Social networking sites are the craze for our generation. Bands can promote themselves with MySpace. Twitter can break national news (need I remind you of Osama bin Laden’s death?). Facebook arguably has a social networking monopoly, inviting users to keep in touch with friends and families, find jobs, or start discussions about common interests. Google, trying to keep up with the times, introduced its own site, Google+.
I have no doubt that students spend an insanely large amount of hours on social networking sites, especially with availability of mobile applications. Whether students desire to keep in touch or promote themselves for a job, some sites are just better than others for college students now.
Here is my analysis of the best social networking sites, based on user simplicity, design, purpose and accessibility.
This cannot be a shock to anyone. Facebook killed MySpace and became the Julius Caesar of the social networking empire. Facebook is the do-all social networking site, connecting users to anyone from former high school classmates, to favorite businesses, celebrities, television shows, and so much more. Facebook apps on iPhones and Androids allow 24/7 access, making users even more addicted. Facebook is so big that it has its own Oscar-winning movie and phone by HTC.
Google+ is eerily similar to Facebook, but the one thing I like about Google+ over Facebook is the fact it is Google. My Gmail and Picasa accounts are easily connected to Google+ as well as Google Maps, making an already simple networking site even easier. Google+ is just as simple to use as Facebook with an easy-to-use, clear design and nothing that clutters the main screen. The con is that this site is young and has not attracted as many users yet.
The bird design is a nice trademark that digitalizes the carrier pigeon. Twitter’s brief, to-the-point microblog starts a communal dialogue in 140 characters or less between strangers or friends. Twitter is great for brief news or marketing promotions, but not the best network for those who just want to stay in touch. Twitter is also a bit tricky to learn, but simple to use once you understand the difference between the “#” and the “@” signs. I especially like the mobile app on my Android phone, keeping me up-to-date with news in the shortest amount of time.
Every college student prior to graduating should consider joining LinkedIn. Profiles become your resume and allow professionals and companies to search for potential employees. As with all social networks, users can link together and allow more people to link to your profile and your résumé. As we graduate from college, this is a good way to show employers that you are web-savvy and a desirable candidate for a job.
I will give an honorable mention to MySpace. I believe MySpace started the craze, and I admit, I had a MySpace when I was in high school. MySpace has morphed however from the “keeping in touch” site to the music promotion site. Any time I search on MySpace, I’m not looking for friends or family, but biographical information or music clips on up-and-coming bands. My hat’s off to you, MySpace, for starting the cyber connections.
These are my favorite top social networking sites for the college student. These sites help do anything and everything we want to do — keep in touch with friends and family, keep updated on news and eventually find careers after graduation. We live in a cyber world that is only growing and expanding, so it is best to stay connected in it.