It seems like a new Web site like Facebook launches every day.We’re here to help you figure out which ones are worth your time, and which ones are a waste.
Google+ is Google's social network that came out in 2011.
Size: 90 million
Who Should Use It: You should use Google+ if you hate Facebook, or if you want to have constructive conversations with random people you don't know in person.
Benefits: It's not Facebook. There are no ads (yet). Heated intellectual discussions get started on Google+, unlike almost any other social network. Circles (groups of friends to share specific content with) beats the crap out of Facebook 'Lists.' Video hangouts with multiple friends are pretty cool.
Negatives: How much Google is pushing its own products inside Google+, and Google+ inside its other products (like Google Search). Creating Circles is tiring. Ugly and already-antiquated user interface.
Facebook is 'The Social Network,' the phoenix born from MySpace's ashes where everyone's profile looks pretty much the same.
Size: 800 million
Who Should Use It: You should use Facebook if you want to keep in touch with people you're friends with in real life, and if you want to share photos of people.
Benefits: Everybody you know is on it. Great app on every platform. The easiest way to share with friends, since all of your friends are likely using it.
Negatives: Everybody you know is on it, and sharing with specific groups of people is not easy. Convoluted and frequently mutating privacy settings.
Path is a hot San Francisco startup making waves for its great design, friendly interface, and emphasis on small communities of people.
Size: 2 million
Who Should Use It: Probably not you. Path is, for now, strictly for early adopter types since none of your friends are on it yet.
Benefits: There's a 150 friend limit so you only 'friend' your close buddies. Path is one of the best looking mobile apps ever built.
Negatives: Most people you know aren't on Path, so you're going to either have to convince them to join, or be content spending time posting updates that only a small group of people will see. Also, Path is only on iPhone and Android.
Twitter is a social network, but is also the news ticker of the future. Users communicate exclusively via short messages (Tweets).
Size: 500 million
Who Should Use It: You should use Twitter if you want to stay up to date with writers, celebrities, sports stars, CEOs, and generally anybody that has something worth saying.
Benefits: Celebrities and important people use Twitter more than any other social network. 140-character limit on status updates keeps content on the site uncluttered and concise.
Negatives: There's no way to only share with family or only share with friends. Twitter is not for tweeting things like 'just woke up and had a bagel.'
Instagram is one of the most popular social networks and apps that's exclusively on iPhone.
Size: 15 million
Who Should Use It: People who are obsessed with taking pictures and showing them to others.
Benefits: Instagram is a tightly nice and friendly group of photo enthusiasts with iPhones. Excellent free filters (many iPhone filter apps are not free). Expect many nice comments about your photos from strangers. Great export tools to all your other social networks.
Negatives: Only on iPhone, for now at least.
LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals, but as of late has turned into a link-sharing social network unto itself.
Size: 135 million
Who Should Use It: Every professional and unemployed person should have a LinkedIn profile, but you'll probably only use it if you're looking for a job or if you're a HR person.
Benefits: LinkedIn is all about networking with other professionals, recommending the work of others, and finding jobs. You can really see results based on time you invest in networking and adding to your LinkedIn profile.
Negatives: Many annoying friend requests from people you don't know, cluttered website, annoying notification emails.
Foursquare is the social network where you 'check in' every place you go.
Size: 15 million
Who Should Use It: You should use Foursquare if you frequently check websites in order to find food to eat and things to do.
Benefits: 'Explore' feature is a great way to find places to eat and things to do near you--especially places that friends have recommended. When you check in to certain places, you are eligible for free food or drinks. It's fun to see what your friends are doing and make comments.
Negatives: It's mostly useful if you have many friends using it that live in your city, unlike Twitter and Instagram.
Tumblr is the fastest growing site for creating blogs online.
Size: 42 million blogs, tens of millions of users
Who Should Use It: You should use Tumblr if you're interested in sharing art, funny pictures, videos, and all things visual with strangers.
Benefits: Tumblr is a community of creative people sharing great GIF animations, photographs, poems, articles, and videos. It's all about sharing, and all about correct attribution (via the 'reblog' button), so when things go viral, it's easy to see where it all started.
Negatives: The system for user to user communication could be much more fleshed out. Messaging is very rudimentary.