The phenomenon that is social networking changes the way people and businesses communicate and Facebook and Twitter have been at the forefront of this worldwide trend.
The leading social-media sites are now being floated on the stock market, allowing individuals and businesses to invest. It is important, however, that investors research the best stocks and shares ISA before putting money into a range of investments.
As the popularity of social media increases, new websites are being launched in the hope that this success can be shared. Internet technology is the future of communication and it is not only social-networking websites that are seen as potentially profitable investments.
Here are five new websites that could be the next big thing. Investors in social media and other internet start-ups may be interested in keeping an eye on these new ventures.
Pinterest is a social-media site which is providing a useful marketing tool for businesses. This website was launched in 2010 and operates as an online notice board where images can be 'pinned' to drive traffic to company websites.
The aim of the site is to connect people by sharing images of common interest. It also allows users to post their images on Twitter and Facebook.
For the business minded, this potentially provides a global reach. According to comScore, an internet market-research company, Pinterest is the fastest ever site to make it to 10 million unique visitors.
Described as 'the next Google', Wolfram Alpha is a search engine that provides answers to questions in the form of facts and figures. Rather than returning a search based on popularity, Wolfram Alpha collects information from a database.
The site was developed using mathematical software, which means it can calculate and convert data and provide statistics in graphical form.
Wolfram Alpha was launched in May 2009. Although usage rates are relatively low at present, it is forecasted that this search engine will revolutionize the way people search for information.
Ubiquity is an add-on for the Firefox web browser that interacts with the web without having to open separate sites to use a service. This means that many of the steps taken to use existing web services can be minimized by using Ubiquity shortcuts.
It is an application based on semantics, so it understands everyday commands and can interpret them as specific tasks.
Established in May 2012, 20blinks.com is a Dutch company that provides an interactive social-media platform. It lets users share images, music and other interests in the form of collections.
20blinks.com is popular with the younger generation and allows users to share content from the leading social-networking platforms such as Twitter as well as other sites. It is an open website and does not require an invitation to join.
The popularity of online gaming has increased rapidly over recent years, particularly as a result of social media and mobile-internet devices. Foursquare is a gaming application hosted on a social-networking platform.
The site works by users 'checking in' at local businesses, which in turn allows them to earn rewards each time they visit a participating company. The business benefits by offering incentives to the user, which ensures repeat custom.
Although the site is only available in a selected number of cities, mostly in the US, it is receiving over one million visitors per week. The growth potential is considerable, as some businesses in international cities are now participating.
Sam is a financial journalist with a particular interest in researching and writing about the best stocks and shares ISA.