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Your blog and social networking

Web 2.0 is an 'upgraded version' of the internet that's being driven by people and what they're interested in. Those that cater to this are developing methods of allowing people to find and use information and services that are specific to their needs. Social networking is a concept that many people are rushing into.

So how do you get into social networking with your blog?

1) Be interested in it. And interesting!
You need to be interested in being part of a social network first. And people aren't going to network to you unless you're interesting to them! You need to have a desire to connect to people, and to have them connect with you. This is often driven by shared interests, where you search for blogs that are interesting to you, and others doing the same stumble upon your own blog. Blogs are linked to, even shared, and this only happens if you're interested in it.

There are many blogs out there that don't engage in this, and they stand alone in a small community of themselves. Each to their own, of course. Some people just want to get a message out to others in some way, without any need to cater to the social aspect of blogging and the internet.

2) RSS Feeds.
This is probably the second-most important part of your blog in relation to social networking. (The most important being, of course, your blog itself.) RSS allows people to subscribe to your blog and be notified every time something changes. They're better than simply bookmarking a site in a browser, as updated content is 'pushed' to you rather than you having to manually go back to it, thus saving you a lot of time.

RSS Feeds are being used to push not just blog entries, but also news, stock quotes, weather data, and even photos, to just name a few.

Not only can you use RSS to push content to subscribers, you can also use RSS to pull content from other sources and display them on your website. I've done this with 'My Blogroll' (using Bloglines), and also 'Eyes On The World' to the right there, both of which take the RSS feed of another website and display it as a part of this one.

3) Trackbacks.
Also known as Backlinks. This allows people to link to your blog posts, and at the same time, it shows underneath the posts the blogs that have linked back to it. This allows you to respond with comments on those blogs that have linked back to you, and vice versa.

4) Blogrolls.
These are links to websites that you like, and that you want to share with others. They are a reflection of who you are, by displaying what you're interested in. They're a part of your social network, even if they might not realise it themselves! Of course, if they create reciprocal links back to you, it's not just 'increased exposure', but increased participation in social networking.

5) Bookmarks.
Also known as Tags. Places like Technorati, del.icio.us and BlinkList allow you to to save, categorise and share not only your blog posts, but also pages and websites that you want to do this with. This is called 'folksonomy'.

By accessing the tags or bookmarks on your relevent profile, people can see what you're interested in. They can also use this in a way similar to blogrolls, following the links that you share with them.

Tagging to these sites allows you to not only share links and content, but also to allow other users to voting on the popularity of those links. The more votes a link gets, the more popular and interesting the page obviously is.

Warning: one of the potential drawbacks to social bookmarking is that others can see what your interests are. Others, like… advertisers, who could use it to run advertising targeted specifically to you, thanks to your IP address gained from the social bookmarking site. It's always a good idea to be aware of the possibilities, good and bad.

In conclusion, anything that you can do or be part of that helps you contribute to other people's blogs, or helps them contribute to yours, can be considered social networking.

Thanks for reading! Please add your own thoughts below.

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