Hello bloggers! This week I was going to write about some other topic, but then something happened. Last night I was with a group of friends – all from different countries – and at one point of the night I realized we were all talking about the same theme: Social Network Sites. This was pretty impressive considering that the group was formed by people with different backgrounds, ages and interests.
All started when some people sent a “friend request” on Facebook to another person, then we moved on to Instagram and Pinterest and we finished talking about Tinder. Maybe because I was thinking about my blog post I was a bit more “perceptive” to this conversations, but it really impressed me that now a day, social network sites are kind of an international language that has penetrated almost every culture around the world.
It didn’t matter if we came from different continents even, when we started talking about social network sites, it was like a worldwide known topic were everyone had an opinion and could tell their own experience with the sites. We didn´t like the same sites for the same reasons, but at the end, we were all heavy users of social media.
The popularity of Social Network Sites has grown significantly through the last 15 years. If we think for example in one of the earliest platforms, like SixDegrees.com, which was launched in 1997, we can notice the evolution of social network sites. Although SixDegrees.com was a successful network site, some people consider that it might have been “too edgy for its time”. Internet access was not as easy as it is now, so networking limitations were an important issue.
Internet access is not a problem anymore, furthermore, now we deal with over connectivity. Accessing to the Internet has become very easy since smartphones appeared. With over connectivity comes a major proliferation of social network sites and new platforms to communicate.
Facebook was created in 2004 as an exclusive networking site for Harvard students, but their global success started in 2006 when they were opened to the rest of the world. Facebook started as a social platform were Harvard students could connect to each other and then upload pictures and their status. In general it was a very overall website, something that has changed through the years. Currently it allows you to personalize your profile and interact with your “friends” in multiple ways. According to their mission statement “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them”.
Although Facebook is the most popular and used social network site, some people started to look for new platforms that consider more specific topics or interests. By this, I’m talking for example about traveling (Trip Advisor for example), dating (Tinder) or professional platforms (LinkedIn). Niche communities are a new trend that is gaining popularity worldwide. This trend is more visible now on Facebook as well, because of the possibility to participate in determinate groups and connect with other people that share your same interests.
We can say that social network sites are getting more popular every year, and that the penetration is increasing significantly. However, it is very interesting to notice how they are growing, like for example where is the highest growth and why, and to notice which type of online platforms are getting more popular. In social media, everything changes so fast that it is hard to follow up, but feeling that you are part of that process makes it way easier and interesting.
- boyd, d. & Ellison, N. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13, 210-230.
- ComScore 2011, accessed 10 August 2014, <http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2011/12/Social-Networking-Leads-as-Top-Online-Activity-Globally>
- Dazeinfo 2014, accessed 9 August 2014, <http://www.dazeinfo.com/2014/01/10/social-network-penetration-75-internet-population-uses-networking-sitesapps-facebook-inc-fb-qq-whatsapp-preferred-report/>
- Facebook 2014, accessed 9 August 2014, <https://www.facebook.com/facebook/info>