Social Knowledge: The Technology Behind

Social Knowledge: The Technology Behind

M. Chethan, Mohan Ramanathan
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-203-1.ch014
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Every now and then a technology appears that changes or speeds up the development of civilization in a new direction. It started with agriculture, spread through the Industrial Revolution and to the electronic age and now moved on to a state of technology that people would have laughed at a few decades ago. Social networks have changed the way people connect, redefining the knowledge value system that is being shared without borders or limits. The multitude of science and technology that go behind building the social networks spans across mathematics to engineering to software and ultimately to the realms of psychology and sociology once thought as distantly removed from any application of technology. In this write up, we explore the convergence of many ideas and innovations and the technology that is building these networks.
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Social Technology

One of the pioneering works was conducted by Travers and Milgram in the late 1960s when they wanted to find out, how randomly selected individuals from one city could reach someone unknown to them in another city. To their surprise they found that within six steps or hops anyone could reach anyone else totally unconnected. This theory, which is now popularly known as six degrees of separation (Wikipedia, Six degrees of separation, 2010), became the basis for a social search to get connected to someone with the same interest. The advent of computer networks and the internet have pushed this evolution along dramatically. Thousands of tools such as email, instant messenger, blogs etc., have pushed social technology to what it is today. LinkedIn started with the premise that recommendations work better when they are given by someone who is one or two steps removed from your direct contact as otherwise the recommendation may be viewed as biased.

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