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Members are able to design their main page with backgrounds and music and other widgets. MySpace members can have a list of friends that can also post comments on their page. Social networking sites are much like having a party and interacting with others while never leaving your home. Social Networking is not excessively old, but it certainly has its history that must be explored in order to understand where it began and where it is now.
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History behind Social Networking (Harolyn) Social networking has been around for many years, and depending on how it is thought about, it has always existed just through a different medium. Throughout history people have always socialized, communicated, and networked. It was done through social gatherings, making new friends, and connecting with others. People would share their stories, converse about their day, and simply catch up with each other; this could take place in person, through a letter, or on the phone. Today, social networking can be done through social networking websites that have changed how people communicate with each other. Social is defined as “pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations” (Dictionary.com, 2012). Networking is defined as “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest” (Dictionary.com, 2012). These two words put together lead to the creation of relationships in which information is shared due to the people in these relationships having a common interest. Given the definitions stated, most people can agree that social networking has always existed, but in today’s world social networking has evolved and is now an online phenomenon. In order to understand what social networking is currently, the past needs to be examined. The Commencement One of the first websites known as a social networking site began in 1997. It was called SixDegress.com; this site allowed a user to create a profile, add friends, and look
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at other users profiles. The site failed in 2001. This site failed in part because “people were already flocking to the Internet, but most did not have extended networks of friends who were online” (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). This could have been a major issue because social networking sites are all about connecting with friends and meeting strangers. Had SixDegrees came into existence later down the road, it might have been able to survive. The fact that there was not a vast amount of users caused six degrees to end rather quickly. Demographically oriented Social Networking Sites Following the start of SixDegrees.com, many different demographically oriented social networking sites came into play. AsianAvenue.com was launched in 1997 for the Asian community, Migente.com in 2000 for the Hispanic community, and BlackPlanet.com in 2001for the African-American community. These sites provided a way for their users to interact with people of their same race but also allowed anyone to make an account thus allowing them to connect with others regardless of their ethnicity.
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