All of us exist as part of a social network. Our families, our friends, businesses, careers, schools, these are all social networks. It is simply a natural part of the way we act, we interact, we communicate. One of the innovations of development of the Internet is the use of these concepts of social networking to develop web sites that are more powerful and more interactive.

MySpace is one of the most visible examples of social networking online. Users create their own unique web pages where they can share information about themselves, even run their own blogs. Other users can directly communicate with the creator of a MySpace page through the page for completely decentralized communication; unlike, say, a message board or a chat room where all interaction is required to take place on a single or handful of communal pages (Although these opportunities are also available through MySpace). MySpace users use the system to meet up with friends, make new friends and meet new people.

MySpace, of course, is not the only online social networking system available. Blogging in general is a form of social networking. Sites such as, LiveJournal, Facebook and others are also similar social networking systems. However, these sorts of sites are only the tip of the iceberg for the usefulness of online social networking systems.

Businesses have begun to implement social networking concepts into their online business models. This allows for greater interaction between fellow consumers as well as the consumers and the people who are a part of the business. User created reviews and comments, for example, allow customers to learn much more about products before making purchases. Social networking systems are also used in the creation of banner and advertising networks, making marketing more targeted and thus more powerful.

A business can also use this development model for inter-business networks. This can create increased and easier communication between employees, where they can share information and news quickly and easily through the business social network. It is a truly powerful tool that has taken communication to a whole new level.

Online social networking is also becoming a part of the health care world. The technology is powerful for the sharing of institutional and medical knowledge, as well as creating peer-to-peer generated databases highlighting the abilities and careers of individual health care professionals to more accurately and quickly disseminate knowledge. Medical wikis, for example, or massive profile systems used to quickly find information about a health care professional in your area.

Social networking is all about taking concepts which are natural in the offline world and use them to create a more powerful form of interaction online. Whether they are straight forward social networking sites (like MySpace), cyberspace business platforms to increase interaction between customers and sellers or a means to disseminate medical knowledge, the applications of social networking online are nearly limitless. As the technology continues to develop the applications will increasingly become varied and used in different situations. Online social networking is the future.