Social networking sites can be broken down further into major categories including

general purpose and special interest social networking sites with a specific niche theme. The later can be further divided into business, informational, professional, educational, hobbies, academic, demographic and news related.

Within each of these major categories, there are many thousands of communities filled with members who spend significant time on those sites.

Here are only a short list of such online communities: for seniors, christians, jewish, latino, family, college students, baby boomers, adult social sites. If we want to continue we can name social networks for gays, lesbians, teens, black people, gamers. In addition to that there are poular music, video social networks, for people developing open source, for matchmaking, for deaf people...


Here are some more examples of popular social networking websites:

Multi-User Virtual Environments

Gaming environments such as Runescape (www.runescape.com) and virtual world sites like Second Life (www.secondlife.com) allow users to interact with each other’s avatars are a virtual representation of the user.


Mobile social networks

Many online communities are now offering mobile access to their services, allowing members to interact with their personal networks via their mobile phones. Two examples are Facebook (www.facebook.com) and Bebo (www.bebo.com). Increasingly, there are mobile-led and mobile-only based communities emerging, such as Wadja (www.wadja.com).


Micro-blogging sites


Social Search sites

Sites like Wink (www.wink.com) and Spokeo (www.spokeo.com) generate results by searching across the public profiles of multiple social networking sites. This allows anyone to search by name, interest, location and other information published publicly on profiles, allowing the creation of web-based ‘dossiers’ on individuals.


Local Forums

Place based services such as Foursquere, Eastserve (www.eastserve.com), Onsnet (www.onsnetnuenen.nl), and Cybermoor (www.cybermoor.org) provide a localised form of social networking, linking online with offline activity.


Thematic Websites

The building of networks around areas of common interest is one way in which people can be brought together successfully. Sites like Netmums (www.netmums.com) are putting parents in contact with others in their area, where they can share advice, information, recommendations, information on schools and are able to network both at the local and national levels. In addition, there are also sites for those with a disability such as www.deafgateway.info which provides a place for deaf people to interact. In the social networking websites we have provided a number of social networks and described how they differ along with the types of audience they attract, their uses and benefits.

Where online social networks such as Friendster, Bebo, MySpace have been successful bringing people together based on affinity and mutual interests, business social networks are now offering exactly the same experience in the professional world. Along with LinkedIn are such offerings as http://globalriskcommunity.com – a specialised online social network for risk managers. Based on recent research this use of online networking will prove to be one of the most valuable business tools the Internet has yet provided. You can find here a comprehensive list of social networking sites for business.


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