The term online social networking refers to the use of the Internet for socializing, making business connections, and staying in touch with like-minded people. Online dating sites and other online communities allow people to create and foster relationships through privacy-protected chat features, discussion forums, video capabilities, and information sharing tools. Business networking often takes place through popular websites, where individuals can post professional profiles and connect with customers, vendors, and prospective employers. Hobbyists also use online social networking to connect with others immersed in common interests, such as sports or travel.
Online social networking allows individuals to socialize with friends and family, and facilitates connections with new people. Social networking tools allow for quick, easy, and instant communication between individuals and their families and friends. Some popular websites allow people to connect with friends and family, share pictures, post life updates, and pass on interesting information. Microblogging services facilitate social connections, allowing people to make new friends and share their thoughts, quotes, and links to interesting web articles via short messages. Online dating sites allow singles from locations near and far to meet and chat on the Internet to explore romantic possibilities.
Making business connections has become easier with online social networking, which allows individuals from all parts of the world to connect with one another and to increase their professional and business opportunities. Through a simple online search, a product creator can find and communicate with potential buyers who may be located on another continent. Some websites are used for posting resumes and are useful tools for professionals interested in being more visible to employers, gaining professional contacts, and collaborating with other professionals. Other social-focused and microblogging Internet communities are also used by both vendors and service providers in online marketing plans for the purpose of connecting with customers and sharing information about products and services.
Online social networking also benefits individuals with common interests. Social media sites offer a way for people to share information and ask each other questions about areas of interest. Video sharing sites are often used for sharing hobby-related videos. An aspiring pianist might have his performance videotaped so that he can post the video for viewing by others who can comment on his performance and guide his learning process. Blogs and independent websites are also common ways that people interact with one another on topics of interest, such as sports, the arts, travel and entertainment.