As millions of people use the web for conducting detailed research on products and services, getting involved in political campaigns, joining music and film fan clubs, reviewing products, and discussing hobbies and passions, they congregate in all kinds of online places. The technologies and tools, which many people now refer to collectively as social media, all include ways for users to express their opinions online:
- Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn help people cultivate a community of friends and share information.
- Blogs, personal websites written by somebody who is passionate about a topic, provide a means to share that passion with the world and to foster an active community of readers who provide comments on the author's posts.
- Video and image sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, SlideShare, and Instagram greatly simplify the process of sharing and commenting on photos, graphical images, and videos.
- Chat rooms and message boards serve as online meeting places where people meet and discuss topics of interest, with the main feature being that anyone can start a discussion thread.
- Review sites such as Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, and TripAdvisor are places where consumers rate products, services, and companies.
- Listservs, similar to chat rooms, send messages out by email to a collection of registered members.
- Wikis are websites that anybody can edit and update.
- Social bookmarking sites like Digg ...