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  • 1. Social Networking with Web 2.0 technologies<br />Chintha Dammi Kaluarachchi<br />MIT/2008/026<br />Social Networking with Web 2.0 technologies<br />ABSTRACT<br />In this article have highlighted the web 2.0 components and how these components merge with the social networks and pattern and behavior of different social networks. I have also indicated how behavior of individuals and their network can be extracted and analyzed by studying different social networks. Online social networking has deeply penetrated universities influencing various aspects of student life. Have investigate the impacts of individual online social networking engagement (e.g. on Facebook) from a pedagogical standpoint. As well as have described impact of these social networks with web 2.0 technologies to the effectiveness of learning and teaching. Some components of web 2.0 such as blogging, wikis have greatly influence on learning and these factors also have discussed in the review. In the end of this article have highlight the social networking with Web 2.0 how enhanced learning and teaching capabilities as well as social life by improving the efficiency of social collaboration.<br />Introduction<br />The Main Purpose of Web 2.0 is to connect people in various new ways and utilize their collective strengths. The authority of Web 2.0 is the creation of new relationships between collaborators and information. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of many web-based communities and hosted services, including weblogs (blogs), wikis, podcasts, Really Simple Syndication (RSS), and social networking sites (O'Reilly, 2005). Web 2.0 users not only create their own content; they also mix, amend, and recombine content. Web 2.0 users are also relatively more “open to the world,” welcoming comments and revisions (McLaughlin & Lee, 2007). Boyd (2007) claims that the social aspects of Web 2.0 have great potential for enhancing education, while Klamma and colleagues (2007) suggest that Web 2.0 concepts and technologies could support lifelong learning communities. Barlow (2008) argues that Web 2.0 tools also offer an exciting opportunity to create a classroom without walls because they enable learning take place wherever and whenever possible.<br />The components of Web 2.0 help to create and maintain Social Networks as we will see in details in the forthcoming sections. Blogging is the art of social conversation and have replaced personal home pages and this helps for a more consolidated flow of judgments and ideas. Wikis have enabled collaborative involvement and authoring among spread teams. Tagging or folksonomy is a collaborative means of identifying information widgets to increase the power of any web site and search necessary information in a faster way. Combined with other such concepts, Web 2.0 provides an ideal platform for implementing and helping Social Networks to grow.<br />The beauty of Web 2.0 fitment to Social Networks is that all the components of Web 2.0 are built for the growth and sustenance of Social Networks. As discussed in " Building Smart Communities with IBM Social Collaboration Tool Suite" (developer Works, May 2009), the major concepts that have been considered in Web 2.0 are:<br />Communities: Communities are an online space formed by a group of individuals to share their thoughts, ideas and have a variety of tools to promote Social Networking. There are a number of tools available online now a day to create communities which are very cost efficient as well as easy to use. <br />Blogging: Blogs give the users of a Social Network the freedom to express their thoughts in a free form basis and help in generation and discussion of topics.<br />Wikis: A Wiki is a set of co-related pages on a particular subject and allow users to share content. Wikis replace the difficult document management systems and are very easy to create and maintain.<br />Folksonomy: Web 2.0 being a people-centric technology has introduced the feature of Folksonomy where users can tag their content online and this enables others to easily find and view other content. <br />File sharing/Podcasting: This is the facility which helps users to send their media files and related content online for other people of the network to see and contribute more on.<br />Mash-ups: This is the facility via which people on the internet can gather together services from multiple vendors to create a totally new service. An example may be combining the location information from a mobile service provider and the map facility of Google maps in order to find the exact information of a cell phone device from the internet, just by entering the cell number. <br />As we see from the above components of Web 2.0, each of them contribute to help the implementation and continued existence of social Networks on a meaningful basis. While wikis and communities help to create an online space for the networks, blogging, folksonomy and file sharing help to information flow across the virtual world of the social networking community.<br /> <br />Reference [01]<br />A new mode of social networking such as online social networking has emerged and become popular with the inception of Web 2.0 technology. People are increasingly tending to develop their virtual social relationships and virtual life on existing common social networking websites such as Facebook, Xanga and MySpace. These websites provide favorable platforms for individuals to communicate themselves. More significantly, by using social networking technologies, individuals can establish new relationships with associates, as well as maintain close relationships with friends, colleagues, and family members. The active engagement in these websites to establish virtual relationships provides individuals with access to a diversified set of information from multiple sources (Wasko & Faraj, 2005)<br />social networking with web 2.0 TECHNOLOGIES AND learning and teaching outcomes <br />The latest Web 2.0 technology has enabled universities and corporations to reach out and educate students across time and space barriers. What is more these web 2.0 technology has provided new opportunities to develop Web-based collaborative learning systems involved learners to participate in collaborative learning context to learn from their collaborators (Barak, Herscoviz, Kaberman, & Dori, 2009; Jones, Blackey, Fitzgibbon, & Chew, 2010). Nearly, collaborative learning is a social interaction that involving a group of people of learners and instructors, where members obtain and share experience or knowledge. Based on social constructivism, learners would learn more through the process of sharing experiences, discussion to build their knowledge (Vygotsky, 1978). From the social e-cultural activity theory, the latest Web 2.0 technology can play a role as mediator for enriching technical courses with learning teams (Nardi, 1996). Actually in Web 2.0-based systems, cross-platform environments and synchronous or/and asynchronous are all proper functions that provide learners with more equivalent opportunities for sharing information, retrieving information, and active interaction with other learners and instructors (Barak et al., 2009).<br />Definitions of social networks in research literature shows that although some studies focused on communication and collaboration, some others focused on structural characteristics of these tools such as the profiles, uploading photographs, comments, writing on walls, and friends' lists. For example, Bartlett-Bragg (2006) defined social networks as a “range of applications that augments group interactions and shared spaces for collaboration, social connections, and aggregates information exchanges in a web-based environment.” Similarly, Boyd and Ellison (2007) defined social networks as web-based services allowing individuals to 1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, 2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. Ease of use, allowing for rapid updating, analyzing and sharing continuously increasing information stemming from our daily life, establishing spontaneous relationships, supporting informal learning practices by means of interaction and communication, and facilitating delivery of education are explained as the reasons why social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Youtube, and Flickr are adopted and accepted rapidly although they had originally emerged for sharing photos, personal information, videos, profiles and content (Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008; Mejias, 2005). There are hundreds of social networks with various technological applications serving to a wide range of interests most of which support the maintenance of pre-existing social relations, however, many others help strangers to connect to others' profiles with shared interests, needs, political views etc. (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). Social networks include various people both as authors as well as readers, nonetheless personalized content, information sharing and collaboration are the socializing dimensions of these tools (Bartlett-Bragg, 2006). As Lenhart and Madden (2007) postulate, 55% of teenagers use social networks in their daily lives most of whose purposes are limited to communicating with friends, making new friends and sharing personal information and materials. On the other hand, beside this socializing entity, social networks are suggested to help users re-situate learning in an open-ended social context by providing opportunities for moving beyond the mere access to the content (learning about) to the social application of knowledge in a constant process of re-orientation(learning as becoming) (Mejias, 2005). Social networks, consisting mostly young people as users, are highly informal environments which play an important role in continuing the interaction outside the classroom. While it is expected that social networks will increase interaction related to formal educational purposes, young people also use these applications to continue their informal education such as by following and commenting on academic and social issues, dilemmas and disappointments faced while pursuing university education (Selwyn, 2007a). therefore, using social networks in an academic context is attractive for these young users, will be given a chance to acquire new knowledge through subliminal, effective and smooth learning processes while taking part in enjoyable interactive situations mediated through interesting and motivating tools and content (Gillet, El Helou, Yu, & Salzmann, 2008). Social network research suggests that a network with diverse members greatly facilitates access to useful information, as such diversity enables individuals to tap multiple pockets of information and knowledge (Burt, 2001; Coleman, 1990), thereby providing more comprehensive views for individuals to understand comprehensive environments. As Morrison (1993) observes, a large range of network with broader information is beneficial for individuals’ learning about an environment’s attributes (e.g., norms, policies and culture). As Walsh et al. (1998) assert, “Forming mutual and meaningful connections with others, individuals gain a greater sense of energy, purpose, vision and ultimate self-understanding.” Affectively, peers can provide emotional and psychological support that facilitates individual learning and academic satisfaction. Sanchez et al.’s (2006) 4-year long study demonstrates that college students with peer mentoring and support are more satisfied with their university life. What are more Individuals who are socially accepted by peers may achieve higher performance proficiency because the relationships they form with peers are social capital that potentially facilitates their skill development and performance enhancement (Bauer et al., 2007; Bauer & Green, 1994).<br />From an educational perspective, online social networking is also a learning practice for university students, since the learning environment of the university itself are a social system of individuals’ interacting within a shared academic context (Hwang, Kessler, & Francesco,2004). We observe that online social networking has been deeply embedded in the lifestyle of young people, especially since university students engage a large quantity of the total population of online social networking websites (Madge, Meek, Wellens, & Hooley, 2009;Subrahmanyam, Reich, Waechter, & Espinoza, 2008). Recent research conducted in a Northern Taiwan research university shows that, in a web-based learning, undergraduates with certain self-regulation capacity intend to interact with their peers to get feedback and thus improve their performance (Wang & Wu, 2008). Further, students can develop commitment to their university and begin to better articulate their role as well as engage in peer-supported communities on aspects of academic life (Selwyn, 2009).<br />On the other hand, the pedagogical impacts on university students of the social networking in general and the emerging online social networking behavior in particular have obtained scant attention in the literature. Most prior studies have investigated the values of personal social networks in the business world, e.g., facilitating individuals to achieve higher mobility, better job performance and other career-related success (Podolny & Baron, 1997; Seibert, Kraimer, & Liden, 2001). Although several studies have investigated the social network relationships in computer-supported collaborative learning (Cho, Gay, Davidson, & Ingraffea, 2007; Kreijns, Kirschner, Wim, & van Buuren, 2007; Ryymin, Palonen, & Hakkarainen, 2008), the network investigated was forced to a small and controlled group, in which the networking behavior is largely different from that in modern online social network websites. In put into practice, students intend to generate creative activities and learning in the online social networking context. It has been found that “Net generation” learners have different styles of information processing and learning expectations, which behooves educational institutions to reconsider pedagogical approaches (Williams & Chinn, 2009). According to social learning theory (Bandura, 1977), individuals often self initiate and regulate their learning to achieve desirable learning outcomes. Through interacting with peers and the situated environment, individuals’ cognition, affection and behavior are influenced.<br />Recent research illustrates that young people’s online social networking behavior can bring them physical and psychological well-being (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007; Steinfield, Ellison, & Lampe, 2008).<br />Latest research shows that Facebook has increasing influences on university students’ lives with usage rates of over 90% per year at most campuses (Lampe, Ellison, & Steinfield, 2006; Stutzman, 2006). This is also confirmed by students I interviewed at my university who noted that: “Being on Facebook becomes a daily activity and we log on Facebook multiple times per day”. <br />Below paragraph describe one of the social networks called “Facebook” and in this study, the Facebook is handled among other social networks. These social networks started with Six.Degrees.com in 1997 followed by other social networks sites such as Livejournal, Friendster, LinkedIn, MySpace, Last.fm, Flickr, YouTube, and finally Facebook launched, attracting great numbers of registered users in a short span of time (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).. Facebook is defined as “a social utility that helps people share information and communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers” (facebook.com). Despite the fact that Facebook was launched in 2004 as a Harvard-only Social Network site, it expanded to include other high school students, professionals inside corporate networks, and eventually everyone who have access to the online world (Cassidy, 2006). Facebook provides a personal profile to the user as allowing for communication, information sharing, creating a friends list, making photo albums, forming or applying to social interest groups, and variety of online games. in brief, as members of Facebook, people cans hare their photos, send messages, chat, tag themselves or others on photos, write on friends' walls, join groups, create new groups, share ideas in group discussions, add kinds of applications, and play Facebook games. Facebook accessed by millions of users in a short period whilst becoming a part of users' daily lives. In the same way, it has paying attention of researchers in different subjects such as users' patterns of offline and online activities, online identities, technological capacities of social connections and cultural patterns (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007; Selwyn, 2007a).<br />Facebook is being considered as an educational tool because of its beneficial qualities such as enabling peer feedback, goodness of fit with social context, and interaction tools (Mason, 2006). Because most Facebook users are between 18 and 25 years old, they mostly are university students (Bumgarner, 2007). Therefore, it can easily be deduced that it can be a useful educational tool particularly by providing active participation and collaboration.<br />Facebook is known as a favorable educational tool owing to its structure and a variety of utilities. On the other hand, how and for which purposes these tools will be used in educational contexts is still awaiting researchers' interest. In the associated studies it is argued that Facebook and other social networks facilitate informal learning because of their active role in members' daily lives. Social network sites support collaborative learning, engage individuals in critical thinking, enhance communication and writing skills through activating members work in personalized environments (Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008; Lockyer & Patterson, 2008). In addition to these, Lee and McLoughlin (2008) claim that social networks are pedagogical tools because people can use them for connectivity and social support, collaborative information discovery and sharing, content creation and knowledge and information aggregation and modification.<br />Considering the educational utilities offered by Facebook such as providing members with intentional or spontaneous learning. Using Facebook users enable Communication, Collaboration and Material Resource Sharing. Facebook adoption is found to have a significant positive relationship with usefulness, ease of use, social influence, facilitating conditions and community identity. Usefulness is determined as the most important feature in predicting the acceptance of Facebook. This finding is consistent with those of previous research on adoption or acceptance of an innovation in a system (King& He, 2006; Ngai, Poon, & Chan, 2007; van Raaij & Schepers, 2008). Therefore, usefulness as perceived by Facebook users can be suggested as one of the major reasons for the rapid adoption of Facebook and the rapid increase in the number of its users. Opportunities by bringing people together around shared interests, exchanging information, sharing ideas, discussing topics, collaborating etc.<br />Online social networking engagement not only enables students to expand their network scope by connecting with various relationships, but also allows them to maintain close relationships with a small group of people. The typical structure of individuals’ online social network, such as in Facebook, is often in a core-periphery mode: an individual establishes various relationships with a large group of people while developing closer relationships with core friends through close communications. Most probably, individuals take advantage of their large series of relationships and the inline small group of close relationships by engaging in online social networking.<br />In educational side, online social networking behavior is related to learning and academic success by creating systems of information, contacts and support. Even though co-located interactions (e.g. in the classes) students need other channels to express their feelings easily and freely, set up specific friendships that may not be realized by offline interactions, and capture more information. These online social networkings are important to students’ mental health and performance development. A number of research studies have illustrated that university students with more engagement in online social networking are more likely to have better health, affective development and academic success (Morrow, 1999; Steinfield et al., 2008). Treisman’s (1992) study shows that the time college students spend with their peers is a critical factor in determining their performance. Huang et al. (2004) also demonstrate that college students’ social networking with peers and professors can be a vehicle for gaining information and knowledge, thereby giving them higher performance. The educational practitioners can also believe appropriately designing educational practices on the social networking sites (e.g. the university orientation practice) allowing students to learn more about the university and promoting their commitment and satisfaction to the university.<br />On the other hand Liaw, Chen, and Huang (2008) reported that Web-based collaborative learning systems allow more opportunities for learners to participate without the limitation on knowledge levels. In Web-based collaborative learning context, Kagan (1994) pointed out students’ ideas about collaborative learning and their experience with the use of technology might inhibit or promote their participation in the collaborative learning process. Moreover, a collaborative task requires collaborators not only to share information, but also to discuss or determine how to rank other collaborator work. Dewiyanti, Brand-Gruwel, Jochems, and Broers (2007) also mentioned that learners are encouraged to exchange ideas, share perspectives, and use previous knowledge or experience in order to decide on the best solution for the question. Dori and Herscovitz (1999) suggested that the central role of education should be to develop in learners an appreciation of posting questions.<br />Blogs also play a major role in online learning. It’s also a part of the web 2.0 technologies. While traditional educators may lawfully worry about students limiting their sources of information to what is available on the web, or worse, equate research with mere information collation thus indifferent research, educational technology pundits are now keen to brandish the educational affordances of the latest Web 2.0 tools, amongst which is blogging the “signature item of social software” (Alexander, 2006). In advocating blogging as a powerful learning tool both for the individual as well as for organizations, the CEO of Tech Empower Tony Karrer paints an exciting picture of how bloggers, in their continual search for interesting information, connect in what would translate as ideal learning scenarios for educators:<br /> They must synthesize the information, formulate additional questions, contrast and make sense of differing viewpoints, and identify patterns and trends (Karrer, 2007).<br />From its early days as an online diary or a web-based log (“weblog”) of “links, commentary, and personal notes” (Blood, 2000), blog has come a long way in becoming “a significant learning and social networking tool that can help individuals, groups, and organizations learn in new, interesting ways” (Karrer, 2007). <br />Perhaps the case against blogging and the Net-Geners themselves has been overstated: the problem may not be with the tool or means itself, but with how it is being put to use. After all, there have been encouraging reports of educational successes with blogging noted above.<br />Still others have reported on how blogging had resulted in students writing more and writing better (Ramaswami, 2008), some embraced blogging because it enabled “thinking by writing” (recall Mori, 2007, quoted above), with the possible support from a relevant community (Nardi, Schiano, Gumbrecht, & Swartz, 2004; recall also the quote from Stewart, 2008, above). <br />Actually, blogging has even been reported to have enhanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills (Ocker & Yaverbaum, 2001, cited in Kim, 2008). More relevant to our current focus, one recent study found blogging to be capable of building a broader range of skills relevant to academic researched information searching, literature reviewing, and writing skills such as organizing, paraphrasing, and referencing (Tekinarslan, 2008; see also Embrey,2002). Peer learning is another reported benefit of blogging. The students indicated that they had learnt from reading one another’s blogs even though their research topics were different. One of them wrote that reading “the thought process [her fellow students] went through” helped her in her own analysis; another appreciated having been “exposed to a range of other aspects of analysis of 20th C music”. In one previous study, it was found that broader and more varied exposure was needed to help students better transfer their web-searching skills or generalize from their more limited experiences (Walton & Archer, 2004). Previous research studies have mostly highlighted the educational affordances of blogs as a reflective, writing and/or collaborative-learning tool; others have even advocated it as a research tool.<br />Wikis also considered as one of the many popular Web 2.0 tools that help collaborative work. With wikis, users do not need to know how to write HTML codes to publish their products on the Internet with ease (Heafner & Friedman, 2008). The control and history features of wikis are mostly helpful for users, allowing them to trace the content and timing of the revision. Richardson (2006) suggests that there are different educational possibilities of using wikis for learning, especially for language learning. Indeed, several studies have found that wikis can foster collaborative learning in particular; writing English from primary to university levels (Mak & Coniam, 2008; Wang, 2010; Wilkoff, 2007). Wikis are also useful for fostering deep understanding of social studies (Heafner & Friedman, 2008) and helping pre-service teachers produce high-quality science learning materials (Nicholas & Ng, 2009).<br />Matrix of online social networking and social technologies<br />SocialTechnologies(web 2.0)Online social networkingContent GeneratingSharingInteractingCollaborativelySocializingBlogs(Sandars & Schroter,2007)(Hargadon, 2008)(Churchill, 2009)(Murray, 2008)(Churchill, 2009)Wikis(Ras & Rech, 2009)(Sandars & Schroter,2007)(Hargadon, 2008)(Kane & Fichman, 2009)(Murray, 2008)(Kane & Fichman, 2009)(Ras & Rech, 2009)(Kane & Fichman, 2009)(Sandars & Schroter, 2007)(Ras & Rech, 2009)(Rhoades, Friedel, &Morgan, 2009)Photo sharing (Sandars & Schroter, 2007)(Hargadon, 2008)Video sharing(Sandars & Schroter, 2007)(Hargadon, 2008)(Mason & Rennie,2008)Podcasting(Sandars & Schroter, 2007)(Minocha & Thomas,2007) (Hargadon, 2008)(Sandars & Schroter,2007)Socialbookmarking(Sandars & Schroter, 2007)(Eysenbach, 2008)(Churchill, 2009)Onlinediscussion board(Hemmi, Bayne, & Landt,2009)(Wuensch, Aziz,Ozan,Kishore,&Tabrizi,2009)Instantmessaging(Sandars & Schroter, 2007)(Sandars & Schroter, 2007)(Mason&Rennie,2008)Socialnetworking sites(Murray, 2008)(Virkus, 2008)(Sandars & Schroter, 2007)(Hargadon, 2008)(Murray, 2008)(Oradini & Saunders,2008)(Murray, 2008)(Minocha, 2009)(Murray, 2008)(Supe, 2008)(Oradini & Saunders, 2008)<br />Reference [02]<br />Limitations and future research<br />Future research could investigate the reciprocity among social networking, socialization and learning outcomes, data security and privacy of such public domains and could adopt an anthropological approach to observe individuals online social networking behavior in a nonstop time series. It would help to understand the vitality of the individuals’ online social networking behavior.<br />Conclusion<br />The latest Web 2.0 technology has enabled universities and corporations to reach out and educate students across time and space barriers. The latest Web 2.0 technology has provided new opportunities to develop Web-based collaborative learning systems involved learners to participate in collaborative learning context to learn from their collaborators (Barak, Herscoviz, Kaberman, & Dori, 2009; Jones, Blackey, Fitzgibbon, & Chew, 2010). In this review I also agreed with these research studies. Most of the Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of many web-based communities and hosted services, including weblogs (blogs), wikis, podcasts, Really Simple Syndication (RSS), and social networking sites. Online social networking has extremely penetrated our social life. All the way through the continuous improvement of web technologies, people are more and more influenced by the virtual world. My study investigating the learning impacts of online social networking and other related web 2.0 technologies on students demonstrates the critical role that such an up-and-coming creative networking approach plays in education. Online social networking facilitates most of the students to develop satisfying relationships with peers, sharing information, effective communication and more. Recent research illustrates that young people’s online social networking behavior can bring them physical and psychological well-being (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007; Steinfield, Ellison, & Lampe, 2008). Actually as the above research shown, in the end, online social networking can improve students’ psychological well-being and skill development. These are not only desired for the individual learners but also expected by educational institutions. My study implies that it is proper to make use of online networking sites, such as Facebook, to design some learning activities, e.g., orientation practices, to increase interactivity among individual students and build a sound background for socialization. These practices will help fulfill students’ ever growing networking needs and, therefore, improve their social learning effectiveness. The study indicated that Web 2.0 environments can do more than promote learning (Boyd, 2007; Richardson, 2006). The flexible features of Web 2.0 enable student teachers to apply with ease their subject knowledge and education background to their designs of digital learning, teaching, and assessment materials. Certainly, the communications within groups, between groups, and with the tutors motivated the students to dedicate extra effort to their wiki project. Liaw, Chen, and Huang (2008) reported that Web-based collaborative learning systems allow more opportunities for learners to participate without the limitation on knowledge levels. As they reported, throughout this review many experts have suggested that Web-based collaborative learning systems allow more opportunities for learners with the unlimited knowledge levels. <br />Blogs also play an important role in learning and research studies. Blog has come a long way in becoming “a significant learning and social networking tool that can help individuals, groups, and organizations learn in new, interesting ways” (Karrer, 2007). As they consider most of the learners could gain many more advantages using these blogs to their learning and research studies. Wikis also considered as one of the many popular Web 2.0 tools that help collaborative work. With wikis, users do not need to know how to write HTML codes to publish their products on the Internet with ease (Heafner & Friedman, 2008). The ability to control history features of wikis are mostly helpful for users, it allow users to outline the content and timing of the revision. Wikis are also useful to have deep understanding of social studies and helping teachers produce high-quality science learning materials. This suggests that the effectiveness of learning and teaching is greatly influenced by a Web 2.0 environment and active participation. People are coming much closer to another and all social and geographical boundaries are being reduced at lightning speed which is one of the biggest sustenance factors for any social network. Using Web 2.0 also increases the social collaboration to a very high degree and this in turn helps in achieving the goals for a social network.<br />References<br />Reference [01]<br /> Dasgupta, D. & Dasgupta, R. (2009). Components of Web 2.0 for social networks. Social Networks using Web 2.0, 23 Nov 2009 <br />Reference [02]<br />Hamid, S. & Chang, S. & Kurnia, S. (2009). 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