Social Network

A social network is an online service hosted by a website that provides people with the means to encounter and interact with each other via the Internet. Social networking websites are becoming more popular every day and is your source for all the information you need about this new phenomenon. A social network website is intended for the main goal of creating networks of people that span across all political, economic, social and geographic borders. Some social network sites are targeted specifically for work purposes, while others, including the most popular of social networking sites, are intended primarily for personal use. Although they work in some way to organize members into groups, these sites are different from early networking sites because they are centered on the individual person rather than an established organization or business. Most social networking sites categorize members on some level, whether by the school they attend, their geographic region, their career, etc.

The first example of a social network was most likely, although it worked (and still works) in a very different manner than the social networking sites that are most popular today. With the advent of Friendster in the 1990s, internet networking and communication took off. Today’s popular websites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Orkut, Tagged and Nexopia, among others. Most of these now offer means to quickly communicate with other members, whether through an internal messaging system similar to email or by an internal instant messaging service, referred to as “chatting.” The social ramifications of a social network can be infinite, as they inadvertently set trends based on the most popular interests reported by members on their individual profile pages, like their favorite books, music, movies, and hobbies. Social networking sites have also created a new business model where the primary consumers pay nothing (most of these sites are free), but the businesses net billions of dollars every year through extensive advertising campaigns in the margins of every page to which members navigate.

As more and more people integrate themselves into a social network, some dangers arise as well. The use of these websites for emotional or social abuse has become exceedingly common and many public school systems have employed educational exercises to help kids avoid and deal with these processes, known as “trolling” or “cyber-bullying.” Privacy is also a concern of many social network users, although the vast majority of sites allow basic privacy settings to protect their users. Most also limit usage to people over the age of thirteen to avoid the risk of exposing children to predators. As these websites become a primary means of communication for people in the growing global world, their prevalence in legal, economic and social systems increases dramatically. For more information on online networking, check out