Wednesday, 1 August 2012

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Social Networking Websites - A Sneak Preview
     Social Networking Sites (SNS) are widely popular these days with Web 2.0 initiative that has rendered ease of use to users. SNS have attracted millions of users to interact over the Internet through e-mail and instant messaging. Their increasing affordability and reach in connecting people of similar interest or activities across political, economic, and geographic borders assist in the spread of its fame.
    SNS sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linked-In form a major part of peoples’ everyday life.
    
    A Social Networking site is an online service, platform or site that focuses on facilitating the building of social networks or social relations among people, who share interest, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections. Social network services consist of a representation of each users (an individual profile), his/her social links and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for interacting over the internet to share personal information and ideas via personal webpage by providing easy-to-use publishing tools and free or inexpensive web space.
    
    A history into social networking dates back to 1990’s where computer mediated communications were made through Usenet, ARPANET, LISTSERV, and Bulletin Board Services (BBS). Early social networking on the World Wide Web began in the form of generalized online communities such as Theglobe.com (1995),[11] Geocities (1994) and Tripod.com (1995).

    Social Networking Sites such as Facebook have become an object of scholarly research, investigating into how these sites play a vital role regarding issues of identity, privacy, social capital, youth culture and education.

    SNS provides means to digitally communicate the messages of fragmented industries and small organizations without the resources to reach a broader audience with interested users. These communities of hypertexts allow for the sharing of information and ideas, an old concept placed in a digital environment.

    These sites also focus on Impression Management, Self Presentation and Friendship performance. SNS enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks. Sites vary to the extent in which they incorporate new information and communication tools, such as mobile connectivity, built-in blogging and instant messaging technology. These sites also cater to diverse audience based on common language or shared racial, sexual, religious or nationality-based identities. 

The variety of users includes Bi-directional confirmation of Friendship or one directional ties such as Fans or Followers or Casual visitors. Some sites such as Facebook has ability for outside developers to build Applications which allow users to personalize profiles and perform other tasks such as compare movie preferences or chart travel histories.

The growth of these Social Networking Sites has prompted many corporations to invest time and money in creating, purchasing, promoting and advertising on these sites. On contrary organisations are blocking their employees from accessing these sites during working hours.

The various topics that are covered by Social Networking Websites scale from Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, Bebo (Friendship communities), Sphere (Luxury), 43Things (Goal setting), Academia.edu (Social researchers), Athlinks (Running, Swimming), Buzznet (Music, Popculture), Cellufun (Mobile Gaming Network) and Care2 (Green living , Social Activism) .The list is endless.

The future of Social Networking Sites would lead us to new utilities such as Pre-poll functions, Regulating Traffic by Traffic Police to providing essential information on cities around the globe. The functions of SNS are ever widening as its list and each new challenge poses a new application and new function in these sites.

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