A social network service focuses on the building and verifying of online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others, and which necessitates the use of software.
Most social network services are primarily web based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and so on.
The main types of social networking service are the Old School Tie which is akin to a directory of former classmates, the Web of Contacts, which is a technology that builds networks based on the six degrees of separation principle, and the Circle of Friends, which is now the most popular method as it allows users to manage their social networks. There are newer methods, which combine some of these more established techniques, such as the such as the Web of Friends used by Friendster.
There have been some attempts to standardize them (see the FOAF standard) but this has led to some privacy concerns.
The notion that individual computers linked electronically could form the basis of computer mediated social interaction and networking was suggested early on – for example The IRG Solution by David Andrews – effectively sketched out the Internet and how it should be developed specifically for this purpose.
History of Social network services
The notion that individual computers linked electronically could form the basis of computer mediated social interaction and networking was suggested early on - for example The Network Nation by S. Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff (Addison-Wesley, 1978, 1993) effectively sketched out how computer-mediated communication -- such as the Internet -- should be developed for this purpose.
There were many early efforts to support social networks via computer-mediated communication, including Usenet, bulletin board services (BBS), Arpanet, and EIES: Murray Turoff's Electronic Information Exchange Service (Turoff and Hiltz, 1978, 1993).
Early social networking websites include Classmates.com 1995, focusing on ties with former school mates using the Old School Tie social networking method, and SixDegrees.com, 1997, focusing on indirect ties using the Web of Contacts accoding to Janell Brown, author of the article, 'Six degrees to nowhere'. Two different models of social networking that came about in 1999 were the Circle of Trust developed by Epinions.com and the Circle of Friends developed by Jonathan Bishop, the later of which which was utilized on a number of regional UK sites between 1999 and 2001 before being adopted by Friendster in 2002 according to the Pontypridd & Llantrisant Observer on 6 June 2002, perhaps because it gives the user more control over content and connectivity than the earlier Web of Contacts model. By 2005, one social networking service using the Circle of Friends, MySpace, was reportedly getting more page views than Google, with Facebook, a competitor also using the Circle of Friends, rapidly growing in size. In 2007, Facebook began allowing externally-developed add-on applications, and some applications enabled the graphing of a user's own social network -- thus linking social networks and social networking.
Social networking began to be seen as a component of business internet strategy at around March 2005 when Yahoo launched Yahoo! 360° and in July 2005 News Corporation bought Circle of Friends-based MySpace, followed by ITV buying Old School Tie-based Friends Reunited in December 2005. It is estimated that combined there are now over 200 social networking sites using these existing and emerging social networking models.
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