Social networks and social media websites are some of the most popular destinations on the Internet today. Sites like Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, and Twitter are among the twenty most viewed sites on the web, ranking higher than former Internet phenomena like Amazon and eBay and news sites like CNN.com and NYTimes.com. At the beginning of 2009, statistics showed that social networking and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were visited a combined 1.3 billion times per month, and with new reports indicating a sharp increase in Facebook’s user base—from 200 million to an unprecedented 350 million in just 8 months—the public’s interest in social networking shows absolutely no signs of waning. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder businesses large and small are joining social networking and social media sites to promote their brands.
A social network is a site on which people and organizations can share information about themselves, connect with each other, and explore their own list of connections and the lists made by others. Popular social networks include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Social media is information that is designed to be spread through social interaction. Examples of social media include blogs, photos, videos, wikis, and podcasts. Much social media is disseminated on social networks, but it can also exist on its own on sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Blogger.