There are many different types of social network applications and attempting to list them all would be nearly impossible. Some specific types of applications, however, include social networking websites, programs that allow people to chat through instant messaging, and Internet forums designed to encourage the exchange of ideas and the establishment of a community. There are also a number of social network applications that can run with other types of social networking sites, such as games, polls, quizzes, and horoscope programs.
In general, social network applications are programs or websites that allow or encourage social interactions and virtual community building through the Internet. These can consist of anything from websites that promote social interaction, such as forums, social networking sites, and blogs to programs that allow electronic communications between individuals, such as instant messengers, chat programs, and online games. Social network applications allow people in different places to communicate, exchange ideas, work together to achieve tasks and goals, and generally create virtual communities.
Some of these social network applications are created to enable people in different places to work on a project together. These include programs that can allow users in separate geographic regions to work on a file together, such as a spreadsheet, allowing each of them to view the file and see changes others make in real time. There are also simpler types of applications that allow communication through instant messaging or by allowing access to chat rooms. These are not always created for work, but are commonly used for recreation and instant communication over great distances.
There are many Internet websites designed as social network applications, such as social networking sites like MySpace® or Facebook®. While these sites themselves may be seen as social applications, they can also include a variety of other programs that enhance social interactions even more. These include simple games that people can play together or competitively, quizzes and polls that allow thousands of users to compare ideas, and daily horoscope and news posts that can connect events across the world.
Some social network applications can also consist of virtual worlds inhabited by digital avatars that represent people in the real world. These can consist of online games such as massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), or non-game environments that enable social interactions through avatars without any objectives beyond the social aspects. In many ways, these latter types of programs are similar to chat rooms, but they incorporate a digital world for people to communicate within. These types of social network applications have been used by businesses, helped law enforcement officers find criminal suspects, and even connected people in romantic relationships that have led to weddings and families.