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Social Networks

A social network may be a real-life or virtual structure. All social networks are comprised of a set of people or organizations that share certain interests, ties or professional affiliations. These networks may be used primarily for entertainment, or they may be vehicles for social change or career advancement. One of the world’s most popular social networks is Facebook, which was created by Mark Zuckerberg.

Today, many people join online social networks, from Facebook to the career-based LinkedIn to dating networks. There are myriad social networks available online and in the real-world. These structures may be analyzed in order to interpret societal shifts and trends. They may also be used to locate influences and to examine network dynamics.

Social networks may be general in scope (such as Facebook), or they may be very specialized. For example, bird-watchers may congregate at meetings in order discuss their interest in birds, or they may meet at online message boards in order to share their interest in bird-watching. There are millions of social networks available for a range of special groups and interests. Therefore, finding a group that fits a particular interest will generally be as simple as performing a simple Google search.

History of Social Network Analysis

Social networks and the study of social networks fall under the category of social psychology, sociology and statistics. Jacob Moreno is known for the development of sociograms, which were used to examine social networks way back in the 1930s. During the 1950s, processes for social network analysis became more mathematical in scope. In the 1980s, the study of social networks became more commonplace within the disciplines of social and behavioral science. Today, network science is the term used to describe modern social network analysis.

Social Network Facts

These days, slightly less than half of all people who have accounts at the social network known as Twitter are left-wing in terms of their political views. Therefore, almost half of American Twitter users will vote for the Democratic Party during American elections.

Facebook remains the world’s most popular and addictive social network; almost one-quarter of Facebook users log into their accounts at least five times per day. Most Facebook users spend their time enjoying social interactions, such as Facebook chat and comments and staying abreast of news and other topical information.

The appeal of online social media is believed to be linked with social anxiety that occurs in the real world. In other words, people feel more confident expressing themselves when they are typing, rather than speaking. The ability to edit and polish interactions before posting allows people to feel more socially confident, and this is one primary reason why social network usage keeps escalating.

American social network usage online is projected to skyrocket in the next five years, with 75 percent of USA citizens engaging in social network activity. Currently, fifty percent of Facebook users access the service via their mobile devices, such as smart phones or iPads.

Social networks are everywhere. However, these days, the term, “social network” is most closely associated with online interfaces, such as Facebook and Twitter. These powerful social networking platforms have enormous influence. In fact, people may choose products and services that they find via these social networking platforms, rather than responding to traditional advertising that comes through other channels. Because these websites have such a significant impact on society, they have their proponents and detractors.

Those who eschew social networking websites often do so for reasons of privacy. Since terms of service at most social networking platforms allow site administrators to access and store a range of personal information, those who value personal privacy are uncomfortable with the data mining that happens on these websites. Of course, there are various privacy levels and settings for Facebook and other social networks. However, in the final analysis, people who use Facebook regularly do leave themselves more open to identity theft and loss of privacy.