By Vidhan Rana

For those of us who did not grow up connecting with friends or even making new friends online, the world of social networking seems a little odd. We have a hard time comprehending why one would want to share photos of themselves with the world on sites like MySpace or share what they are doing from moment to moment on twitter. But social networking sites like twitter, Facebook & MySpace have become a part of life for many, especially those under 30.

Many say that sites like twitter are a total waste of time. The skepticism about social networking sites is portrayed well in the image above. When you first open a twitter, you may find yourself agreeing with the creator of this image. But after spending some time looking at the tools within twitter and considering its potential business use, you may have a reason to rethink your position.

If twitter was so worthless, why do we hear speculation that Google or Apple may buy the company for over $150 million? Why would we hear it mentioned dozens of times on television news networks like CNN every day? Why were people in Iran using twitter to send messages to the whole world during the recent post-election crisis in the country?

An analogy that I saw on YouTube has helped me understand how social-networking sites fit into our world today. Think of twitter like a party. Why do we go to parties? We go there to meet friends, meet new people and make conversations, or more accurately, to make small talk. That is exactly what twitter is. It is a place where we can meet new people, connect with old friends and make small talk. What do we do when we go to parties? We dress up, try to make interesting conversations and listen to others.

One complaint that I hear from novice users of social networking sites is that they do not know what to do after they open an account. The answer here is simple: Dress up (make sure you complete your profile), style your hair (upload pictures so that others know who you are) and make interesting conversations (regularly update your profile and send out tweets often).