An overview of what social networking is, how it works and what you can do with it.
Social networking. It's a popular way of using the internet that makes the web simpler and more about you and your friends. The great thing about social networking is that it lets you see what your friends and family are up to, even if they're not that good at keeping in touch. Instead of them having to write you a postcard, or even remembering to email, they post photos, messages, and updates onto a website page where everyone can see them. You can respond or put up pictures and messages of your own.
To get connected with social networking, you don't need a powerful computer, just a device that connects to the internet via a web browser and an email address. You can use a smartphone, a computer, or even some newer televisions, but tablets like the iPad are an especially great way to use social networking.
The most popular social network right now is Facebook. It lets you share your photos, videos, and comment on things other people have shared, and even send private messages. Because Facebook has millions of members, it's really good at helping you find long-lost friends, or connect with your extended family.
Other social networks include Twitter, which is all about sharing quick, short thoughts and notes with a group of followers.Then there's YouTube, which specialises in video. It's where you can watch clips and upload your own to all to see.
All these social networks can be accessed through websites. You visit them like any part of the internet, but the difference is once you get on, you may never want to leave. The best thing is that they're all free to join.