To most of us “social media” means one of two things - Facebook or Twitter. But the web is a goldmine for sharing and networking, so maybe it’s time to explore...
In a nutshell: a virtual pinboard covered in stuff you like.
It's good because you're inspired by others who share your interests.
But you currently need an invite to join.
Pinterest lets you organise and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. Users create a virtual "pinboard" for each of their personal interests. People also use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes and organise their favourite recipes.
When using Pinterest you're essentially creating a visual impression of everything you've found and liked online. It helps you connect with people through things you find interesting. It's still relatively new but it's been tipped by experts as the next social success story.
At the moment, you need to request an invite to join.
In a nutshell: a tool that helps you get more out of living where you live.
It's good because you discover new places and save money.
But the really great deals are few and far between.
Foursquare is a useful tool that's used by over 15 million people worldwide. It helps you find places to eat, drink and do things nearby - wherever you can access mobile broadband - on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. It's also a lot of fun.
You earn points every time you "check in" at a location - whether it's a train station, cafe, museum or bar - and if you visit enough times, you'll eventually become the "mayor" of that place. It can also be a way to save money, as lots of businesses give discounts to customers who check in. Users can also leave a "tip" for others who visit that location in future. So it might be a short review of a restaurant, or simply saying "try the strawberry milkshake" at an ice cream parlour.
Whether you're travelling around the world, planning a night out with friends or just trying to find somewhere cheap to buy lunch, Foursquare makes an ideal companion.
In a nutshell: the world's largest music streaming and discovery site.
It's good because you find new music and share playlists with friends.
But you need to watch your download limit when streaming.
Grooveshark is an on-demand music platform and online community that's quite similar to Spotify or Last.fm. It has more than 30 million users and lets people listen to their favourite bands and albums, create playlists and discover new tunes.
It can all then be shared via Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Grooveshark is completely free to use, but it's best to have an unlimited broadband package, or at least a generous usage limit, before streaming too heavily.
In a nutshell: a global social gaming network.
It's good because it has tons of free games you can play against other users.
But you need fast, reliable broadband for the best gaming experience.
Friendster is a social network that's focused on helping young people stay in contact with friends while gaming online. The games are often quite simple and suit casual rather than hardcore gamers.
But unlike many online games, the titles on Friendster don't require any download or installation. All you need to play is reliable broadband. And members can use an "avatar" to hide their true identity, which should help kids stay safe.
For more information, read our expert's advice on keeping your kids safe online.
In a nutshell: it's a new way to watch television.
It's good because you chat, share and tweet about what's on TV.
But it's only really useful on a laptop or tablet.
Zeebox is a free app that's with you on your laptop or iPad, while you watch TV. It knows what programmes you've got on and can tell you what your friends are watching. It can also give you more information about what you're watching, instantly.
Users can also interact in a variety of innovative ways. For instance, you can invite your friends to watch what you're watching - or sneak a peek at what they've got on their telly. Also, everyone can chat together, or you can tweet about programmes as Twitter is integrated with Zeebox.
It's great for anyone using Wi-Fi or mobile broadband on their lap while watching TV.
In a nutshell: a photo-sharing app that's spawned a global community.
It's good because it turns digital images into quirky "instamatic" snaps.
But it's only available on Apple devices.
Instagram is a simple and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of beautiful photographs. In a few clicks it makes dull digital photos appear like vintage snaps from a Polaroid or instamatic camera.
The app also makes it easy to share your photos, by email, Facebook, Twitter or Flickr, though it is currently only available on the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Oh yeah, did we mention it's free to download?
In a nutshell: quickly share anything you find on the web.
But there's less emphasis on writing - half of all posts are photos.
Tumblr is to blogging what text messages are to email. Users post short and concise micro-blog entries, a bit like tweeting on Twitter but without the strict character limit. Another similarity is that users "follow" one another to stay informed every time their favourite bloggers post something.
But with Tumblr you can effortlessly share anything, from photos, videos and interesting articles to sound recordings, quotes and straightforward text. Everything you share will be tagged with relevant keywords to help other users find and "reblog" it - and hopefully start following you too.
Like Pinterest, Tumblr is useful for getting inspired if you're an artist or other creative type.
In a nutshell: a place to upload your photos.
It's good because it helps photographers organise their work and other people find images they can use elsewhere.
But there's a risk your photos will be used without permission.
Flickr allows you to upload photos - at home or on mobile broadbandwherever you go - to keep them organised and accessible in one place online. You also set specific permissions for every photo you upload, to prevent copyright infringement and help protect your privacy.
The social side of Flickr means you can keep up with friends and share your stories, adding notes and comments. You can also attach rich information to photos, like the location at which they were taken, what type of camera you used and the names of people in them.
Lots of amateur and professional photographers use Flickr to publish their portfolio online.
In a nutshell: a social network where profiles read like an online CV.
It's good because you can "friend" your boss with less danger of getting sacked over a status update.
But it's more about professional networking than friendship.
LinkedIn is a professional network anyone can join, to make keeping in touch with colleagues, clients and contacts that little bit easier. It works in a similar way to Facebook, but instead of friends you have "connections" and instead of a timeline or wall, you essentially have an online CV.
The focus is always on careers and professionalism, so LinkedIn etiquette is to recommend people you've enjoyed working with - or maybe just because they recommended you - to help them attract the attention of potential head hunters.
LinkedIn is only really suitable if you work in business, media or another professional field.
In a nutshell: it's Google's attempt at taking on Facebook.
It's good because you can group contacts into "circles" for different types of interaction.
But most people would still rather use Facebook it seems.
Google+ recently hit 100 million users, making it one of the world's largest social networks, though still tiny in comparison to Facebook's 800 million. While most people seem reluctant to leave their favourite social network behind, Google's effort does have some cool features.
Central to the mechanics of Google+ are "circles" of friends, which you create by grouping together your contacts. For example, you'd most likely keep your boss in a completely different circle from an old classmate or your gran.
Another great feature is "hangouts" which allow people to get together online, to coordinate plans, collaborate on projects or simply to chat on webcam.
The wide variety of websites mean social media really is for everyone. Whether you're a blogger using Tumblr, an artist getting inspired with Pinterest or just hobnobbing with LinkedIn's movers and shakers, the easiest way to do things nowadays is socially and online.
All you need is a home computer with broadband - or a portable device with mobile broadband - to get involved and enter new realms of connectivity. To find the best broadband deals in your area, use the free and impartial broadbandchoices price calculator.