Social networking sites are a sub-group of social media tools that enable one to connect and network with far more people than would be possible without online social media. Social networking enables communication and networking even at an international level. With social media, we are able to put up our own personal or organisational profiles online. These can be made available for anyone to read from wherever they are in the world. With such tools available to us all, it has now become a necessity for everyone to have an online presence; if you are not online, it is safe to say, you simply do not exist in this technical era! This is how much social media tools like social networking sites have revolutionised the world.
Social networking sites are of different types; from the professional networking sites like LinkedIn, to the more general sites like Facebook. There is always something for every need, whether one is looking to simply network on a professional level, or it’s for a more personal social reason. The right sites for you will depend on what you intend to achieve by joining the social networking site. A wide variety of ways are used to communicate through social media, from blogs to vlogs, from chats to discussion forums; all these are made available on different social networking sites.
The basic benefit to an individual or an organisation is increased audience for what you do, who you are, etc. Without interaction, you’re limited as to what you may know or be able to do. Through social networking sites, individuals and organisations can get to have their own online presence and spread information about them. Further, organisations can also use this tool to get feedback on their services or products from customers, clients, and anyone who’d want to share their thoughts. This feedback can then be used to improve where needed or to simply get ideas for use in the organisation. Organisations may also use this platform to market themselves and their events. In a nutshell, social networking sites provide a new highly interactive medium for organisations to connect with their customers.
Challenges that come into play mainly involve issues to do with privacy concerns, and how much information is made available to the public. But, these can be controlled with just a little care on the part of the organisation in what information it is sharing with its audience.