Social networks are websites such as forums, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, where the members have an opportunity to interact and exchange information, different points of view, photos, music, and references to others in social network. As we know, social networking is the grouping of individuals into specific groups, like small rural communities or a neighborhood subdivision.

Social networks make interactions between people easier, especially in the workplace, universities, and high schools. Most high schools, colleges, and workplaces take part in social networks, and the Internet is filled with millions of individuals who are looking to meet other people, to gather and share first-hand information and experiences about studying, working, cooking, golfing, gardening, developing friendships of professional alliances, finding employment, and business-to-business marketing. The topics and interests are as varied and rich as humanity itself. When we come to online social networks, websites are commonly used. These websites are known as social sites. Social networking  websites function like an online community of Internet users. Depending on the kind of websites, many of these online community members can share common interests in hobbies, religions, cultures, politics and alternative lifestyles. Once we are granted access to a social networking website, we can begin to socialize. This socialization may include reading the profile pages of other members, and possibly contacting them. Making friends with many people through online social networking creates diversity in online communities, thanks to the Internet giving individuals from all around the world access to social networking sites. This means that although we are in Vietnam, we can develop an online friendship with someone in United States or another country. We not only can make many new friends, but also we just might learn a thing or two about new cultures or new languages and this learning is a good thing. As mentioned above, social network often involves grouping specific individuals or organizations together. While there are a number of social networking websites that focus on particular interests, other websites do not do that. The websites without having a main focus are often referred to as "traditional" social networking websites and usually have opened-mind memberships. This means that anyone can become a member in this online community; they do not necessarily share hobbies, beliefs, or view points. However, when we are inside this online community, you can begin to create your own network of friends and eliminate members that do not share common interests or goals.

There are dangers associated with social networks, including data theft and viruses, which are on the rise. The most prevalent danger often involves online predators. Although danger exists with networking online, it also exists in the real world, too. Just like we are advised when meeting strangers at clubs and bars, schools, or work offices we are also advised to proceed with caution online. By being aware of your cyber-surroundings and whom we are talking to, we should be able to safely enjoy social networking online. It will take many phone conversations to get to know someone, but we should make a clear decision until you want to meet someone. Just use common sense and listen to your inner voice; it will tell us when something doesn't feel right about the online conversations taking place. If we are interested and comfortable with our findings, we can begin our search from hundreds of networking communities to join. Performing a standard Internet search can easily do this. A search will likely return a number of results, including MySpace, FriendWise, FriendFinder, Yahoo! 360, Facebook, Orkut, and Classmates. I hope that after reading my writing you will have a general idea about social networks to enhance you knowledge. Have a fun evening at ESC!


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