Join a Social Network. Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images
Social networks have come a long way since the implementation of the idea several years ago. Social networking sites such as Friendster, Facebook and MySpace all had a big part in making social networks what they are today. They have all evolved since then and become something more than what they were back then.
Now you can do so much more with a social network than just meet people and send messages.
You can create photo albums, add videos, listen to your favorite music, find old friends and so much more. Even the profile pages have evolved. Many social networks let you change the colors of your profile and even add backgrounds and change the layout.
This is the main reason social networks were created, so people can meet and find new friends. On just about every social networking site you can browse the network and meet new people. You can find people of every kind from all over the world. Or you can just focus on meeting certain types of new friends.
Find friends in a certain niche or make as many friends as you can. How you do it is up to you. Everyone had their own way of making online friends.
You've probably lost contact with someone in your life. Now's your chance to find them again. Could be a friend from high school, someone you used to work with, or just about anyone.
Using social networking sites you can type in the name of your friends and find them, if they're on that site.
More of your friends are on sites like MySpace and Facebook than you realize. Join up, create a profile and start your search. When you create your profile, don't forget to mention all the schools you went to so your friends can find you too.
Most social networks have forums. This is where you can post your thoughts, questions and opinions. It's also where you can communicate with a group of friends that all have the same interest or problem. There's usually a variety of forums to choose from. Which forum you post in all depends on what you're looking for.
If you're looking to discuss a certain topic, then you would post in the forum that's set up for that particular topic. If you're looking for help with something then you'd post in the support forum. Maybe you're just looking for a discussion to get into, browse around and find something you like, then join in.
Many social networks offer groups. If they don't have a group you like, you can usually create one of your own. Groups are just that, groups of people. They all joined the group because they all had something in common.
There can be groups on anything. Maybe you have a child with autism and you want to talk to other people who have children with autism, join a group. Then you can talk to other people and also get news and alerts about autism. If there isn't already a group on the network, create one.
Almost every social network offers you a blog.
Here you can write about any number of things. Keep friends updated on your life or write about your concerns and accomplishments. A blog can be as personal, or impersonal, as you want it to be.
When you add photos to your blog you take it to a whole other level. People love to see what they're reading about, that's why newspapers hire photographers. The way your blog looks can be changed too.
Add all your photos and break them into albums. Not all social networks offer photo albums, but many do. Sometimes the social network will only let you add a certain number of photos to your profile. Some will only let you create one photo album. If photo albums are important to you then you'll need to shop around a little to find a social network that lets you add whole photo albums.
Photo albums are a great asset to your social network profile. People love to look at photos. They may stay on your profile, or come back later, just to look through your photos. It's also a good idea if you have family that are far away and you want them to be able to see your family photos. Some social networks even offer the ability for you to turn your photo album into a slideshow.
There are tons of videos on MySpaceTV that you can add to your MySpace profile. They're not the only social network with videos, though, and they're not the only social network that lets you add videos from other sites either. Browse through all the videos and add a couple to your profile. Your friends will love you for it.
If you like creating your own videos, some social networks will let you add your own videos to the network. Any social network with their own video library will let you upload your own videos. Some other social networks will just let you upload your video to your profile.
Some social networks let you add music, some don't. Music is a tough subject because if you add music under copyright, without consent from the music's owner, you could end up in a lot of trouble. That's why sites like MySpace only let you add music to your profile that's been created and added by other MySpace members.
Add your favorite music from a music library on the social network. That way you can be sure you have permission to use it. Then your friends can listen and enjoy. Even create your own music wish list.
If you have a band or just like creating your own music you can sometimes create a band site and upload your own music. I know MySpace offers this feature, I'm not sure about other social networks. You'll even be given a special profile page for your music to live.
Colors, layouts, backgrounds and more can be changed on many social networks. Facebook does not offer this, but MySpace does. MySpace has even added a profile editor that lets you design your MySpace profile any way you want it. There are themes and backgrounds that you can choose from and add too. On top of changing your layout, you can also make a few other changes to make your profile better.
They're not the only social network that offers profile design, though. Several of them do. Often you can change the layout of the parts of your profile and the colors, if nothing else. There are even ways to create your own profile layout. With a little tweaking or your profile, you can even change the way your profile appears. Adding a few small avatars can add to the look of your profile too. Add all kinds of cool toys and apps to your profile to make it more fun for you and your readers.
Whether it's on the forum, in a group or in a niche network, you can often find the advice you need on a social network. There are groups, forums and even whole social networks on just about every subject, so you're bound to find what you need.
Let's say you're looking for advice on a condition you just learned you had. Look around, I'll be there's a social network full of people just waiting to help you. If there's not, create your own.
Maybe you have some advice to offer to someone else. Join a social network on that topic and answer questions. Talk to other people who are going through the same thing you're going through, or already went through.
Almost everyone wants to feel wanted or needed, or they just want to belong. Join a social network and create your own circle of friends. Before you know it, you'll belong. Then you'll wonder how you ever lived without them.
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