For Seniors: Understand Social Networking
Social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Eons are a great way for you to connect with others online and share your thoughts, images, and activities. Although you may think kids are the most active group using social networking, statistics prove that it isn't the case. In fact, people 35–54 years old make up a large segment of social networkers.
The ins and outs of social websites
There are several types of websites where people can communicate socially.
Wiki: A website that allows anyone who visits to contribute (add, edit, or remove) content. Wikipedia, for example, is a virtual encyclopedia built by users providing information in their areas of expertise. Because of the ease of collaboration, wikis are often used when developing group projects or sharing information collaboratively.
Blog: An online journal (blog is short for web log) that may be entirely private, open to select friends or family, or available to the general public. You can usually adjust your blog settings to restrict visitors from commenting on your blog entries, if you'd like.
Social networking site: This type of website allows people to build and maintain an online web page and create networks of people that they're somehow connected to — their friends, work associates, and/or other members with similar interests. Most social networking sites also host blogs and have social networking functions that allow people to view information about others (in the form of member profiles) and contact each other.
Social journaling sites: Sites such as Twitter allow people to go online with short notes which are typically about what they’re doing or thinking at the moment. Many companies and celebrities are now tweeting, as posting comments on Twitter is referred to. You can follow individuals on Twitter so you’re always informed if somebody you’re a fan of makes a post.
Compare social networking websites
Many social networking sites are general in nature and attract a wide variety of users, such as Facebook, Bebo, or Myspace. Facebook, which was begun by some students at Harvard as a college student–only site, has become today’s most popular general site, and many seniors use its features to blog, exchange virtual gifts, and post photos.
Other social networking sites revolve around particular interests or age groups. For example, LinkedIn is aimed at those who want to network with a focus on their careers, and Eons is a social site for seniors. There are also sites that provide social networking features which are focused around issues such as grief and healthcare, and sites that host politics- or consumer-oriented discussions.
Visit TopTenReviews for a detailed comparison of social websites. You can find out handy information such as which sites have mostly under 18 users, which have stronger privacy settings, and which allow you to share videos, music, and other types of contents with others.