Social Networking vs Social Bookmarking vs The Rest

(by a guest writer)

Often they overlap. Many sites fall into multiple categories. We won't obsess about the demarcation lines here.

Social Networks are groups of people who share interests and who interact in a variety of ways via software on websites. These include file-sharing, chatting, messaging, exchanging photos/video etc. Social network sites are usually free to join. Examples include Myspace, Facebook, Bebo, Orkut, LinkedIn

Social book marking sites like Digg, Propeller, Technorati, Reddit, and Stumbleupon are largely collections of users' bookmarks sometimes organised under words/terms relevant to that page. Given sufficient bookmarking of a particular page, peer users trust its usefulness as a destination worth exploring. Some argue sites like Propeller are more Social News sites but that's an argument for another page.

Social Media is more of an umbrella term including those and various others.

Wikipedia is not only one of the world's best known Social Media sites, it is also a good place to search for more information and links on social networking and social bookmarking.

Which brings us neatly to the social media sites that fall into neither of the previous two distinct categories: sites where the content is all provided and regulated by the users themselves. User Generated Content sites include Youtube, Photobucket, Squidoo, Gather, HubpagesFlickr, Metacafe etc. As those examples show, the UGC can be anything from articles to photos to video and audio content. More information on all of them can be had from the respective sites or, again, from Wikipedia.

But social media is everywhere

User generated content, user involvement, user reviews, user feedback and comments and other visitor oriented functionality isn't limited to the so called Web 2.0 companies. Mainstream, "old-fashioned" internet behemoths have jumped on the bandwagon. The BBC invites users' photo and comments, Amazon asks for their reviews and everyone from Topix to the Internet Movie Database are neck-deep in social media. So, if you do anything on the web and even if you are not interested purely in the money making potential of social media, you'll do well to pay it attention.

There will be listed here the top Social Networks worth taking a look at however, if you are interested in a specific niche, a properly crafted Google search should point you in the right direction. Note: There are several social networks out there today that are by invitation only, so you may need to know some people to get in on those, but they account for a very small shred of the social media action.

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