There is a lot of interest these days regarding social “things” and their potential to change how people communicate. There are currently three main categories of social “things” on the internet today:
- Social Bookmarking is a method for Internet users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren’t shared, merely bookmarks that reference them. Digg, Delicio are current examples of widely used social bookmarking services.
- Social Network Services focus on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services. Social Networking has encouraged new ways to communicate and share information. Social networking services such as Facebook and Linkedin are being used regularly by millions of people.
- Social Media are media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media supports the human need for social interaction, using Internet- and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers. YouTube, Picasa, Flickr are examples of widely used social media services.
Some social networking statistics from 2009 are available here.