter and simultaneously updated with minimal work. It’s been said that ignoring Facebook is business negligence, due to the sheer number of people (ahem, potential clients/customers) who use the network.

LinkedIn is first and foremost a business professional’s social network. It is perfect for connecting with and maintaining relationships with current, former and potential colleagues, customers/clients, business owners and business partners. The best part is, due to the business focus, there is little likelihood that your LinkedIn connections will be given an unprofessional glimpse into your life – which is certainly a risk with some other social networks. One downside of LinkedIn? It doesn’t have as large of an audience as Facebook or Twitter, so reaching your target audience of potential customers and clients may prove to be difficult.

Death and Social Networks

Losing a friend or family member is painful enough, but imagine when that friend’s social networking profile at Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace continues to appear on your personal wall or in searches.

In the digital age, many of us publish our entire lives through profiles, status updates, networks, photographs, blog posts, etc. With more than a million social networkers dying yearly, family, friends and service providers are stuck trying to figure out how to deal with a deceased user’s digital bits.

As a social networking guru with over 40,000 contacts spread across six social networks, one of them – Barry Epstein, of Boca Raton – advised that he was closing the accounts of his recently departed son. Aware of the “memorial” policies of Facebook, I was prompted to investigate the various social networking policies on deceased users’ accounts and what can be done to preserve, memorialize or delete them following death.

Facebook

Although not the first to establish a policy for its 500 million users worldwide, Facebook was the highest profile because of the way it addressed the issue. Rather than allowing a family member to take control of an account, Facebook instead decided to take things a step further and allowed them to be memorialized.

This is helpful for two reasons. First, it preserves the deceased user’s online identity so that only confirmed friends can visit their profile to read about them, view photos and leave posts of remembrance.

When Facebook converts an account into a memorial, the deceased user no longer pops up in Facebook’s friend suggestions. Thus we are not constantly reminded of their disappearance. The person’s profile automatically becomes private to everyone but confirmed friends. Personal identifiers and contact information are also removed to respect privacy and prevent hacking.

To establish a Facebook memorial, family or friends fill out a special contact form and provide proof of death such as an Internet link to an obituary or news article. Unlike other social networks, Facebook allows non-family to perform this task, which is helpful in a situation where the deceased user’s friends are more Internet-savvy than family – facebook.com/help/?search=deceased

Twitter

Just as Facebook allows users to request an account be deleted or memorialized when a friend or family member has passed on, Twitter users can now request a permanent back-up of the deceased user’s public tweets or a complete account deletion – twitter.com/help

Accounts of deceased users will no longer appear in the “Who to Follow” suggestion box and previously scheduled tweets are not published. At present, accounts of deceased users look exactly the same as those of living users and can be followed and listed.

To establish a permanent back-up or to delete a deceased user’s Twitter account, a family member is required to submit the user name or link to the profile page, and proof of death in the form of a public obituary or news article. Twitter also advises, “Please note that we cannot allow access to the account or disclose other non-public information regarding the account.”

MySpace

As one of the oldest social networks, MySpace has a deceased user policy that is more of a standardized policy of removal rather than memorializing. Moreover, MySpace does not adequately address privacy concerns and is susceptible to hacking – myspace.com/help.

To remove a MySpace profile, a family member must contact MySpace via e-mail with proof of death and the user’s unique identification number. A user-name is generally not acceptable.

“Unfortunately, we can’t let you access, edit, or delete any of the content or settings on the user’s profile yourself, but we’ll be sure to review and remove any content you find objectionable,” reads MySpace’s policy. This policy is not particularly helpful for older relatives that are not Internet-savvy and makes it almost impossible to remove a deceased user’s existence from MySpace.

Strangely enough, hackers can potentially access the deceased user’s account. On MySpace’s policy page is an admission admitting that anyone with access to their e-mail account can simply “retrieve the password through the forgot password link” and make any necessary changes.

“I believe social networks are really useful for memorializing the deceased,” stated Barry Epstein of Boca Raton. “No matter what one does at the memorial service, people are using social networks as a way to deal with the departed, but in a way that funerals don’t allow.”

Source: The Credit Report with Bill Lewis – Highlands Today, an edition of the Tampa Tribune – Media General Group http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2010/dec/12/death-and-social-networks/news/

Facebook Is the No. 1 Social Network Platform

The official bragging rights has gone out to Facebook which now boasts its current user as 1.7 billion. With that astronomical number it is hard for any other social media network to compete. To have billions of users is one feat on its own and to keep the network growing is another feat which is seldom to accomplish. This shows that more of the Earth’s population is growing on the internet and the need to stay connected is rapidly growing.

Now many may be saying what is the significance of the 1.7 billion other than the fact that it’s the largest number to follow a social network. The 1.7 billion number is the size of the Earth’s population a century ago. This means that a century ago, the entire earth would have been a Facebook member. That is pretty significant in terms of user base. Most networks don’t house as many as 1.7 billion users and cannot make such a bold statement. By this Facebook has set itself as the leading and No. 1 provider for social networking on the internet to-date.

Most people are familiar with such titles as MySpace, AOL, and other social media platforms which took flight when the internet took flight. Facebook has drastically changed this canvas to show that it is more than just a fad, but more of a company which has mastered the way how social networking changes not only lives, but also our perception of social networking. Facebook has dabbled in such ventures as making WiFi available at different locations on the planet by having unmanned aircraft fly over head with accessibility to the internet and making it available to anyone with a WiFi compatible device. This not only increases coverage for the internet, but also gives more exposure for Facebook which would essentially pick up new users which before might not have had the ability to get online prior to this innovation.

Companies on the verge of this announcement have spiked up there efforts in order to grasp this growing market on Facebook which currently does not seem to have an end in sight. This is huge for companies that are trying to build their network of clients and being able to reach out to them in real-time. Facebook gives that ability to companies and individuals trying to market themselves or their company brand out to the masses.