Tweeting, friending, tagging - the world of social networking can be a confusing place for the uninitiated. Here's a guide to a few of the most popular social networking sites.
Facebook was founded in February 2004 as a social networking site for college students. Eventually it was opened to any type of user, and those older than 35 are the fastest growing demographic on the site.
The site allows users to connect in a variety of ways. Each user's home page displays a news feed where information is displayed about what his or her friends are doing on the site.
If a friend, let's say Bobby, updates his status to say "Bobby just got a new puppy," it shows up in his friends' news feeds. His friends can then comment on that status or simply give it a thumbs up to say they like it.
If he posts photos of his new puppy, they also are displayed in his friends' news feed and they can comment on or "like" the photos. He can post photos of his friends and tag them, which sends them a notification that he has done so.
Bobby can post links to cool Web sites on his friends' walls. He can also send them a public message by writing on that wall. He can even do this from his cell phone or via Twitter.
Facebook boasts more than 200 million active users, defined as those who have returned to the site in the last 30 days.
MySpace began as a social networking site in 2003. The site allows users to connect with one another and share information about themselves.
Users can post information to a bulletin for their friends to see in the bulletin space on their home page. There's also an activity stream that shows what friends are doing on MySpace. Users can also change their status and mood, which displays on the home page.
Twitter bases its existence on a simple question - What are you doing? Users answer this question however frequently they like and the answers are called tweets.
Twitter users can follow other users, and on their home page they will see their own tweets along with the tweets of anyone they follow.
According to the site, this exchange of quick, simple information allows users to stay connected to one another through a structured flow of information.
The site was founded in March of 2006.