More companies are now discovering that a connected business is not just about implementing a set of business marketing tools -- it is also about embracing the shift in our culture of the 21st century to create an environment where business and the customers develop relationships through sharing and collaboration. This paper will address what is social networking, some of the benefits of social networking such as, monitoring on¬line communities, creating and supporting virtual communities, developing new communication channels, and fostering a wide range of customer engagements, and also barriers to using social networking. In addition, it will highlight some popular networking sites for professionals and business to use as marketing tools, like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and YouTube. Social networking tools of the 21st century will unlock a business's potential.
With the new millennium comes a new way to communicate. Social networking sites have replaced telephones and letters with a global social media. It is the new way to communicate in the 21st century. Dictionary.com defines social networking as "the development of social and professional contacts; the sharing of information and services among people with a common interest" (Dictionary.com, 2012). The development of Web 2.0 applications has created this social networking experience. "Web 2.0 enables collaboration in a way that had previously been impossible. Web 2.0 provides a forum for everyone to share their voice and ideas with the world. Web 2.0 is collaborative and revolutionary" (Bowles, 2010, Chapter 7.1).