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When we think of the world today, we inevitably think of the Internet as an already integral part of it. The Internet keeps us updated with the latest trends and ideas the moment they appear, helps us be more productive and keeps us connected no matter what. And ‘connected’ is indeed the key word here. If there is something that impersonates how influential the web has become in our everyday lives (besides email, of course), it is the existence of social networking and content-sharing websites.

Here we take a look at the most known and used social networking and media-sharing websites in the world. We also briefly explain some of their main features, as well as some of the tools they offer to personal and business users.

Facebook

Facebook is by far the biggest and most important networking website of the bunch. Its purpose is to connect friends and families by letting them use any preferred kind of media, like photos, videos, instant text messages and constant status updates. Through their Facebook profiles, people can post constant updates on anything they want and can also follow other people as well as comment on their pages and specific updates.

Facebook offers people who want an even more involved experience the Groups and Fan Pages features. With these, people can create interest groups or dedicate a page to offer specific information about another person or institution (a celebrity or a soccer fan page for example). Once created, other like-minded people will become a part of these initiatives and will create connections and build deeper experiences for everyone involved.

But Facebook hasn’t remained in the realm of personal use only, since lately many big-name corporations and dozens of thousands of businesses use it as a promotion platform for their products and services. By taking advantage of the tools mentioned above and of the fact that almost all potential customers already have Facebook accounts, businesses have started to leverage the great amount of users this web service has. And by doing so, they reach further and further every day to many markets around the globe.

Twitter

Our second big name when it comes to social networking is Twitter. Twitter is best described as the most widely used microblogging platform in the world. It is also the easiest to use, since all it requires are sets of short messages of 140 characters in length. This short message style, has vastly contributed to the popularity of Twitter, which many people call “the SMS of the web”.

By keeping messages short, Twitter keeps “conversations” flowing and much more active, which gives its users a much deeper sense of involvement in each other’s lives.

The advantages of Twitter for commerce have not passed under businesses’ radars of course. Even more so if we consider that the platform offers potentially uninterrupted updates on people’s lives (which means businesses can now know what people like or not, something that cost millions of dollars to achieve before). As a result, many big and small companies as well as different service providers are already taking advantage of it by creating personalised accounts that people can follow.

What is even more, interaction with Twitter is not only restricted to computers, since the platform is available on many mobile devices as well, which makes it even more attractive for the business user.

YouTube

Whenever anyone thinks about watching a video online, 9 times out of 10 YouTube is the service that comes to mind. And not without justification, since the platform is put to use by a wide array of users that range all the way from politicians, and media corporations up to businesses, organisations and personal users as well.

This has made YouTube the most recognised video-sharing website in the world. Its’ success though, would not be possible without the great simplicity it offers. This is exemplified by the fact that its users only need to worry about making a couple of clicks to upload their videos regardless (most of the time) of the format in which they are. And then just within minutes, those videos can be seen by users all around the world.

As you can see, the potential of the platform is tremendous and many businesses both big and small have already started taking advantage of it. In order to do so, they post videos, which are viewable on their channels (that is how YouTube’s personal profiles are called) by everyone interested. Such videos can be tutorials, new product unveilings, tips, tricks, advice and more. Personal users on the other hand (who are the true life and blood of YouTube) upload videos on just about any topic and along with business users, keep the YouTube community growing to ever-larger numbers.

LinkedIn

Of all the social networking sites on the web, LinkedIn is perhaps the most useful one. In a sentence, LinkedIn could be defined as a business-related networking website that connects professionals. The idea might seem simple in concept, but its application on real life has proven to be extremely useful for professionals, business owners and service providers all around the globe.

LinkedIn works by openly displaying the professional network connections of its members. You can connect to other professionals either openly or only to those who have been recommended by people you know.

By allowing professionals from all over the world to make connections related to their businesses, LinkedIn helps them to be more productive. But not only that, it also saves them enormous amounts of time and money that they could have wasted looking somewhere else for help.

Conclusion

By taking the way we communicate and making it viral, these social networking websites and media-sharing services have completely altered the way we interact with each other. But not just that, in doing so, they have also made our lives move at a faster pace, they have made us more efficient and they have showed us that we can enjoy a deeper and richer level of connection with the people we care about.