What is Social Networking?

Social networking. It’s that magical place on the Internet where you can find new and exciting job opportunities. Right? Sure it is. But it’s also a down-to-earth way to meet new people, whether it is someone who lives down the street or across the globe.

Every day a new friend is added on Facebook, a new follower tweets someone on Twitter and someone befriends a stranger through an online game. We are social creatures, after all, and it makes sense that we create tools from the latest technology to help us be social and create communities.

When I hear the word “community“, I often think about the past when neighborhoods weren’t designs of utmost privacy, but communities. Neighbors would get together and talk about the weather, ask each other for help in a project or invite families over for dinner.

We lost that community.

And then regained it – online.

A good example of online community was GeoCities;

Users created digital neighborhoods based on interests. And Twitter – surprisingly successful – fills some of the need for “everyday” communication. We’re talking to a community about our day, about our daughter’s science fair, about the boring class lecture, the man with a chicken on the subway or just how much it cost us to fix that car.
We’ve redrawn our neighborhood lines to no longer be geographical, but digital.

My “neighbors” are a collection of people who live in my city, my country and a continent half the world away. I don’t talk to everyone who lives on my busy city street, but I do know that my close friend in Boston just landed her dream job – I met her through Twitter – and my friend in Seoul hiked gorgeous mountains with his father-in-law – I met him volunteering. And the guy 2 blocks away from me just invited me over for a dinner & card game night via Twitter. And I’ve even landed two of my freelance jobs because of my presence online through social media.

So what is social networking? It’s you, starting a conversation. There are plenty of mediums, but it all comes down to the first step: say hello.

Be part of the conversation and comment below.

Written by Sarah Wood

Find her on twitter here

Find her blog here