As Holistic Practitioners we are often nervous about trying new things that are technical.  I get it we are a “people person” we are most comfortable with helping other people.  So let’s think about social media as a “coffee conversation” with someone that just happens to be across the country.    Today we are going talk a little bit about what social networking is, so that you can have a better understanding of how it works and how it can benefit you.

According to Wikipedia and Dictionary.com the definition of social networking is:

“The use of a dedicated Web site to communicate informally with other members of the site, by posting messages, photographs, etc”.   And “the development of social and professional contacts; the sharing of information and services among people with a common interest”.

There is no doubt that social networking has become a huge part of our daily lives, but even though millions of people flock to social networking sites everyday there are still many that couldn’t tell you exactly what social networking is or how it works even though they participate in some type of social network themselves.

Let’s expand a little on the definitions above. Social networking can be explained as the congregation of individuals together into to specific groups, often like a small community or a neighborhood. Even though social networking can be done (the old-fashioned way) in person, these days it is much more popular online. This is because the internet is filled with millions people who are looking to meet other people so that they can develop friendships and mutually beneficial business relationships.

As I mentioned above, social networking websites are set up like an online community  or “tribes” of members who share common hobbies, interests and goals. Once you join a social networking site you can immediately begin to make new contacts, friends and start socializing.

While there are a number of social networking sites that focus on particular interests , there are many that don’t. These sites (like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter) typically have an open membership. This means that anyone can become a member, no matter what their hobbies, beliefs, or views are. However, once you are inside this online community, you can begin to create your own network of friends; thus eliminating others that do not meet your criteria.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the main reasons why people join social networks:

- To meet new people and make new friends.

- To find old friends and classmates to reconnect.

- To find love and companionship.

- To join interest groups and chat with people who like the same things.

- To keep in touch with family and friends.

- To easily share photos, music and videos with friends and family.

- To make business connections and attract customers.


Now let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular social networking sites:








And these are just a few in a list of many social networking sites that are available to join. Just do a search online and you will find a wide variety of options to explore. For instance; I did a search for “fishing social network” and I found Getreeled.com, a social network specifically for people who like to go fishing.

Then I tried “knitting social network” and I found ravelry.com a very cute website just for people who like to knit. Now you try! Put any word in front of “social network” and click go! I’m very sure you won’t be disappointed with what you find.

Most social networking sites have a wide variety of additional features, including, profile pages, groups, chats, blogs and forums allowing members the freedom to express themselves in a way that is most comfortable for them.

Most social networks also require that you activate your account before you can begin to socialize. While each social network can have different requirements most of the time you simply have to provide a valid email address and a few other details to confirm that you are joining.

Regardless of your reasons for joining a social network, whether it’s for fun or business, you it is a good idea to try out different networks until you find the one that’s right for you.

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about social network marketing and how it works.

Photo Credit: ePublicist via Compfight cc

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