A social network is a platform or web portal, where users can communicate with each other and share digital content such as text, images, links or videos. Social networks are used by both individuals and companies. In 2013, more than two-thirds of all Internet users were active on social media.
Social networks have established themselves as an important social medium for the exchange of opinions on the Internet, mainly through the popularity of Facebook. These networks are called "social" because people connect and communicate with each other individually or in groups.
Each social network is about user profiles, which individual users or companies can create for free. Through a profile, companies or individuals can be present and send status messages to friends, clients, business partners or the entire network. Status messages consist of text, images, videos, links, locations or memes, depending on the network, and can be viewed and commented on by other users. Some networks also offer email and chat as communication channels.
Facebook file: facebook.png | Facebook
With over a billion users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world. At the same time of private use, Facebook plays an important role in the marketing of companies. Even public organizations are represented on Facebook.
The typical Facebook user
More than 50 percent of Facebook users in Spain are between 18 and 34 years old. The social network is mainly used by individuals to keep in touch with friends and share with others.
Use by companies
Facebook offers numerous opportunities for companies to represent themselves, make direct contact with potential customers and the target audience. Fan pages can be managed by multiple people. Images, texts, links and videos can be published. At the same time, people can be encouraged to contribute pots for even greater coverage. Through the various segmentation options, many companies use the social network to increase their advertising reach.
Facebook has been financed since its IPO through shareholder investments and commercial promotion.
After its founding more than 10 years ago, Facebook is now widely criticized for stopping being disruptive and keeping up. Facebook took a long time to provide an application that worked properly. Similarly, nothing changed in the appearance of the profiles for long. One of the most important and recurring points of criticism is privacy, which is manifested both in new technologies and in face accreditation software or in problems related to the "Like" button on websites.
Facebook is repeatedly under attack when it comes to privacy and data security. The social network reserves the right to commercially use the contents of the profiles. After several modifications, users now have the opportunity to define precisely in the privacy settings which data will be publicly available from the profile and which will not.
Google Plus is the social network of the search engine company Google. With just under half a billion registered users, it is the second largest social network in the world. At the same time as the classic forms of communication by means of status updates with photos, text, links and videos, it offers what is known as "hangouts", a type of video conferencing, yet another means of communication.
Google Plus users
A typical Google Plus user has his own Google account, which automatically creates a profile on this social network. According to statistics, Google Plus is more used by older users. Google Plus's focus is more on the business sector, such as maintaining business contacts. Google Plus is also very popular in certain sectors such as online marketing and the SEO scene.
Use by companies
Companies can create their own profile in the Google Plus search engine with the myBusiness account. You can align this profile with the type of business. As an integral part of the Google product portfolio, companies have the option to have their Google Plus profile appear directly in search results where the company name is entered. At the same time, the company profile can also be used for commercial promotion with Google AdWords.
The social network is funded by Google Group advertising revenue.
Google Plus was often criticized for being a "phantom network" or "ghost network" since, even though it may have many profiles, its owners may not be actively using their accounts. This is because a Google Plus account is created automatically when a user opens a Google account. A Google account is also a prior requirement for the use of a mobile with the Android operating system. The rapid increase in the number of Android devices has increased the number of profiles. Since Google has increasingly integrated its social network into its global concept, there has been an increase in user activity in the Google Plus search engine.
The Google Group repeatedly finds itself caught in the crossfire of privacy advocates. Google Plus has been criticized for the fact that a public profile is created automatically when a user opens a Google account and the images published in the Google Plus search engine are also automatically indexed.
Twitter is a micro-blogging service where users can exchange content. With more than 230 million active users, it is one of the largest social networks in the world. It should be noted that only 280 characters can be used for a tweet. Users can comment on messages or "follow" other users. Through hashtags, you can search all tweets by topic. Another special feature of Twitter is that all messages are immediately displayed in real time on the followers' timeline.
In Spain, the short message service is used mainly by users between the ages of 14 and 29. People can communicate about current trends or side events on this social network. Older users use Twitter mainly to stay informed in real time on political and cultural news.
Use by companies
Companies use Twitter mainly to set trends or inform their followers about events in real time. Twitter is a popular medium for the rapid dissemination of news about events and press conferences.
Twitter was long funded by investors interested in user data. In the meantime, Twitter also offers paid commercial promotion in the form of promoted tweets or promoted accounts.
For a long time, Twitter was classified as an unnecessary extra to Facebook, because many people did not see sense in short messages of only 140 characters, which was the length of the messages at the beginning of the social network. For investors, Twitter was typically unattractive because business promotion opportunities are limited on such a platform.
Twitter, like all other social networks in the United States, continually faces problems with local data protection law.
LinkedIn claims to be the largest online professional network, active in more than 200 countries and with 200 million registered members. LinkedIn gives its users access to people, places, news, updates, and inside information. This is to ensure that users operate successfully in professional life. Compared to XING, a similar German social network, LinkedIN has a more international orientation.
About 70 percent of LinkedIn users in Spain are between 35 and more than 50 years old. Its users are mainly interested in expanding business contacts and being present.
Use by companies
Companies can use LinkedIn mainly to recruit staff, to do recruiting. Headhunters use LinkedIn profiles to fill jobs with matching candidates. With LinkedIn Ads, companies can also advertise on the social network.
At the same time, companies can have their own LinkedIn page and be present to a wide audience.
LinkedIn is financed, first, by income from the stock exchange, and second, by trade promotion and premium member payments.
LinkedIn is criticized on a daily basis by consumer advocates. On the one hand, deleting an account is extremely complicated, since the must-have functions are not obvious. Second, the lack of privacy is repeatedly criticized.
Pinterest was established in 2010 as a new social network in Palo Alto, United States. The network is mainly characterized by its collections of bulletin board images. Registered users can upload images or "repin", which is equivalent to "share" or "like" on social media platforms. According to company information, there are more than 30 billion images uploaded to Pinterest. Pinterest has more than 70 million registered users globally as of 2014.
Pinterest's target group is users looking to share their images with other users.
Use by companies
In Spain, the use of Pinterest by companies is still relatively low, even though the social network offers specific pages for companies. In the US, Pinterest is used by large companies primarily for branding.
Pinterest was funded in the early years after its founding by investors. In 2014, the first “promoted pins” were introduced, that is, paid positions in companies.
Two years after its launch, Pinterest came under fire because the network was making money from affiliate links without stating it in its Terms and Conditions. Copyrights were also criticized. Until the Terms and Conditions were changed, Pinterest reserved the right to market the images that had been uploaded to its platform. Pinterest is currently being criticized primarily because image uploads are routinely incompatible with local copyright laws and thus private users are under threat of warnings.
As with all US-based social networks, Pinterest's handling of privacy and data protection can be criticized. It is essential to know that Pinterest can use the information that users provide as part of their profile for commercial promotion and for its own purposes. At the same time, Pinterest can enter contact information from Facebook or Twitter if a user connects to Pinterest through these social networks.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform in the United States and is part of Yahoo! Users can share texts, videos, music, links, images or quotes with others. Furthermore you can comment on individual posts, the use of hashtags and "liking" are also possible. According to the company, in 2014 there were nearly 200 million blogs and 83 billion entries on Tumblr.
Anyone who uses Tumblr is primarily interested in speedy image distribution. For this reason, Tumblr has mostly established itself in the art and fashion scene as a social network. Because of his quick and easy way to share content, Tumblr is popular with users ages 15-24.
Use by companies
Tumblr is very little used by companies for marketing purposes, even though the micro-blogging service could offer, for example, a potential for viral marketing campaigns.
So far Tumblr belongs to the Yahoo network and is funded by investors. The parent company has yet to find a solid business model.
Tumblr is routinely criticized because content posted there violates copyright or child protection. By the simple use of the blog system it is also prone to webspam.
The privacy settings on Tumblr are pretty sparse. Everything that is published is visible to everyone. Sending private messages is only feasible if you follow a blog for a long time.
Badoo was founded in 2006 in England and currently has more than 200 million users and is one of the largest social networks in the world. The brand is, in this way, one of the most valuable in the world in the area of social networks.
At Badoo we focus primarily on making new contacts through the Internet. Often times, the network is seen as a kind of dating platform. With the location feature, members can see where they are. Therefore, "live meetings" can be easily organized.
Use by companies
Badoo is designed primarily for private use.
Unlike other social networks, Badoo dispensed with commercial promotion. Instead, members pay a monthly fee if they want to use more than just the basic features.
Many Badoo profiles are said to be fake and do not represent real members. To date, there are no exact studies on this.
Badoo users should be careful with the information they disclose through their profile, as with any social network, since this data is widely used and is made public by default.
Social networks are now an integral part of the daily life of the modern human being. The real benefit depends, however, on the degree of relationship of a user in each social network and the purposes for which it is used. For companies, social networks can offer good opportunities to maintain their own brand or contact with customers.