Social networking

Social networking is a way of connecting groups of people online through a website. Different types of social networking tools offer different functions and services and tend to appeal to different groups of people. When you join a network you can create your own profile or identity.

You can have closed or open networks, Ning is a useful tool for creating a social network of your own, for example around a particular project or group.

Privacy settings can be used to release or restrict information depending on your needs.

  • Ning – create your own social network
  • Bebo – for younger audiences
  • Facebook – Britain’s most popular site
  • MySpace – concerned with music and culture
  • LinkedIn – a professional network

Benefits and advantages

  • Good way of organising groups of people with less effort and correspondence
  • Group users can share their own information directly, without going through an administrator
  • Helps keep a group together between face to face meetings
  • Easy to share multimedia (videos, pictures,) and links
  • Lots of people use social networking sites already so they are familiar with the technology
  • Social networking enables information and links to be passed on quickly through networks of people

Risks and disadvantage

  • Think carefully about which platform you want to use
  • Social networks are not used by everyone – consider how appropriate this is for your group and whether a secondary means of communication is also needed
  • Some people may need basic training on how to use the network


Armchair Involvement Guide 2009 

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