Over the last couple of years social networking has risen dramatically in mainstream popularity. Sites that allow people of similar interests to connect and communicate with each other are nothing new, however, new technology and improvements in internet availability have vastly magnified the impact of social networks.
With the emergence of video, music and picture sharing sites, in conjunction with their comment and contact/friends list features, interactivity is more or less expected in websites. This is especially true if your target audience is the young demographic. Bearing this in mind it is prudent to consider if your site (and ultimately its visitors) would benefit from social networking features.
Not all websites require the same amount of interactivity and it would be ill-advised to add unnecessary features to a site that just detracts from its intended purpose. That said, social networks are here and they are popular, therefore they cannot be ignored.
Some popular social networks include: MySpace, Facebook, and Hi5.