Social Networking areas are basically websites with applications which help connect friends using different tools like blogs, profiles, internal email systems and photos.
Popular social networking sites include Bebo, Myspace and Facebook. Sites like these have become really popular among people of all ages and quite often people have a number of profiles on different sites.
So, how do you use them?
Firstly, you sign up and create your own profile or ‘space’. Often, these contain standard sections like, ‘About Me’ and ‘Who I'd Like to Meet.’ There are usually areas where you can write things like favourite Music, Films, Sports, Scared Of and Happiest When. You can add specific personal details like physical appearance, and which school you go to. You can also have your own blog where you write daily thoughts or include articles you find interesting.
Customising your profile
A big part of customising your profile can be uploading images or pictures onto your site. One of your pictures can be chosen as the "default image" and this will be seen on your profile's main page. It will also appear next to your user-name on comments, messages, etc.
Most sites have a ‘count’ of how many friends you have and a link to a page which lists all of the user's friends. Often you can click on a friend’s name and be taken straight to their profile; this depends how they have set their privacy settings.
You can usually add music to your profile, either by visiting an artist's page and choosing a song from their music player, or by using a customised music player or by an embedded media file. There is often also an option to upload videos as well – including music videos, videos uploaded from other sites such as Youtube or personally recorded films.
Some social networking sites have an instant messenger facility, where you can chat to friends who you have added to your contact list.
Creating your own profile on one of these sites often means you end up publishing a lot of personal information. To make sure you keep yours safe, check out our information on what you can do about some of the risks here.