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Social networking websites

Social networking websites are online communities that help people to reconnect with old friends, build on existing relationships and make new friends that share their interests.

See also:

What to look for

FAQs

Jargon explained

Social networking websites comparison chart for 2022

Rank 1 2 3 4 5
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Tiktok
Snapchat
Excellent
Five stars means excellent
Very good
Four stars means very good
Good
Three stars means good
Average
Two stars means average /
Poor
One star means poor
Facebook has been awarded best buy Product image of facebook Product image of twitter Product image of pinterest Product image of tiktok Product image of snapchat
 
 
 
Ratings
Overall
facebook has a rating of five  overall twitter has a rating of five  overall pinterest has a rating of four  overall tiktok has a rating of four  overall snapchat has a rating of four  overall
Profile
facebook has a rating of five for profile twitter has a rating of five for profile pinterest has a rating of four for profile tiktok has a rating of four for profile snapchat has a rating of four for profile
Networking
facebook has a rating of five for networking twitter has a rating of five for networking pinterest has a rating of four for networking tiktok has a rating of four for networking snapchat has a rating of four for networking
Features
facebook has a rating of five for features twitter has a rating of five for features pinterest has a rating of four for features tiktok has a rating of five for features snapchat has a rating of four for features
Security & privacy
facebook has a rating of five for security & privacy twitter has a rating of five for security & privacy pinterest has a rating of three for security & privacy tiktok has a rating of three for security & privacy snapchat has a rating of four for security & privacy
Search
facebook has a rating of five for search twitter has a rating of five for search pinterest has a rating of four for search tiktok has a rating of three for search snapchat has a rating of three for search
Ease of use
facebook has a rating of five for ease of use twitter has a rating of five for ease of use pinterest has a rating of four for ease of use tiktok has a rating of four for ease of use snapchat has a rating of four for ease of use
Help & support
facebook has a rating of five for help & support twitter has a rating of five for help & support pinterest has a rating of four for help & support tiktok has a rating of four for help & support snapchat has a rating of four for help & support
Community
Minimum age
13 13 14 13
Audience
Adults / Teenagers Adults Adults / Teenagers Teenagers Adults / Teenagers
Profiles
Profile editor
facebook includes a profile editor twitter does not include a profile editor pinterest includes a profile editor tiktok includes a profile editor snapchat includes a profile editor
Profile design
facebook does not include a profile design twitter does not include a profile design pinterest includes a profile design tiktok includes a profile design snapchat includes a profile design
Profile code
facebook does not include profile code twitter does not include profile code pinterest includes  profile code tiktok includes  profile code snapchat does not include profile code
Add photos
facebook allows you to add photos twitter allows you to add photos pinterest allows you to add photos tiktok allows you to add photos snapchat allows you to add photos
Tag photos
facebook includes  tag photos twitter does not include tag photos pinterest includes  tag photos tiktok includes  tag photos snapchat includes  tag photos
Personalized URL
facebook does not include a personalized url twitter includes a personalized url pinterest includes a personalized url tiktok includes a personalized url snapchat includes a personalized url
Friends suggester
facebook includes a friends suggester twitter includes a friends suggester pinterest includes a friends suggester tiktok includes a friends suggester snapchat includes a friends suggester
Communication
Message
facebook allows you to communicate using message twitter allows you to communicate using message pinterest allows you to communicate using message tiktok allows you to communicate using message snapchat allows you to communicate using message
Mail
facebook allows you to communicate using mail twitter allows you to communicate using mail pinterest allows you to communicate using mail tiktok allows you to communicate using mail snapchat allows you to communicate using mail
IM
facebook allows you to communicate using im twitter does not allow you to communicate using im pinterest does not allow you to communicate using im tiktok allows you to communicate using im snapchat allows you to communicate using im
Like
facebook allows you to communicate using like twitter does not allow you to communicate using like pinterest allows you to communicate using like tiktok does not allow you to communicate using like snapchat does not allow you to communicate using like
Pokes
facebook allows you to communicate using pokes twitter does not allow you to communicate using pokes pinterest allows you to communicate using pokes tiktok does not allow you to communicate using pokes snapchat does not allow you to communicate using pokes
Networking
Groups
facebook includes groups twitter does not include groups pinterest includes groups tiktok includes groups snapchat includes groups
Events
facebook includes events twitter does not include events pinterest includes events tiktok includes events snapchat includes events
Forums
facebook includes forums twitter includes forums pinterest includes forums tiktok includes forums snapchat includes forums
Chatrooms
facebook includes chatrooms twitter does not include chatrooms pinterest does not include chatrooms tiktok includes chatrooms snapchat includes chatrooms
Blogs
facebook does not include blogs twitter does not include blogs pinterest includes blogs tiktok includes blogs snapchat includes blogs
Classifieds
facebook includes classifieds twitter does not include classifieds pinterest includes classifieds tiktok includes classifieds snapchat includes classifieds
Security & safety
Privacy settings
facebook includes privacy settings twitter includes privacy settings pinterest includes privacy settings tiktok includes privacy settings snapchat includes privacy settings
Block members
facebook allows you to block members twitter does not allow you to block members pinterest allows you to block members tiktok allows you to block members snapchat allows you to block members
Report abuse
facebook allows you to report abuse twitter does not allow you to report abuse pinterest allows you to report abuse tiktok allows you to report abuse snapchat allows you to report abuse
Report spam
facebook allows you to report spam twitter does not allow you to report spam pinterest allows you to report spam tiktok allows you to report spam snapchat allows you to report spam
Features
Applications
facebook includes applications twitter does not include applications pinterest includes applications tiktok includes applications snapchat includes applications
Books
facebook includes books twitter does not include books pinterest includes books tiktok includes books snapchat includes books
Games
facebook includes games twitter does not include games pinterest includes games tiktok includes games snapchat includes games
Music
facebook includes music twitter does not include music pinterest includes music tiktok includes music snapchat includes music
Videos
facebook includes videos twitter includes videos pinterest includes videos tiktok includes videos snapchat includes videos
Search
Name
facebook allows you to search by name twitter does not allow you to search by name pinterest allows you to search by name tiktok allows you to search by name snapchat does not allow you to search by name
Email address
facebook allows you to search by email address twitter does not allow you to search by email address pinterest allows you to search by email address tiktok allows you to search by email address snapchat allows you to search by email address
School / college / university
facebook allows you to search by school / college / university twitter does not allow you to search by school / college / university pinterest allows you to search by school / college / university tiktok allows you to search by school / college / university snapchat does not allow you to search by school / college / university
Town / city
facebook does not allow you to search by town / city twitter does not allow you to search by town / city pinterest allows you to search by town / city tiktok allows you to search by town / city snapchat allows you to search by town / city
Interests
facebook allows you to search by interests twitter allows you to search by interests pinterest allows you to search by interests tiktok allows you to search by interests snapchat does not allow you to search by interests
Keyword
facebook does not allow you to search by keyword twitter allows you to search by keyword pinterest does not allow you to search by keyword tiktok allows you to search by keyword snapchat allows you to search by keyword
Help & support
Email support
facebook includes email support twitter includes email support pinterest includes email support tiktok includes email support snapchat does not include email support
Help files
facebook includes help files twitter includes help files pinterest includes help files tiktok includes help files snapchat includes help files
Forums
facebook does not include forums twitter does not include forums pinterest includes forums tiktok does not include forums snapchat does not include forums
FAQs
facebook includes faqs twitter includes faqs pinterest includes faqs tiktok includes faqs snapchat includes faqs

Social networking websites explained

Social networking websites bring together a large group of people by helping to unite/reunite friends and family or providing a platform for like minded people to interact and as the number of members grow, the site creators can then earn a profit by selling advertising space on the website.

Though most people explore these websites out of curiosity or just for fun, social networks have become so ingrained into our society that some employers actually check Facebook before hiring a new employee and, as headlines have shown, employees have been terminated for posting negative comments about their employers on their personal pages.

All social networking websites are different

Each social network can offer different and distinct features. For example, the search engine in Facebook allows you to find lost classmates, work colleagues or family members by entering a name or using your alma mater as a search term. If you would rather forget the friends you have or enjoy having a very large social circle, you can also find new friends that share your interests, by searching specific topics on websites such as MySpace. Not to mention the endless possibilities that these networks can offer to express your personality and sense of online style through a customized personal page.

Business as well as personal use

If you are a business, you shouldn’t discount these websites either. Social networking offers opportunities for businesses to directly engage their consumers and receive immediate feedback about products and services. For instance, musicians have been using social networks such as MySpace because they offer a platform to distribute new tracks directly to their audience while simultaneously increasing their fan base.

You can join groups or forums, exchange information, socialize with like minded people around the world or share your photos and blogs. Social networks also offer the opportunity to receive breaking news as it occurs, direct from the source. Networks such as Twitter have become an indispensable tool for news agencies and journalists to grab the latest headlines.

With so many niche networks available, the choice can become dizzying. So, our comparison chart features general interest social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace.


What to look for in social networking websites

Choosing a social network might be as simple as becoming a member of the one that all your friends and family are using. However, if the decision is not predetermined, you may find that the number of networks available is somewhat overwhelming.

First and foremost, you need to consider what you want to get out of a social networking website, such as whether you are looking to find old friends or meet new ones, keep up to date with the latest breaking news or use it as a way to interact with your customers. This will help to bring your options down to a more manageable level.

You might also consider:

Profiles

There is nothing more annoying than an over complicated website. The social network you choose should make it easy for you to express your opinion, values and beliefs. You should be able to easily upload, edit and delete photos.

Some social networking websites will also allow you to design or customize your profile page giving you the ability to fully express your digital personality.

Networking

How you intend to interact can play a major part in choosing the best social network for you. For example, if you are frequently on the go and own a smart phone, you might consider a service like Twitter which allows you to make SMS updates from your mobile phone. Most of the popular social networks, such as Facebook, also give members the ability to choose whether their conversations will be public or private and provide some type of chat feature.

Security & privacy

Since social networks are often the target of hackers, you should choose a social networking website that has a good security and safety record.

The website should allow you to choose your own privacy settings as well as choose who can view your profile. The ability to block people and report abusive members are also important security features that can help to make your online experience much more enjoyable.

Search

Search functionality is an important factor in choosing a social network. Most sites allow you to find other members on their network either by name, school, email address or even geographic location. The most popular social networks will even import your contact list from either an instant messaging account or email to make connecting with friends faster and easier.

Help & support

A social networking website should provide FAQ’s, tips and hints relating to security/privacy as well as instructions on how to deal with abusive members.


FAQs

Q. What is social networking?

A. Social Networking Sites are websites that allow people to create personal pages, join groups of other members who share similar interests as well as communicate with friends and family. Some popular social networks include MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

Q. Isn't social networking for teenagers and college students?

A. Social networking sites are far from being an exclusive domain for teens and college students. In fact, many businesses and organizations use social networks to communicate important information to the general public and interact with their consumer base. Many networks focus on a specific topic of interest such as gardening, political commentary or current events.

Q. What are the risks of using of social networks?

A. Though social networks can be very entertaining for children and teens, they can also provide an opportunity for unscrupulous users to exploit children. Pedophiles often use IM to lure their victims into giving out personal information.

It is important to reinforce the rules of using the internet with your kids, such as never give out their full name, address or school they attend to anyone online. Those who know them will already have this information and there is no way for them to know if someone is who they may claim to be.

Adjusting their privacy settings so that only friends and family can contact them is an effective method to reduce the likelihood of being approached by a pedophile. Above all, they should be encouraged to report any inappropriate conversations immediately to their parents so appropriate action can be taken.

However, even adults can fall victim to giving too much information. There have been incidents where people have discussed their vacation plans online only to find their house had been broken into while they were away.

Q. I have heard that you will soon have to pay to use facebook, is this true?

A. There are lots of rumors circulating that Facebook will soon move to a monthly payment model which has resulted in Facebook members forming groups to oppose this move. However despite Facebook admitting that they’re not quite sure how to monetize the website, they have no current plans to charge for the service.

Q. What exactly is the Bebo panic button?

A. In November 2009, Bebo introduced an onscreen panic button that allows children to report bullying as well as offensive or obscene content they might encounter on the network without delay. The button is linked to the Government's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre so specialist officers can investigate the matter.

Q. What is a network?

A. A network is any group created on a social networking site that is based on a common characteristic. Some examples of networks might include a region, school or workplace. Networks are often exclusive to their members. So becoming a member of a network usually gives you access to information that is not publically available.

Q. What is an application?

A. Applications are software enhancements that users can add to their personal pages. These can include ‘Top Friends’, ‘Super Poke’ or ‘Where I’ve been’.

Q. What is an forum?

A. An internet forum (aka online message board) is the modern equivalent to a bulletin board. It is a place where people can meet to have discussions.


Jargon explained

Groups

Groups are formed for discussions and provide an area where people can share their thoughts and comments about a specific topic. They have recently become a popular method for companies, clubs and organizations to engage with stakeholders such as consumers, clients, employees and even the general public.

Wall

Your ‘wall’ is a space on your personal page where your contacts can make time stamped statements that are visible to everyone who can see your profile page. It can become somewhat of a nuisance if you use Facebook for business contacts and your best friend posts comments about your last night out. So, it might be wise to exclude work colleagues from your personal information to avoid these embarrassing moments.

Pokes

A Facebook ‘poke’ is designed to get the attention of another user, much like nudges are used in instant messaging. There have been many theories on why this feature was created or when it is appropriate to use. However, Facebook’s own FAQ explains the feature by saying: "When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings."

Tweets

Tweets are messages sent through the Twitter network that are no more than 140 characters long.

Status updates

These are short messages posted on social networking sites that express how you are feeling or what’s on your mind at the moment. These posts are sent to everyone in your network.


Related help & advice

What is social media?

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