This article studies social networks on the Internet created by popular applications such as e-mails, Web, chat, file sharing via peer-to-peer interaction, and online gaming. The Internet has its roots in military and academia. Connections are available around the world at academic institutions, military installations, government agencies, commercial enterprises, commercial information providers (AOL, CompuServe, and MSN), and Internet service providers. The Internet offers the following services: sending and receiving e-mail (electronic mail), transferring files between computers, participating in discussion groups through newsgroups and mailing lists, searching and retrieving information, chat, Internet relay chat, instant messaging, Internet telephony (voice chat), and on-line shopping. Newsgroups contain databases of messages on topics. They are similar to mailing lists, except that e-mail messages are posted to newsgroup sites. Bulletin boards and discussion groups offer similar services. People “surf the net” to find information and download files and connect directly to other computers. Web pages are used to communicate with customers and suppliers, describe organizations and products, tender documents, and provide services (banking, stocks, and software).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Peer-to-Peer Interactions: Dynamically created social networks on the Internet within which people can collaborate by sharing and retrieving information.
E-Mail: Asynchronous, computer-mediated communication on the Internet, normally from a sender to a receiver, or from a sender to a group of receivers.
Web: A large set of distributed pages created by individual users, which contain links (called hyperlinks) between them and textual and pictorial information.
Instant Messenger: Service that enables a short message sent from the Internet or a mobile phone to be immediately delivered to receiver on his/her phone.
Socio-Cognitive Grid: An application of resources from many networked computers and people at the same time to the same single problem.
Chat: Synchronous, computer-mediated communication when two or more actors are present on the Internet at the same time during the interaction.
Introvert: A self-centered, introspective individual.
Internet: A worldwide collection of computer networks (“information highway”).
Extrovert: A person whose emotions express themselves readily in external actions and events
Altruism: Unselfish regard for the welfare of others.