What does a social network look like?

 

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What does a social network look like?

Two people get close and smile while looking at a phone screen

What's coming up

Generally speaking, social networks are about sharing updates with people.

This might be a status update announcing that you've got engaged, a video of a song you like, or just a photo of your dinner.

Hopefully you've started to get an idea of how social networks can differ from one another. Now it's time to take a look at some of the features that they share.

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Friends or followers?

On some social networking sites, like Twitter, the standard is for anyone to be able to see your updates and follow when you share news.

These sites are designed for people who want to share their updates with everyone. This is fairly common among businesses, as they're sharing less personal content. If you want your updates to be just between you and the people you connect with, you can change your privacy settings.

A mobile device showing a holiday photo with cancel, change and share buttons

Feeds and profiles

When you log into a social network, you'll usually see a long list of all the things people you're connected to have shared recently, called a news feed.

If you've connected with someone, you'll be able to find more information about them on their profile by clicking on the picture next to their post. Let’s see how you can do this on Facebook.

On the next slide is a practice that includes some steps to try yourself. Select the Continue button below to begin and then follow the instructions on the right-hand side of the screen.

Feeds and profiles

Feeds and profiles

This is an interactive activity that allows learners to practise finding out more about their friends on Facebook. This activity has no sound track and is made up of a number of images and text instructions with opportunities for the user to enter text or click on links as part of the exercise.

This is to encourage confidence using the internet by practising a simple exercise in a simulated environment.

If a mistake is made during this exercise, there will be a prompt to ask you to try it again. If another mistake is made, the video will show you how to complete that section of the exercise.

How private?

Social networking sites have privacy settings which let you decide what you share and who you share it with. How will you approach privacy?

Some people decide to keep their information quite private. This means that only their connections can view their profile and things they share.

People with these settings might even appear in search results without a picture next to their name.

A closed padlock
An open padlock

Other people are far more open about what they share and don't mind people viewing their profile. People with these settings need to be extra careful about what details they share.

How do you feel about online privacy? If you don't want people you don't know viewing your profile content, then keep it to yourself and your friends. And never share passwords and personal information like bank details online.

A padlock and a question mark

Time to get connected

You're nearly ready to start socialising online. Next, we have some tips to keep in mind when you're getting started.

Choosing a site

There are plenty of social networking sites on offer. You may want to join different websites for different things – you don't have to stick to just one! Have a think about exactly what you want from your social network. It might also be a good idea to ask your friends which sites they use.

A handheld device showing a range of social media logos

Making a connection

Once you've found who you're looking for, you can send them an invitation to connect with you. Colin has joined Facebook and wants to get in touch with some old friends. Let's help him do this.

On the next slide is a practice that includes some steps to try yourself. Select the Continue button below to begin and then follow the instructions on the right-hand side of the screen.

Making a connection

Making a connection

This is an interactive activity that allows learners to send an invitation to friends on Facebook. This activity has no sound track and is made up of a number of images and text instructions with opportunities for the user to enter text or click on links as part of the exercise.

This is to encourage confidence using the internet by practising a simple exercise in a simulated environment.

If a mistake is made during this exercise, there will be a prompt to ask you to try it again. If another mistake is made, the video will show you how to complete that section of the exercise.

A computer screen showing a range of social media logos

Socialising

Social networks are fun and safe places to socialise. Once you've logged in you can choose who to connect with. Anyone who accepts will then be a part of your network and will have access to your profile and updates.

Privacy

Social networks may feel private, but the things you post may actually be visible to anyone with an internet connection.

Some people are OK with this, but others like to be part of a closer-knit online community. This is the choice of each individual user. Just be sure that your privacy settings are right for you.

A computer screen with a padlock on it
Women play with a mobile phone screen

Congratulations!

Well done, you've now completed the What does a social network look like? activity.

You've learnt about making connections online and options for keeping your information private.

This is the end of this course. You've seen how the internet can be used to stay in touch with people all over the world. You've also found out about some popular social networking sites and how you can socialise safely online.