The first thing we need to focus on here is that social is NOT something new, nor does it define the recent Web 2.0 craze in any way.
In fact the whole concept of what Web 2.0 really means has been so widely distorted that many marketers and web designers are now using it to help promote products and services that have NOTHING to do with what Web 2.0 really means.
Even the ever popular Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 as “a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services (such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies) which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing between users”. You’ll notice that the term “perceived” is one of first words used, as much of what we have come to believe is reality is based on our perception, but in truth social networking is far more than that.
To show this Wikipedia further goes on to say; “Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users use webs. Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”
Summing up the last two statements from Wikipedia you’ll notice that social networking and the social networks and platforms are not anything new. What is new and what does feed in to the Web 2.0 craze that has recently made many of these social networks so popular is the easy to use platforms that allows the end user access to a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) graphic user interface once they sign up and log in to their favorite social networking websites.
Again the concept here is NOT new. Social networks have existed since the early days of the internet with bulletin boards, which later lead to the early days of what we now call blogging and forums. You could post your message to viewers back then, just as you can now. The difference with social networking today when using the new WYSIWYG platform is that you can now easily add your own images, animations, videos, audios, squeeze pages (for lead generation to build an email list) and polls. Depending on which of social networks that you join the possibilities are stammering compared to the “old way” of social networking online.