Friday, July 16, 2010

All Those "Social" Websites? Who Are They?

If you are a reader of my "Linda's Blog" and my "Tips For Crafters On The Web" blog you know that I LOVE researching and I LOVE lists.

Well, a few weeks ago I decided to do some research on "social" websites.  As you know, the Internet is constantly changing and what may have been in a few years, months, or even days ago might not be in now. One thing that does seem to be gaining in popularity is all the social networking services, social news sharing services, social cataloging services, social shopping websites, and social bookmarking services websites.

While they are all just a little different what they do have in common is they are basically social media type websites where you can interact with them and contribute to them in a various number of ways, either by joining their community, suggesting URL's and anything else you might like to them, sharing your lists, sharing your likes and dislikes, rating various items, commenting on various things, blogging, sharing photo's or video's, sharing news stories, interacting in their forums with people who share similar interests, or buying products.

If you're unfamiliar with the terms social media, social bookmarking, social networking, social cataloging, social shopping, social news sharing, or social network aggregator here's what they mean:

a) Social media are interactive websites and tools that use the internet to communicate and share information either using: text, audio, video, images, podcasts, blogs, forums, and other means of communicating.  Also known as user-generated content (UGC) websites.

b) Social bookmarking websites allow users to share, manage, search, and organize bookmarks of their favorite URL's. Sometimes they contain descriptions, comments, tags, keywords, and votes for or against. Sometimes the bookmarks are public or they have your restrictions on who may see your bookmarks. They may or may not have web feed capabilities, and other social networking features like groups, email capabilities, etc.

c) Social networking websites are usually groups of people who share common interests or activities. Usually they contain individual users profiles, social website links, email or instant messaging capabilities, blog capabilities, photo storage capabilities, etc. Usually there is a sharing of ideas, activities, events, and interests by each user. The focus is individual versus forums which would have a group focus. The social network's niche might be old friends, classmates, books read, music liked, interests, services offered, and more.

d) Social cataloging websites help users to catalog and share things owned or of interest to them, like: books, CDs, DVD's, etc.

e) Social shopping is basically shopping over the Internet in a social networking and information sharing setting.

f) Social News sharing services are websites where you can submit and share a news story and have the users of that website vote on it. Social news sharing websites may also be aggregator type news sites that gather and catalog articles by interest and then provide an RSS feed for those interests.

f) Social Network Aggregators are tools and services that collect all the information from multiple social networking services and gather it in one place for you.

The various social bookmarking, social networking, social news, social shopping and social cataloging websites are always evolving - even to the extent that it's difficult to tell some of them apart. For sure - there are many of them, with many more to come as the trend towards connecting, communicating, and selling over the Internet continues to gain in popularity.

For sure, you see the buttons to share this URL, page, comment, or blog post on the various toolbars, blogs, websites, and social networking clubs. But, who are all these social networking services, social news sharing services, social cataloging, social shopping, and social bookmarking service websites?

Yesterday I posted my massive list of all the social networking, social bookmarking, social news sharing, social cataloging, social shopping, and social tools websites entitled "Just Exactly Who Are All These Social Networking, Social News Sharing, Social Cataloging, Social Shopping, and Social Bookmarking Services Websites?" on my Tips For Crafters On The Web" blog.

There's a LOT of "social" websites listed for sure, but a lot of interesting information too.  I'm off to do more exploring of the lists. 

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