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Social Networking Service

A social networking service is an online service provided to the public for social interaction between families, friends, and also for gaining new friends over the internet. These networks often include such services as e-mail and instant messaging. Social networks are found worldwide and used by half of the world’s population in some form or another.

In 2011 a survey revealed 47 percent of adults and 73 percent of teens use a social networking service. You can use these services to connect with others for a variety of reasons: like shared interests, making new friends, or just to have real time conversations. With the addition of video messaging users are also able to interact with each other visually.

In the mid 1990’s the idea of social networking began with online communities like Theglobe.com, Geocities, and Tripod.com. These sites were focused on people interacting with each other via chat rooms. Another site, Classmates.com (launched in 1995), focused on people sharing e-mail addresses. Compiling friend lists on a social site began in 1997 with SixDegrees.com, followed by Makeoutclub.com in 2000, Friendster, and Hub Culture in 2002. 2003 saw the emergence of MySpace, Linkedln, and Bebo. Facebook was added to online social networking in 2004 and became the largest social networking site in the world by 2009.

As of November 2011 1,438,877,000 (1.4 billion) worldwide users accessed a social networking site in some form, with Facebook topping the list with 55.1 percent. Google+ was second with 17.7 percent, and Twitter was third with 11.7 percent. Linkedln had 6.6 percent use and MySpace was 4.2 percent, all other social sites combined made up the remaining 17.8 percent. Israel spends the most time using social sites, followed by Argentina.

Features of social sites include the ability to construct a personal profile which can be shared with others, compile a list of users to share information with, on most sites called a fiends list. Some sites allow for photo uploads, blog entries, people search, and adding applications such as games and multimedia. Some social sites offer advertising where you pay a fee to advertise a product or service. Privacy is protected by the user letting his/her profile be made public or private by choosing an option on who can view the profile.

Social networking has expanded into other areas as well, introducing mobile access via smartphones, offering the same accessibility and interaction that users get when using their computer. Facebook mobile is the most popular mobile service in regards to social networking.

Real time use of the social network allows users to contribute content as it is happening, such as what’s on their mind and what they are doing. They can also display photos, post links, and so on, much like a live TV broadcast. Businesses have also entered into social networking, like career-building site Monster.com, where businesses can post job ads, and individuals can post a resume, and search and apply for jobs. Some businesses allow customers to interact by offering product reviews and suggestions which generate traffic to their own websites.

The use of social sites have broadened into many different areas, and not being limited to just the social community. Twitter has become the main site for science groups and business professionals, while English, baby and LiveMocha are focused mainly on educational content.

A new Web 2.0 technology, which is built into most social sites, allows global scale interaction for conferences, research, education and learning.

Along with the popularity of social networking, Cyber-bullying and Cyber-stalking have also grown into a problem for students. In the UK, 33 percent of students between the ages of 9 and 19 have received some type of bullying comments on their social pages. Some school systems have blocked or banned social networking services within the school’s curriculum, but it is still an option in the educational area.

Privacy is a main concern of most users of social sites, and protection of personal information is a critical aspect. Users who display personal information on their page can be vulnerable to predators and third party users. Remember these sites have public access and anyone can view your personal information if they search for you specifically. If you disclose any information like a phone number, address, where you work, where you go to school and so on, it can be viewed by anyone searching or using the site. One way to prevent unauthorized use of your personal information is choosing who can view it; most sites offer this option when people sign up for their service for the first time.

Trolling is a term not to be confused with online bullying; trolling is used to incite an argument, cause anger, name calling, online pranks and so on. Real world confrontations can sometimes be continued online, this is also considered trolling.

Studies have shown a psychological effect has risen over the last few years because of social networking issues. With more and more people using social networks as a form of communication, there is less real life interaction with people, causing a sense of loneliness and being disconnected from others.

As many as 7,000 patent applications are on file for technologies related to social networking, with 3,500 published applications, but only 400 patents have been issued. On June 15, 2010, Amazon was issued a patent for a social networking system based on PlanetAll, which which was acquired by Amazon in 1998.

In short, the social network connects people with each other over the internet, along with businesses, educational institutions, health, and religious organizations all over the world.

Social Networking Service


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