A social network is a type of virtual community, however whereas most traditional virtual communities were based on the content and information discussed (communities of interest), the revolution of social networking places relationships at the centre of the communities. Social Networking services (SNS) are more about people and their relationships than connecting content itself.
- A virtual community is a forum of exchanging information about common interests. They provide a sense of place and belonging based on those shared interests. Often they develop into congenial and stimulating dialogue between the members and much interesting information can be shared, even leading to more extended relationships in some instances.
- SNS is typically distinguishable in that they are about relationships - they allow a more detailed personal profile to be developed, they tend to allow members to articulate a list of 'friends' and they tend to allow members to navigate and peruse others' list of friends. In this way members can find others through their extended friends networks - friend of a friend (FOAF).