Stay Safe While Using Social Networking Sites

We’ve probably all heard of social networking before, but some people might not know the meaning of the term. Would you be able to accurately define social networking, if someone asked? Unfortunately, most people can’t, even if they engage in some type of social networking – especially the online variety.Simply put, online networking is defined as the grouping of people into specific groups, often similar to what you might find in neighborhoods or small communities.Social networking has become more popular online than anywhere else, although it is also done in person – especially in the workplace or in schools. The popularity of online social networking is due to the millions of people that use the Internet, a far larger number than any workplace or school can possibly have. Many of these Internet users are trying to meet old friends and create new friendships.Online social networking utilizes websites that are typically called social networking sites. These sites create and maintain a type of online community that consists of their online users. Many of the members of social websites share a common bond. Depending on the specific site, that bond might be a particular religion, hobby or even politics. Once you become a member of one of these social networking websites, you’ll be able to read the profiles of other members and even contact and interact with them.Although making friends is one of the benefits of online social networking, there are other benefits, including the ability to interact with a large and diverse group of people. People from throughout the world have access to online social meeting sites, so the possibilities aren’t limited to the relatively small number of people in your workplace or school. Even if you live in the United States, it’s possible to develop an online friendship with someone who lives in France or in Japan. When this happens you’ll make a new friend, but you might also learn some things about a totally different culture.As mentioned above, social networking often groups people or individuals together. Several online social networking sites concentrate on specific interests, but other, more traditional sites do not and have a more widespread appeal. The more traditional social sites websites usually have an open membership and essentially anyone can join, no matter what type of beliefs, views or hobbies they have. Once you’re a member of an online community like this, you can start developing your own network of friends, excluding the members you’d rather not interact with.If you’re interested in networking with people online, you’re encouraged to learn more about it, including the potential risks that can be involved. The possibility of encountering online predators and people who claim to be someone they are not are risks you should be aware of. Of course, the Internet isn’t the only place where networking carries risks, there are potential dangers of networking in the real world as well. You need to proceed carefully online, just as you would when you’re meeting friends at school or a bar.Being aware of your surroundings and who you’re communicating with can go a long way toward making online social networking a safer experience. After you’ve done your research and learned everything about online networking you need to know, you can start looking for some specific online communities to join. You can find the information you need by searching online. You’ll probably turn up several communities, including Classmates, Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo! 360, Friend Finder, Orkut.

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