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Know Your Social Networks

The number and variety of social networking channels and platforms changes constantly. Here is an introduction to the most popular social sites. And while no one can really say what the future of Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare will be in the next two or five or ten years, it does seem clear that the idea behind social media and Web 2.0 — that people will use the Web not just to find information but to form and sustain relationships — is not going away.

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In one sentence: Currently the largest and most influential social network, Facebook allows its users to create relationships with one another that would be difficult if not impossible to create or maintain otherwise.

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In one sentence: In 140 characters or less (now 280), Twitter allows its users to send mass instant messages to their followers and to the world in general.

Contrary to popular belief, Twitter is not just about sharing what you had for lunch; it is a robust community that binds people of similar interests, a source many trust for the latest news and as an ongoing professional development tool.

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In one sentence: YouTube is the dominant video-sharing site on the Web. Forty-eight hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Users can subscribe to their favorite channels, leave comments on individual videos, and even post their own video responses.


In one sentence: Instagram is a photo and video sharing app that allows you to post images quickly from your phone, and follow the visual feeds of your friends, brands, institutions, or celebrities. Followers can "like" your photos, and reach and engagement on Instagram is often higher than on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.


In one sentence: A blog is a regularly maintained web-based journal that is interactive through allowing readers to post comments.

Many blogging platforms exist for bloggers. Wordpress, Tumblr and Posterous among the most popular right now. The University hosts Wordpress blogs at The Office of Admissions hosts student blogs at