What’s the difference between social networking versus social bookmarking? What should a freelance writer know about the various sites available to promote content? Which sites are a better use of the writer’s time? Here are some answers.
Social networking is a general term for the ability to communicate with other individuals online. Social networking sites allow users to create a profile, providing photos, website links, biography information, or a host of other personal details. Users can view other profiles, connect in forums, or comment in community chat rooms.
Each site is different and focused on a certain area. For example, sites such as MySpace and Facebook encompass a wide variety of functions on both a personal and professional level. Linked In, on the other hand, is focused mainly on business relationships.
Here are some examples of social networking sites along with their area of specialty:
- Linked In (professional and business contacts)
- Facebook (personal and professional connection site)
- Buzznet (music and pop culture)
- Classmates.com (reconnecting with old school friends)
- Gather.com (sharing links and photos)
- MySpace.com (started as a way for bands to connect with fans, transformed into social networking site geared toward youth-oriented crowd)
For a social network site to be worth the time and effort, individuals must use it for the purpose intended rather than just self-promotion. Simply posting links without interaction not only causes negativity but tends to be self-defeating. Social networking sites can be a wonderful way to get exposure, but it needs to be done as a soft sell effort, and only when true interaction has taken place.
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Logging on to a site consistently is the key to success, but that doesn’t mean an individual needs to spend a large portion of time on the site. Just a few concentrated minutes a day (say, ten to fifteen), will help someone reap the benefits of social networking.
Like social networking, bookmarking sites are meant to engage users and provide interaction. However, bookmarking sites also provide a way to more easily market articles and links. Sites like Digg and RedGage encourage users to click on new links and view what each user recommends.
Social bookmarking works best when users also take the time to get to know other members. Many sites rank the popularity of articles by the number of votes they get from their members, so it pays to get to know other users. Unlike a social networking site, however, members are limited in the items they can post.
Links and articles are popular things to share on social bookmarking sites. But personal pictures, videos, or messages usually are not. Following are some popular social bookmarking sites:
A few minutes spent on a social bookmarking or social networking site can really pay off. Bloggers and freelance writers can especially benefit from these Internet and communication tools on both a promotion and personal level. Bloggers can promote their blog posts while freelance writers can connect with other like-minded individuals.