It is not only me who is of this opinion, The telegraph published a survey asking people which inventions they thought revolutionized the decade and a great deal of the listed Items had something to do with online social networking Facebook(73%), Twitter(58%) and Youtube(40%) not counting MySpace, Friendster, Orkut, Yahoo Messenger and the many other networks out there(Spacebook , adult friend finder e.t.c ;D). If you wanna really know the impact felt by people as a whole by social networking you could use correlation to find online socializing as whole, but it is obvious that in total the most significant innovation to regular people in this decade is undoubtedly social networking.
"As Facebook undoubtedly is the most infuential social network today, it’s not really an original invention of the decade. I’m afraid the trophy should go to Friendster and MySpace which were ‘invented’ in 2002 and 2003 respectively. Facebook merely took the fundamental ideas from Friendster and MySpace and made it better. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004. As far as technological inventions go I’d say mp3 is way ahead of the bunch."
Kris Olin, MSc (econ.)
Computer networking is such a huge part of living today, there are so many tools and implements that we have come to rely on that rely on the interwebz. Think of all the internet tools that we rely on, All the information utilities and tools, communication tools for interpersonal use, group use or for the masses or reference sources that we depend on.
The web as such is a great part of modern life and one of its most widely used functions is most certainly social networking, but where did social networking arise from? How did social networking come to be what it is?
“Regardless of what may be the hot social media property of any particular month or year, social networking has become a core part of our daily lives.”
Amy Kean, senior marketing manager, Internet Advertising Bureau
There are many networking tools in place today from forum, sub-forums, blogging, irc, but this was not always the case. Due to the advent of facebook and myspace, Being online is not a depressing and isolationistic prospect any more, these sites seem to encourage people to be at ease and have the ability to make, shape and spur online communities. But such was not the case at the eve of the internet. You can not say that the internet was an unimaginable technology. Even before DARPA ever created the IPTO or the first foundations of ARPANET or Telenet were created, there was a clear picture of the goal, A method that would use computers to foster the exchange of information.The internet, intranet, other networks like fidonet, compuserve, prodigy were all technologies in this line.
The pioneers of social networking on the net prior to www, was undoubtedly Bulletin Board Systems(bbs) thought of in the 1970's, initially, It was essentially a bulletin board you could get access to over a phone line. It was a big part of spawning the concept of social net. Then as the internet took over ,better social networks were created that were easier, more convenient and and gave better integrated meaningful arrangements for their consumers. It began slowly with ethnic centered sites like Black planet, community Connect but spread now to the cornucopia of sites available. Sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter,LinkedIn, Nexopia,Tagged, XING, Friendster, Mixi, Multiply, Orkut, Wretch and so many more.
How is social networking defined anyway?
Social networking is the grouping of individuals into specific groups, like small rural communities or a neighborhood subdivision, if you will. Although social networking is possible in person, especially in the workplace, universities, and high schools, it is most popular online. This is because unlike most high schools, colleges, or workplaces, the internet is filled with millions of individuals who are looking to meet other people, to gather and share first-hand information and experiences about golfing, gardening, aesthetics and cosmetic surgery, developing friendships or professional alliances, finding employment, business-to-business marketing and even groups sharing information about the end of the Mayan calendar and the Great Shift. The topics and interests are as varied and rich as our society and the history of the human being.
Why are we so attached to myface, spacebook, orkut and the rest of the "new" social sites? What makes them so attractive? One of the reasons seem to be the ease of use in these sites unlike other sites which leave you grappling with complex html code or need the confusing electronic protocols of past networks needed(phone modems and such), the other reason is that the more the users a site has, the more successful it is .These sites are actively engaged in the trading of personal information for profit. Facebook was for example recently involved in privacy (1) concerns due to this matter, there was the Facebook Beacon scandal, facebook app producers like Zynga, causes, Quiz planet and IHeart have all been traced to selling user data to advertisers and online trackers . The more users these companies illicitly gather and pawn user data, the more advertisements and the more success they seemingly enjoy.
What kinds of problems have arisen due to social networking? As social networking has gained traction, Many existing boundaries have simply been washed away ,pre-existing conceptions of privacy have been eroded. Post stuff online and you should not expect any modicum of privacy or control at viewership. Even though this is a huge exaggeration, That is the mindset that people are advised to go with into the public domain because there is nearly no simple way to keep full control of your information and very easy to lose the little control you have. Tracker Companies, The very sites you entrust your info to, the friends you want to share you info with, complete strangers whom you don't know,Data Thieves and Hackers who do such stuff for a living, Governmental agency looking for tab on you, Almost everybody seems to be after your private data with the intention of taking advantage of it in some way you do not want them to.
Different problems like addiction, misuse and workplace corruption have also arisen, an increase things like social networking( the fancy lying type not political science), productivity loss; virus, rootkits ,DoS attacks and malware; the number of social shut-ins(Hikimori's) has been directly attributed to social networking.
As the world advances and today's technology become optimized, refined and improved, The main question becomes, How is social networking going to change in the future?
I really don't have a clue.
A review on Social Networks Around the World