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The Social Networking Boom

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This paper discusses the social networking boom and why it has become so popular ...... More...
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Paper Abstract:
This paper discusses the social networking boom and why it has become so popular for expanding one's network of friends and for marketing products and services.

Paper Introduction:
The Social Networking Boom Social networking is one of the hottest crazes to hit Internet usersof all ages and backgrounds MySpace boasts million members and hasbecome the digital equivalent of hanging out at the mall for today\'steens while Facebook appeals to college students LinkedIn targetsprofessionals and Xanga is a community site based on blogging Knowledge Wharton There is even a high school network called StudyBreakers Knowledge Wharton Twitter is enjoying aresurgence now that it can be set to share the user\'s entries

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Comparing the cost of a night out withfriends at a local restaurant and the ability to interact with them forfree on a social networking site, people can save a great deal of money byuploading photos, music, and other memorabilia to enrich their interactionswith friends and still not pay a dime. Centralization-being able to access information about all ofyour friends in one place at the same time-is an efficiency aspect. There is even a high school network called"StudyBreakers" (Knowledge@Wharton, 2 6). Retrieved April 14, 2 9, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/335847 /Social- networking-websites-more-popular-than-porn-says-study.html Retrieved April 14, 2 9, from http://mashable.com/2 9/ 3/ 9/social- networking-more-popular-than-email/SEO Thai Thai. Most social networking sitesrequire only minimal internet or technology knowledge, thus removing abarrier to meeting new people online (SEO Thai Thai, 2 9). Another advantage of paid sitessuch as Classmates.com is that they are a rich source of people that you dowant to make contact with rather than just an outside chance of meetingsomeone you might know or like. Retrieved April 14, 2 9, from http://www.seothaithai.com/Categories/why-social- networking-sites-are-popular/Social networking sites more popular than porn, says study. The Social Networking Boom Social networking is one of the hottest crazes to hit Internet usersof all ages and backgrounds. A new survey reported in the U.K.'s Telegraph foundthat "people are more interested in social networking sites than [in]online pornography" ("Social networking sites more popular," 2 8). It is a low-risk approachto meeting new people. The simplicity of social networking sites makes them more fun andless time-consuming to use, and therefore people are more interested inusing them. As more people take the plunge and join the sites, they willbecome an even more sought-after medium for any activity wherecommunicating on a personal level with a large number of people is desired. Since people periodically post short updates on theirsocial networking sites about what they are doing, it is also possible toobserve them remotely and keep up with them without actively engaging themin conversation. Forbes.com. Two of the primary advantages of social networking sites are ease ofuse, centralization, and free service. Telegraph. As Clemons (2 7) points out, with "the fragmentation oftelevision, the move to premium channels, the move away from print totelevision news and then from television news to the Internet, and the moveto time-shifted viewing and skipping of commercials," the viewing oftraditional advertising by commercials "is at an all-time low."Advertisers need some other way to reach their customers, and online socialnetworks are proving to be an effective option. Nothaving to login to ten different social networking sites to keep up withten different friends saves a significant amount of time while alsofacilitating the growing of one's friend network. Meeting online, however, is easier for a number ofreasons. Furthermore, according to Nielsen Online, social networking overtook e-mail by the end of 2 8 in terms of worldwide reach, with 66.8% of Internetusers accessing "member communities" compared with 65.1% for e-mail(Ostrow, 2 9). Social networking sites' ability to facilitate meeting andcommunicating with people without leaving home offers a substantialadvantage to people who have difficulty getting away-parents of youngchildren, those caring for elderly or disabled parents at home, and thosewho have an at-home business that cannot be left unattended during businesshours. They often offer a trial period fordetermining whether the service is a nice fit or not, and the requirementto pay minimizes interference from people that want to use the sites forfraudulent purposes (SEO Thai Thai, 2 9). Social networking more popular than email. Retrieved April 14, 2 9, from http://www.forbes.com/2 7/ 8/22/social- nets-marketing-oped-cx_ekc_ 823social.htmlMySpace, Facebook and other social networking sites: Hot today, gone tomorrow? (2 7, August). Knowledge@Wharton. Knowing that someone is a friend of someone you already like andtrust makes it easier to break the ice and take a chance on befriending theindividual, and if it turns out that there is no chemistry online, younever need to take the friendship any further. Why social networking sites are popular. The trust factor is one of the most significant components of socialnetworking sites' popularity. Twitter is enjoying aresurgence now that it can be set to share the user's entries with anyother social networking sites the user may belong to, such as Facebook.These are only a few of the many social networking sites, some of whichappeal to a general audience, some to those with specific interests, andsome with an international dimension. Anyone who canlogin, logout, type a message, and click to reply can use Facebook, forexample. (2 9). If all of one's friendsuse the same social networking site, there is a greater tendency for themto interact more often and add each other's friends to their networks, thusbringing the possibility of robust growth. Social networking has become sopopular that many recent computer viruses have targeted users of socialnetworking sites because they are the sites that attract the most visitors. Social networking sites are the rage, and their popularity is onlyincreasing. Some popular web sites that chargea fee do exist, such as Classmates.com, and there are even advantages topaying for service on those sites. There is no need to buy a new outfit, get sweaty palms, or thinkof clever things to say on the spur of the moment, and there is no need toclear an evening on the social calendar; social networking sites are basedon asynchronous communication, so there is plenty of time to think up theperfect response, and you can communicate while wearing a bathrobe if youwant. The ability to market products and services more effectively throughsocial networking sites is one of the most important features being toutedlately. Social networking is thus away of vouchsafing known individuals to those that do not yet know them. Anyone with morethan two friends can find it challenging to stay abreast of daily eventsand situations in their friends' lives and social networking sites reducethat difficulty. Mashable. MySpace boasts 7 million members and "hasbecome the digital equivalent of hanging out at the mall for today'steens," while Facebook appeals to college students, LinkedIn targetsprofessionals, and Xanga is a community site based on blogging(Knowledge@Wharton, 2 6). An even bigger reason for the popularity of these sites is thenetworking aspect. Individuals in these situations would normally be unable tomaintain social connections very effectively, but through social networkingsites, they can do so with a minimum of time. Not only that, the study found that users spent 64% moretime on member communities in 2 8 than they did in 2 7 (Ostrow, 2 9).Not surprisingly, Facebook enjoyed a 566% growth worldwide in time spent onit by users, with its fastest growing demographic being older users aged 35to 49 (Ostrow, 2 9). (2 9). (2 6). Harnessing social networks. Moreover, by meeting new people within yournetwork, you are ensuring that most of them will share your taste infriends and possibly many of your interests. Retrieved April 14, 2 9, from http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1463Ostrow, A. ReferencesClemons, E. (2 8, September 16). Thus, people with overloaded schedules can take a fewminutes a day to review posts on the site and find out about what is goingon in their friends' lives on a day-to-day basis even if they do not havetime to call or e-mail. There aremultiple reasons, the primary ones being staying in better touch withfriends, meeting new friends, socializing without leaving home, and theability to market products and services more effectively. Why have social networking sites become so popular? Knowing that an individual already knows andis friends with someone you trust lends credibility to whatever they say intheir profile or directly with you. There isalso the option to ask others in the network how the product works, how toset it up, and what to do if there is a problem, which affords an addedlayer of support that is not available to the customer buying a product onhis own without the input of those in his social network. Advertisers can use word-of-mouth advertising on social networking sites in place of traditionaladvertising, and it will have an increased trust factor (Clemons, 2 7).In addition, as with online retailer sites that offer customer reviews,social networking sites provide a way for people to include both positiveand negative comments for a more realistic appraisal of products. Site users can "meet" friends of their friends and thusmake new friends of their own, similarly to the way people meet at partiesin friends' homes. This portends a greatersuccess rate in new friendships. The fact that belonging to asocial network site is free in most cases is an added advantage,particularly in a lagging economy. Given a choice between befriending twopeople with identical profiles, most would opt to trust and befriend theone who was known and liked by their friends.

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