Social networking websites offer a variety of ways for users to communicate with people both in and out of their personal social network. There are private messages that can be sent from user to user, but there are also more public means of communicating within the social networking space. A user can post messages to a friend’s page or wall, send a bulletin or group message to a user’s network, post comments to a friend’s blog, or give e-props, “pokes” or kudos by posting small icons to a friend’s page. An early high school-aged boy explained how it works in our focus group: “People send friend requests so you can approve or deny it and you can ask to be someone’s friend, so once you approve them you can post comments about them and receive comments from them, but if you’re not friends with someone they can still give you messages.”
The most popular way of communicating via social networking sites is to post a message or comment to a friend’s profile, page or “wall.” More than 4 in 5 social network users (84%) have posted messages to a friend’s profile or page. “It’s a nice feeling to get, like, comments,” said an early high school-aged boy.