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The Best Social Networking Websites of 2016

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Social networking websites may have made the world a lot smaller, but they also give us information instantly at our fingertips, and we have more access to news and opinions than ever before. The websites on our lineup encompass the true definition of a social networking website – they give you a great chance to keep in touch with your old friends, keep tabs on current friends and family, and create new online friendships with people who share your interests. Some of the networking websites even give you the advantage of creating a network of friends to aid you in establishing business contacts to find a job.

Each social network site, aside from the ability to connect you to others, is different from the rest. Each one promotes a platform and user experience that makes it unique, and approaches online social relationships from a specific perspective. One social networking website may be better than another for a specific use. For instance, there is a specific social media site that’s good for connecting with friends and family. The same can be said for employment or photography. For more information about social media, check out our articles on social networking websites.

Best Social Networking Website for Friends & Family

Staying in touch with friends and family via social network has never been easier than with social media giant Facebook. In fact, it’s pretty rare to come across someone who doesn’t have a Facebook account nowadays. Facebook is the most popular and most used social network by people of all generations.

Facebook lets you share photos, videos, status updates, news articles, and more with friends and family. Not only can you follow your friends and family, but you can also follow news organizations, celebrities, places and locations, businesses, and more. Like most social networking websites, Facebook is free to join and use. Facebook can be used for personal reasons or even for business reasons, as business profiles are available that allow your company to connect with customers.

Facebook

With the inception of social networking sites in the early 2000s, there were several startup companies looking to maximize their membership and excel in niche areas. In the first few years that Facebook entered the scene, it was meant to be the best way for college students to socialize and connect. It didn't take long for this service to expand and become inclusive of people of all ages, from 13 on up. For years now, Facebook has remained the most popular social networking website.

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Best Social Networking Website for Work

Trying to find a job is often difficult if you don’t have the right contacts. Luckily, LinkedIn has employment networking covered and helps you find and add career connections. In fact, LinkedIn acts as an online resume for both current and potential employers to see.

LinkedIn lets you add all of your schooling, work history, skills and more to show current and potential employers the kind of experience you have. Your connections can even endorse your skills, which helps potential employers see what you’re good at according to people you have worked with before. Potential employers and connections can message you on LinkedIn to talk with you about employment.

LinkedIn has both a free and paid version. The free version allows you to create a profile for potential employers to see and network with other people, while the paid version adds a couple of other features to help in your employment search.

LinkedIn

The purpose of social networking sites is to keep you in contact with your friends and help you make new connections along the way. These services are great social tools, but rarely do you get many advantages in life from posting a simple status update. LinkedIn takes the ease of using social network sites to help you find career connections and give you a strong online reputation. This professional networking site launched in 2003 and is one of the most popular social sites in the professional world.

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Best Social Networking Website for Photography

Sharing your photos – whether professional or amateur – is incredibly simple with Instagram. This social network allows you to post photos with captions for your followers. Your followers can like and comment on your photos, and you can choose whether your account is private or public.

Instagram is free and allows for personal and business use. Members with personal accounts use it to share everyday photos of everything going on in their lives – trips, food, pets and anything else. Businesses, on the other hand, can use Instagram for selling their goods, which is basically free advertising if you can establish a large follower base. Instagram also lets you pay for ads and target them to certain users to help you sell to your audience.

Instagram

Sharing your photography – whether professional or amateur – has never been easier than it is with Instagram. This social media website allows you to create a personal or business account that is public or private and share your life in pictures.

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Best Social Networking Website for News

Breaking news has taken on a whole new meaning with social network website Twitter. This social network is now where news is, in fact, broken. It’s not at all uncommon for a colleague or friend to tell you that they saw the breaking news on Twitter.

Twitter accounts are free, and you can create a personalized profile. Your profile includes your handle (your profile name) and a small amount of information about yourself – a picture, short bio, location and website – though none of the information aside from the personalized handle is required for activation. You can choose to have your account and tweets public and viewable to anyone, or private and viewable to only those you approve as followers. You can follow and communicate with friends, family, acquaintances, news organizations, celebrities and companies.

Twitter

One of the main uses for social networking websites is to enable people to post their thoughts instantly. No social networking site takes full advantage of speed and immediacy more than Twitter, which exploded onto the social media scene in 2006.

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Best Social Networking Website for Music

After the original MySpace fell behind in the social networking realm, it rebranded itself as the go-to of music social networks and came back stronger than ever to compete with the best. MySpace allows you to keep up with the music industry from other users and even music artists themselves.

As a MySpace user, you are identified by either a personal profile or a band or DJ profile. Personal profiles don’t have many customization options other than adding your own pictures and filtering your interests. However, DJs and bands can do a bit more to customize their profiles. Personal users can use MySpace to follow their favorite bands and artists, check out new music, see what their friends are listening to, and connect with people who have similar music interests. Band and DJ profiles are for artists to showcase their music – new and old – and connect with fans.

Myspace

Few social networking sites have gone through a bigger identity crisis than Myspace. This site was created in late 2003 and gained enormous popularity in 2005. For a certain generation, Myspace was known for highly customized profiles, bulletins and messaging. In the last few years, this social media service has realized that, in order to stay alive, it needs to cater to a niche market. Today, Myspace solely focuses on the music industry.

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Best Social Networking Website for Videos

It’s common in daily life to hear a co-worker, family member or friend say, “Did you see that YouTube video?” or “It’s on YouTube.” Chances are when you search for a video on any internet browser, the top results include YouTube videos. YouTube is the main go-to site for internet videos, and as this social network site is owned by search engine giant Google, top video results on a Google search will always be YouTube videos.

YouTube is a free social network website to join and use. Because Google owns it, YouTube prefers you join with your Google account to make it easier and streamlined. You can post your own videos, subscribe to other channels, and like, dislike and comment on public videos. YouTube also allows integration with many other social networks, letting you share your uploaded or liked videos on your other profiles.

YouTube

When you think about watching videos online, you probably instantly think of YouTube. You probably find yourself saying things like “I saw it on YouTube” often. While YouTube is not often thought of as a social network, it definitely is one. YouTube lets you share personal videos, view other people’s videos and even make connections. As with most other social networking websites, you can make videos private or public.

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Things to Consider When Joining a Social Networking Website

The phenomenon of online social interaction has evolved to appeal to more than the stereotype of teenagers looking to expand their networks of online friends. People of all ages and backgrounds have discovered that they can enrich their lives through the contacts they make on social networking websites.

The top social networking sites go above and beyond simply allowing you to share a post and update pictures. Some additional features you should consider when choosing a social network for your situation include instant messaging, photo tagging and notifications. The best social network websites do it all by allowing you to do things like join and create groups based on your interests. You should also be able to do simple tasks such as share music playlists and videos for your contacts to enjoy.

The heart and soul of social networking sites are people's personal profiles. Each one is its own online sanctuary – a place where people can express their thoughts and feelings, post their photographs, and interact with their network of contacts. The most popular social network websites put a strong emphasis on the user's profile, making it easy to use yet still reflective of each user's personality.

The purpose of many social networks is to find friends and expand relationships and contacts. Top social networking websites allow you to search for other members in a safe and easy-to-use environment. Common search functions include the ability to look for people by name, city, school and email address.

The internet can be a dangerous place to post personal information. All social networks should provide privacy customization and give you the ability to set your profile or parts of your profile to public or private. Additionally, these sites should give you the option to report inappropriate behavior and content and to block specific people entirely.

The top social media sites have become the most frequently visited pages on the internet. With the growing selection, you can find the social networking websites that best represent your personality and allow you to share your thoughts and feelings with the widest network of friends, even if you're sharing nothing more than an adorable cat video.