Social Media: Introduction 

In the online world, social networking sites have become a predominant forum for kids to present themselves, seek approval, and describe their interests. One of the defining features of most social networking pages is the visual and audio clutter; these sites often look like over-decorated high school yearbooks or scrapbooks. Teens use these pages as a place to feature everything in their heads and hearts that they want people to know about. The central feature of these sites is the ability to connect with people and share information.

 What is a social networking site?

  • Social networking sites are virtual communities.      
  • Kids convene on these sites to chat, IM, post pictures, and blog (journal).   
  •  They appeal to teens because they provide instant community, instant celebrity, and encompass so many of     the online tools and entertainment activities that teens know and love.    
  •  They provide access to real-time and asynchronous communication features; blogging tools; photo-, music-, and video-sharing features; and the ability to post original creative work—all linked to a unique profile that can be customized and updated on a regular basis.

"People go on the site; they share photos of themselves and their friends.  Maybe they went on a trip somewhere and they put pictures up about it. They blog about it--meaning they talk about it.  They have comments on their pictures that people leave and they look for other friends.  They can explore content, comedy, movies, bands... so not only is it about users putting information on the site; it's also getting information on the site."

— Hemanshu Nigam,  Former Chief Security Officer, Fox Interactive Media and MySpace