Social Networking Websites: A brief introduction
In today’s Internet, social networking sites have established themselves as one of the most popular online activities.This popularity compares well with information search and email.
Names that were absolutely unknown just some years back such as Orkut, Myspace and Yahoo!360 have become household names now. The impact of these sites can be well understood by the ever-increasing number of people joining these networks across all age groups and regions around the world.
Primarily, we can identify a social networking site on the basis of some basic characteristics, which include:
a. Members are able to create a profile of themselves, assigning various levels of viewability to it, such as totally public, restricted-public, or totally private.
b. Members can maintain a list of their friends who are either previously existing upon the network, or can be invited to join the network by them.
c. Members are able to view the friends’ lists lying within their friends’ profiles too, enabling them to access the profiles of more and more members of the network matching their interests and tastes.
Pre-Social Networking era
In the beginning of the Internet age, the medium promised to be a wonderful platform for the people all around the world to connect with and share information with other people. A number of efforts had been made in various modes and ways to utilize the Internet as a powerful tool for social connectivity. Some examples were Usenet, a distributed internet discussion system and Bulletin Board Services (BBS), which enabled users in different parts of the world to connect through a terminal program.
Apart from these two, ARPANET, a packet switching network developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, LISTSERV, a email listing software application and Electronic Information Exchange Service (EIES) were other solutions for providing limited social connectivity devised in the preliminary era.
Afterwards, when the use of Internet started growing by leaps and bounds in the 90’s, the ways people used it changed at a rapid speed. New ideas were being experimented with a view to offer newer and innovative services to the net users.
During that period, a website called classmates.com was launched in the year 1995. Although it can’t be said to completely meet all the qualifications of a social networking site as we’ve mentioned above, still it gave the users an experience that was fresh and new to them. They could create their profiles for free. For a minimal charge, the users could connect with their old friends and classmates on the basis of their institutions and batches right from Kindergarten classes through college level courses.
This post is part of the series: The story of Social Networking Sites
Whether you are a net-geek or a housewife using the Internet, if you are not present at any of Orkut, Facebook, Myspace or the sorts, they say you are a net-illiterate, so powerful have become the Social Networking sites these days. But how did it all begin, want to know? Jump in..