We guide you through the world of the social networking websites and show you the most popular ones.

Top Social Networking WebSites in the General Interest category are:

Facebook: was designed as a social networking site for Harvard students. After spreading from Harvard through the university ranks and down into high school, Facebook was opened to the public in 2006. Currently is the number 1 social networking site.

MySpace: Started in 2003, MySpace was a pioner in popularizing social networking and still maintains a large user base. Recently MySpace was overtaken by Facebook and it is still remains a popular and highly customizable social network.

Twitter: What started out as a microblogging service and has quickly grown into a social messaging platform and one of the top social networks in the world. Twitter has unique real time search functionality which makes it one of the phenomenon in the social networking landskape. Twitter can be used as outlet for news, trends, buzz, and chat among many other uses.

Ning: A social network for creating social networks, Ning takes the idea of social networking to a whole new level. The ability to create your own community makes Ning a great home away from home for organizations, entrepreneurs and political groups looking to create niche social networks.

A different branch of the social networking websites are niche social networking websites, which are social networks targeted at a specific audience. This includes social networking for the family, for business, for music, etc. By targeting a specific audience, a niche social networking site is able to create a greater link between people.

The following is a list of the top social networking websites that target specific audience or cater to a special niche market:

43 Things: A social networking website that targets goal-setting, members are interlinked by the goals they are going after and the goals they have completed.

BlackPlanet: One of the oldest social networks, and the most popular special interest social especially among African-Americans.

Broadcaster: A social network centered around video allowing people to upload their own video clips. engage in video chats with other members, and send video e-mail.

Care2: Green living beyond just social networking, Care2 offers email, blogging, shopping, and more, all catered to those wishing to live a green life.

Classmates: Founded in 1995, Classmates was one of the first social networks on the web and still caters primarily to schools and colleges. Classmates charges a fee for advanced services that are usually free on other social networking sites. The website also uses questionable marketing practices by emailing non-paying users and inviting them to pay for the premium service under the pretense that someone was searching for them.

Dodgeball: A social networking site aimed at mobile users, Dodgeball interacts with mobile devices to send text messages to your friends alerting them to your status online.

eCrush: A social network targeting teens. Teens tell eCrush who they like or have a crush on, and then eCrush asks those people who they have crushes on. If there is a match, eCrush lets both know, otherwise, the person is none the wiser.

Flixter: With a tagline of "stop watching bad movies," Flixter combines social networking with movie reviews.

Gaia Online: A social network with virtual world elements, Gaia Online has an anime, comics, and gaming theme. Members can create their own avatar, earn by participating in the network, purchase items in virtual shops, visit virtual towns, and more.

Last.fm: Last.fm allows members to create their own radio station that learns what the person likes and suggests new music based on those interests. In addition to this, you can listen to the radio stations of friends and other Last.fm members.

LinkedIn: A business-oriented social network, members invite people to be "connections" instead of "friends." Linkedin is used by business people to make contacts, create profiles and search for jobs. Linkedin has groups functionality, question-and-answer section

Meetup: A social network with an event organization theme, Meetup allows members to organize anything from political rallies to spontaneous events

Mog: one of the music-oriented social networking websites, Mog allows members to upload their playlists and keeps track of what members are listening to on their computer.

Multiply: A social network targeted at a person's real world social network, Multiply offers blogging, photo sharing, book and movie reviews, with an emphasis on sharing these not with the public at large, but with your friends and family.

MyFamily: Launched in 1998, MyFamily focuses on the family unit as a social network and helps families that are spread out all over the country and the world keep in touch. A very Web 1.0 feel to the network, MyFamily is entering beta on a new Web 2.0 look and feel.

Reunion: Targeted at finding lost friends, family, and old classmates, Reunion is one of the few social networks that require payment for premium features usually found for free on other social networks.

Soundpedia: Concentrating on social music, Soundpedia allows users to upload their playlists, search for new music, and view the playlists of their friends.

Take Part: A social network dedicated to social activism, Take Part was established by Participant Media, the company behind such films as An Inconvenient Truth and Syriana.

WAYN: An acronym for "Where Are You Now?", WAYN is a social networking site aimed at travelers around the world.

Xanga: A social blogging site that combines social networking elements with blogging. Members earn credits for participating in the site and can spend credits on various things such as buying mini-pictures to post in the comments of a friend's blog.

Xing: A business-oriented social networking website similar to LinkedIn, most of Xing's users are located in Germany.

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