Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn) allow users to build a profile, establish connections with other users and share photos, videos activities, events and other content with their network. Forums (i.e. online discussion sites where people hold conversations in a centralised location) were popular prior to the development of social networking sites. Forums exist on many topics including technology, video games, sports, religion and politics. Forums have largely been replaced by social networking sites; however, there are still thousands of online forums and for communicators it may be important to engage with some of these by monitoring and/or taking part in the conversation.
Facebook is a social networking service which was launched in February 2004. The original website launched in 2003 was initially limited to Harvard students, Facebook then spread to other Universities before gaining world-wide success. News, updates, links and photographs can be shared with other users on Facebook. In 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram a mobile application which allows users to filter photographs and videos and transform their look and feel. The acquisition for this simple app cost Facebook $1 billion which shows just how important photos and images are in social media.
LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals. It was launched in 2003 and has more than 225 million users. Individuals and companies use LinkedIn for networking, job searching, hiring, company research, and connecting with affiliates, including industry and other business related groups. LinkedIn can also be used as a forum for sharing ideas and participating in topic specific conversations. There are several food safety LinkedIn pages used as online discussion sites where members can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.