Posts Tagged ‘eff’

Thing 3: Social Networking

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
social networking

About Social Networking

Social networking sites offer ways to not only create an online presence, but also to find others online and to establish links to one’s own personal online ‘social network.’ The social network is based around creating links of friendship to others online within the social networking community, which is reflected in social networking site names such as “Friendster.”

Six Degrees, which began in 1997 and shut down in 2001, was one of the earliest social networking sites (the name is from “six degrees of separation,” from a “small world” experiment by Yale University psychologist Dr. Stanley Milgram on social interconnectedness in 1967). Among the largest and best known sites are Facebook and MySpace, but there are also others such as Plurk. Some social networking sites are especially popular in particular countries such as Google’s Orkut, which is heavily used in Brazil; others focus on a particular interest area such as business and professional networking at Linked In, or a variety of other hobbies and shared interests at Ning and MeetUp.

As we think about social networking beyond the technology we can think that the topic of social networking is more profound than the applications we use. Here are two TED talks that amplify the notion of social networking.

How Does It Work?

Users of social networking sites register an account and then complete a profile page. Once this is done, a variety of social networking and linking options become available such as finding and ‘friending’ (establishing reciprocal links with) other users, joining a group, and/or becoming a ‘fan’ of another user. Users can post daily updates about themselves and see updates about their friends; they can also visit friends’ pages, send messages, and post comments. For some users, social networking is replacing e-mail for many of their communications.

While many sites focus around online social interaction, on other sites such as MeetUp, users can find and join groups which schedule local area activities, such as hikes, bicycling, or discussions. Some sites such as Facebook and Myspace feature ability to add customizations, plugins and widgets such as for playing online games, videos, music, and showing artworks or book collections.


A number of concerns have been raised dealing with the expectation of privacy in these social networks,a nd the amount of privacy guaranteed.

One the one hand, some groups (typically the over-30 crowd) raise concerns about the notion of exposing one’s name, email address, interests, groups to others – some known, some unknown – within a social network implemented via technology such as Facebook. They balk at having a lower expectation of privacy in these environments than in their traditional¬† networks. Others though, readily join the Facebook and other Internet networks and give out personal information without giving it a second thought, or so it seems. The following articles address these issues.

Most recently Facebook changed the way it deals with what some thought was private or personal information. They put practices into place that were contrary to the expectation of privacy of Facebook’s members.

Hands On

Take a look at Plurk, Ning and MeetUp and write a summary of their differences.

Read these articles regarding privacy on Facebook.
A Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Network Users

If you don’t have a Facebook account, create one.

As a member of Facebook examine your privacy settings based on the recommendations and concerns in the articles listed above.

Write a blog post about social networking after completing the items above.

CC License for image above / CC BY 2.0