Short History of Social Networking and Its Far-Reaching Impact

Short History of Social Networking and Its Far-Reaching Impact

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch618
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This chapter describes the evolution of social networking together with its supporting technologies. Most popular social networking service providers, such as Facebook, Tencent, Twitter, and Sina Weibo are described with their market and financial data. The new business and new social relations built on social networking platforms are introduced and their impacts are discussed. The future trends of social networking are also illustrated based on the potential development of related emerging technologies. The objective of this chapter is to help readers understand the impact of technology on the functioning, evolution, and variation of socializations.
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Social networking began with the introduction of computer network (Warschauer, 2004). The early form of virtual group is the email mailing list. Email is a communication mechanism established originally on mainframe computers in 1972 (Merritt, 2012). Later, this mechanism is introduced into personal computers on the network. A simple email communication between two users might not be too much different from the traditional surface mail communication, because it only involves two users and no social groups or social relations are formed here.

However, an email mailing list service provides an unprecedented mechanism to group users together and form virtual communities. Users do not need to meet face to face and could share their feelings, information, and ideas, remotely. With the support of email attachment, pictures, documents, and links to information or data on the Internet could be shared within the group. Although mailing list is an asynchronous communication mechanism, it is better enough to shadow the traditional mail correspondence. Despite the fact that many modern social networking services have emerged in the past ten years, email mailing list is still widely used in business, education, and some organizations. One of the most famous mailing lists is Linux Kernel Mailing List that connects Linux developers and users and forms the Linux community. This virtual community was established in 1995 and had over 14 thousand members in 2008 (Chu, 2009), and it is still actively used as the main platform for Linux community members to post announcements, ask questions, and address issues.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Smart Environment: The idea to build an environment with embedded sensors, displays, and computing devices so that users can better understand and control the environment.

Desktop Computers: A personal computer that is mainly used in a single location. Two representative desktop computers are IBM PC and Apple Mac.

CeWebrity Business: An e-commerce business operated and/or marketed by a celebrity on the Web. The products or services are usually sold to the followers of the celebrity through social networking.

Internet of Things: A technology that connects physical objects online so that users can control these objects remotely.

Virtual Reality: A technology that can bring close-to-real physical experience for the user.

Mobile Devices: Smartphone and tablet computers that could be carried and used anywhere. Usually wireless network is needed for mobile devices to be connected to the Internet.

Virtual Socialization: People socialize through using computer-based technology. No face-to-face interactions and communications are needed.

Asynchronous Communications: A communication mechanism that does not require the sender and the receiver to be online at the same time. A delay of response is allowed and expected for this kind of communication.

Social Networking: A service based on internet technology that allows users to communicate and socialize remotely.

Virtual Community: A group formed on top of a social networking service. In most cases, group members have the same interest but are remotely located.

Synchronous Communications: A communication mechanism that requires the sender and the receiver to be online at the same time. An immediate response is expected for this kind of communication.

Celebrity on the Web: Someone who is famous on the Internet.

Micro Business: An e-commerce business built on top of social networking services, in most cases, mobile social networking services, where a store owner sells products/services to his/her friends in the app’s contact list.

MAU (Monthly Active Users): A social networking service metric that counts the number of users who perform at least one activity (sending a message or reading a message) on the platform in one month period of time.

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