Social media or social network?
What’s the difference between social media and social networks? They have two different purposes. Social media sites publish content and allow people to contribute in various ways (e.g., blogs and discussion forums). Social networks, on the other hand, are used to directly connect users, so they are part of the broader category of social media.
What is an online social network?
According to Office québécois de la langue française, a social network is a community of Web users linked by friendly or professional ties whether within the same areas of activity or not, that encourages social interaction, creativity, and sharing.
Value of social networks
Social networks emphasize contacts and content.
Contact networks are used to:
- Connect individuals (associates, business partners, former students, friends, family members, and potential dates)
- Help users further their professional careers, artistic distribution and visibility, etc.
While content networks are used to:
- Share photos, information, music, and videos
- Talk about current events, etc.
The major social networks
Facebook, Messenger, Google +, Google Hangouts (Google Duo), Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Spotify, and YouTube are some of the best known and most popular social networks.
Facebook and Google + primarily focus on personal contact while LinkedIn is a professional reference network. Twitter allows users to send short messages (“tweets”) in response to things that are happening in the world.
Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 for students at Harvard but rapidly expanded it to other universities, colleges, and schools before opening it up to all users age 13 and over. Originally designed as a way for friends to connect, Facebook is now one of the world’s leading networking sites and has an astronomical number of users. The site may have originally been built to “bring people closer together,” but so many features have been added over time that it has gone from being a simple tool for communication between individuals to being a robust website with a multitude of different tools. Facebook is one of the most visited websites in the world.
On this social network you can:
- Create a profile page and share your tastes and interests
- Maintain, expand, and cultivate contacts in a virtual environment and find, communicate, and interact with other users (e.g., friends, family members, former coworkers, partners, associates) via messages, instant messaging, and video calling
- Share your mood, highlights of your day, information, photos, videos, files, and documents with your contacts
- React to posts by your contacts and traditional media outlets (e.g., newspapers)
- Invite people to events
- Join and create groups and invite others to join
- Use all kind of apps, games, and other features
Basically, Facebook is like a daily newspaper made up of articles, photos, and videos posted by you and your friends along with advertisements that match your interests.
Facebook Messenger is an app built in to Facebook that allows you to communicate with others via instant messaging (text), video calling, and voice calling. You can also get a notification when you receive a message, send not only text messages but also voice messages, share photos and videos, search for people, create groups, and more.
Facebook Messenger is available for Windows, iOS, and Android, making it a popular app on tablets, smartphones, and PCs. Members who register their mobile phone can communicate without an Internet connection and without even having a Facebook account.
FADOQ.ca workshops: Sign up today!
To learn more, register for the Initiation aux réseaux sociaux – Facebook et Messenger class offered by Ateliers FADOQ.ca. Contact your regional office to find out if the class is offered in your region. For detailed information on the class content, see the table of contents of the participant’s workbook.