WHAT WAS THE FIRST SOCIAL NETWORKINGSITE? The first social networking site was called Six Degrees and was created in 1997. It was very basic and only allowed users to create profiles and list their friends. Described itself as a tool to help people connect with and send messages to others. It only lasted a few years and ended in 2001. To the right is a screenshot of what Six Degrees looked like. As you can see it was very basic and wouldnt have been able to compete with the competition in todays market. (JCMA)
WHO ARE THE MAJOR SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES?HOW MANY USERS DOES EACH OF THESE SITESHAVE AND WHICH ONE IS THE MOST POPULAR? The most popular social networking site is FaceBook. Even though it is the subject to the media a lot because of legal speculation, and their sometimes absurd ideas, it has 750 million users worldwide. It has even had a film made about its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, and how he created it. (Telegraph, 2011)
Twitter is the second most popular social networking site as it has 200 million users. It is used for micro blogging and following celebrities and friends. It has also become a useful tool for businesses as they can market their product to worldwide audiences. (Telegraph, 2011)
MySpace has 50 million users worldwide. The site used to have a lot more users but as social trends changed people moved from MySpace onto more sophisticated networking sites. It is now mostly used by bands and artists who want to be noticed by potential fans and record labels. (Telegraph, 2011)
Lastly, Flickr has 32 million users. This site is used by photographers to share their photos with the world. Bloggers also use this site to host pictures they want to embed in their blogs. (Telegraph, 2011)
HOW HAS SOCIAL NETWORKING BECOME APART OF EVERYDAY LIFE? Social networking sites have converged onto other Internet based platforms, like apps on smart phones and music devices. For instance, Blackberry, iPhone and HTC smart phones all have social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter available via a free downloadable app. This means that the user can connect to these sites virtually anywhere they go. They then become addictive with the user checking the sites regularly throughout the day.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF SOCIALNETWORKING SITES?The main dangers of social networking sites are: Cyber bullying Sexual abuse Privacy
CYBER BULLYING Cyber bullying has become more common as social networking sites, like FaceBook and Twitter, have become more and more popular among children and young adults. Bullies create fake accounts, leave abusive message and emails, spread rumours and upload nasty photos. These things can leave the victim feeling lonely and scared. The Internet gives the bullies lots of confidence as they arent face to face with the victim.
A survey carried out by the National Crime Prevention Centre, found that over 40% of teenagers have reported being bullied online (Cyber Bully Alert, 2008.) However, there are many more who dont report cases of cyber bullying. In a recent incident an adult was found guilty of writing abusive comments on memorial pages for young girls who had recently died. As his posts were hurting the feelings of the friends and family members of the young girls; the man, called Sean Duffy, was jailed for 18 weeks. (BBC, 2011)
SEXUAL ABUSE As social networking isnt face to face interaction, many people pretend to be someone else. They can gain their trust and then encourage the child to talk and met up with them. Any inappropriate sexual interaction between an adult and a child is called, sexual grooming. In 2006 the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) was set up to help protect children from online sex offenders. In 2009 they passed a rule that stated that every social networking site and online chat room should display a CEOP report button on their website. This is so children can report sexual or abusive behaviour to the police. However, FaceBook opted out of this scheme. (The Register, 2009)
PRIVACY 25% of the world population has access to the Internet and this means a lot of people can access the information you put on it. Personal information and inappropriate pictures should not be put onto any social networking site as it can be easy for someone to take your pictures and collect your personal information. If any of these fall into the wrong hands it can have disastrous consequences. Some of these consequences can be seen in this CEOP video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0- VCX7Sr-2c