What are 'Social Networks' ?
Social networking sites tend to share some conventional features. Most often, individual users are encouraged to create profiles containing various bits of information about themselves. Users can often upload pictures of themselves to their profiles, post blog entries for others to read, search for other users with similar interests, and compile and share lists of contacts. In addition, user profiles often have a section dedicated to comments from friends and other users.
To protect user privacy, social networks usually have controls that allow users to choose who can view their profile, contact them, add them to their list of contacts, and so on. This was more of an issue when people first started to use the products and were not aware of how to set the 'privacy settings'.
The main piece of advice is that you should only put information onto a website that you are happy using. If you're not sure then either get help or advice from others.
Facebook is a social network of people from all walks of life and from all over the world. You sign up by creating a profile page: this consists of some details (you can control how much of those details are available for people to see), and preferably a photo of yourself. Then you're ready to start posting a few updates.
These updates are statements about what you're up to, links to interesting stuff you've seen elsewhere on the web - it's up to you. As word gets around that you're online, you'll find old friends start to get in touch. They may have heard about you being on Facebook or they may have found you after doing a search.
Facebook itself will send notes on people you might know, based on the fact that you went to the same school or college or shared an employer (you only have to put up as much of this sort of information as you want).
Be a little wary about the information you share on Facebook. If you display your town, date of birth, marital status and other personal facts, someone might be able to get enough information to steal your identity (it's unlikely, but be careful).
You might want to go into your profile page (it's easy to find once you've signed up, there's a tab on the homepage) and make sure you're not sharing all of your information with everyone who happens to log on.
Soon you'll be in touch with a lot of people, exchanging views and information on your page (or 'wall' as Facebook calls it) and vice versa. If your friends are online when you log on, you'll find a list of them to one side of the screen and you can send instant messages.
Sharing with friends
You can also put pictures of yourself up. Want to share holiday snaps with your aunt who lives in Australia? No problem, upload them and share them with her.
There are other things Facebook adds on - you can play games across the internet, you can tell it which book you're reading at the moment, you can rate films and get recommendations. You can join groups of people with similar interests, you can join Facebook groups representing your favourite TV or radio programmes and chat to like-minded people about them.
It all starts with a simple sign-up to the most basic stuff, which enables you to make announcements and engage with people online. Catching up with old friends, making new ones, sharing an interest with a group of people or sharing your photos with someone on the other side of the world - itís only as limited as you want to make it.
Some Facebook Pages Of Interest
What exactly is Twitter?
Twitter is a way of finding out what other people are doing... right now! You create a profile for yourself and then send out or receive messages. You send to your 'followers' and you receive from those you 'follow'.
The service is completely free to use - you choose a username and can update your Twitter page from the website or your mobile.
How do people use it?
Twitter users write about what they're doing using just 140 characters. It could be what you're having for your tea, an interesting web page you'd like to share with the world, or you can even express your opinions on the Latvian Eurovision entry.
But what kind of people can I follow?
You can 'follow' whoever you like as long as they have a Twitter account. This could be anyone from your best friend to President Obama, other celebrities and even BBC Radio 2. However, the more people you follow, the more messages you will receive. Some Twitter users will tell you every time they make a cup of tea which can get quite annoying! But conversely it's a great way to follow the personal thoughts of everyone from relatives to showbiz stars.
What are all these @ signs everywhere?
Users can put an @ before somebody's username to send them a message that the whole world can see.
For example, here's ex-Darkness singer Justin Hawkins thanking Simon Mayo for inviting him on Drivetime:
@simonmayo Thanks again for yesterday - several people have contacted me regarding the roadie work. I'll never have to lift an amp again!
To which Simon responded:
@JustinHawkins happy to help-get Chickens out as a single!
Which Radio 2 presenters are on Twitter?
As well as Simon Mayo and Chris Evans you can also follow Twitter updates from Terry Wogan, Jeremy Vine, Alan Carr, Claudia Winkleman, Janice Long, Stuart Maconie, Mark Radcliffe, Bob Harris, Jonny Saunders, Rebecca Pike and even Hospital Radio (and occasional Radio 2 Comedy) star Ivan Brackenbury.
Some other sites that talk about Twitter
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