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a paper on Social Networking Sites


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This 6-page document on Social Networking Sites discusses various topics like : comparison of SNS, working of SNS, uses and disadvantages of social networking sites, etc.
This Microsoft word document is in IEEE 2013 standard format.

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a paper on Social Networking Sites

  1. 1. Abstract—Social networking sites (SNS) have become very popular during the past few years, as they allow users to both express their individuality and meet people with similar interests. A social networking service is a Web site that allows individuals/organistions to construct a public or semi-public profile. Users’ data are not only constituted by vital statistics, but they include a lot of other information which pertains to user hobbies, passions, interests, professional background and so on. This kind of personal data permit to create interconnected networks of people who decide to put in common their interests and to have an online identity which fully describes them. Nonetheless, there are also many potential threats to privacy associated with these SNS such as identity theft and disclosure of sensitive information. However, many users still are not aware of these threats and the privacy settings provided by SNS are not flexible enough to protect user data IndexTerms-Interconnected Networks, Profile, SNS, userdata, Website. I.INTRODUCTION ince their introduction, social network sites (SNSs) such as MySpace, Facebook, Cyworld, and Bebo have attracted millions of users, many of whom have integrated these sites into their daily practices. As of this writing, there are hundreds of SNSs, with various technological affordances, supporting a wide range of interests and practices. While their key technological features are fairly consistent, the cultures that emerge around SNSs are varied. Most sites support the maintenance of pre-existing social networks, but others help strangers connect based on shared interests, political views, or activities. Some sites cater to diverse audiences, while others attract people based on common language or shared racial, sexual, religious, or nationality- based identities. Sites also vary in the extent to which they incorporate new information and communication tools, such as mobile connectivity, blogging, and photo/video-sharing. S Social networking sites can be defined as web-based services that allow individuals to i.construct a public or semi- public profile within a bounded system, ii. articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and iii. view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site. With the rapid growth of social networking web sites and their global scale usage, whatever one feels concerning social networking web sites is irrelevant because social networking web sites are on a popularity rise and are here to stay. II.HISTORY OF SNS A. In Early Years The first recognizable social network site is and was launched in allowed users to create profiles, list their Friends and, beginning in 1998, surf the Friends lists. Each of these features existed in some form before SixDegrees, of course. Profiles existed on most major dating sites and many community sites. AIM and ICQ buddy lists supported lists of Friends, although those Friends were not visible to others. allowed people to affiliate with their high school or college and surf the network for others who were also affiliated, but users could not create profiles or list Friends until years later. SixDegrees was the first to combine these features. SixDegrees promoted itself as a tool to help people connect with and send messages to others. While SixDegrees attracted millions of users, it failed to become a sustainable business and, in 2000, the service closed. Looking back, its founder believes that SixDegrees was simply ahead of its time (A. Weinreich, personal communication, July 11, 2007). While people were already flocking to the Internet, most did not have extended networks of friends who were online and most users were not interested in meeting strangers. From 1997 to 2001, a number of community tools began supporting various combinations of profiles and publicly articulated Friends. AsianAvenue, BlackPlanet, and MiGente allowed users to create personal, professional, and dating profiles—users could identify Friends on their personal profiles without seeking approval for those connections (O. Wasow, personal communication, August 16, 2007). Likewise, shortly after its launch in 1999, LiveJournal listed one-directional connections on user pages. Friendster launched in 2002 as a social complement to Ryze. It was designed to compete with ,a profitable online dating site.While most dating sites focused on introducing people to strangers with similar interests, Friendster was designed to help friends-of-friends meet, based on the assumption that friends-of-friends would make better romantic partners than would strangers (J. Abrams, personal communication, March 27, 2003). Social Networking SitesG Rajesh,S2-ECE-B,Amrita College Of Engineering,Amritapuri 1
  2. 2. Figure 1:The Origin of Various Social Networking Sites B. SNS Hit The Main Stream From 2003 onward, many new SNSs were launched, prompting social software analyst Clay Shriky to coin the term YASNS: “Yet Another Social Networking Service.” Most took the form of profile-centric sites, trying to replicate the early success of Friendster or target specific demographics. While socially-organized SNSs solicit broad audiences, professional sites such as LinkedIn, Visible Path, and Xing (formerly openBC) focus on business people. Furthermore, as the social media and user-generated content phenomena grew, websites focused on media sharing began implementing SNS features and becoming SNSs themselves. Examples include Flickr (photo sharing), Last.FM (music listening habits), and YouTube (video sharing). With the plethora of venture-backed startups launching in Silicon Valley, few people paid attention to SNSs that gained popularity elsewhere, even those built by major corporations. For example, Google’s Orkut failed to build a sustainable U.S. user base, but a “Brazilian invasion” (Fragoso, 2006) made Orkut the national SNS of Brazil. Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces (a.k.a. MSN Spaces) also launched to lukewarm U.S. reception but became extremely popular elsewhere. As of now thousands of Social Networking Sites have evolved but a very few of them like, and have been consistent in their usage or popularity. III. WORKING OF SNS While SNSs have implemented a wide variety of technical features, their backbone consists of visible profiles that display an articulated list of Friends who are also users of the system. Profiles are unique pages where one can type oneself into being. After joining an SNS, an individual is asked to fill out forms containing a series of questions. The profile is generated using the answers to these questions, which typically include descriptors such as age, location, interests, and an "about me" section. Most sites also encourage users to upload a profile photo. Some sites allow users to enhance their profiles by adding multimedia content or modifying their profile's look and feel. Others, such as Facebook, allow users to add modules ("Applications") that enhance their profile. The visibility of a profile varies by site and according to user discretion. By default, profiles on Orkut or are crawled by search engines, making them visible to anyone, regardless of whether or not the viewer has an account. Alternatively, sites like MySpace allow users to choose whether they want their profile to be public or "Friends only." Facebook takes a different approach—by default, users who are part of the same "network" can view each other's profiles, unless a profile owner has decided to deny permission to those in their network. Structural variations around visibility and access are one of the primary ways that SNSs differentiate themselves from each other. After joining a social network site, users are prompted to identify others in the system with whom they have a relationship. The label for these relationships differs depending on the site popular terms include "Friends," "Contacts," and "Fans." Most SNSs require bi-directional confirmation for Friendship, but some do not. These one- directional ties are sometimes labelled as "Fans" or "Followers," but many sites call these Friends as well. The term "Friends" can be misleading, because the connection does not necessarily mean friendship in the everyday vernacular sense, and the reasons people connect are varied (Boyd, 2006). The public display of connections is a crucial component of SNSs. The Friends list contains links to each Friend's profile, enabling viewers to traverse the network graph by clicking through the Friends lists. On most sites, the list of Friends is visible to anyone who is permitted to view the profile, although there are exceptions. 2
  3. 3. SNSs also provide a mechanism for users to leave messages on their Friends' profiles. This feature typically involves leaving "comments," although sites employ various labels for this feature. In addition, SNSs often have a private messaging feature similar to webmail. While both private messages and comments are popular on most of the major SNSs, they are not universally available. Beyond profiles, Friends, comments, and private messaging, SNSs vary greatly in their features and user base. Some have photo-sharing or video-sharing capabilities; others have built-in blogging and instant messaging technology. There are mobile-specific SNSs (e.g., Dodgeball), but some web-based SNSs also support limited mobile interactions (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, and Cyworld). Many SNSs target people from specific geographical regions or linguistic groups, although this does not always determine the site's constituency. Orkut, for example, was launched in the United States with an English-only interface, but Portuguese- speaking Brazilians quickly became the dominant user group. Some sites are designed with specific ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, political, or other identity-driven categories in mind. There are even SNSs for dogs (Dogster) and cats (Catster), although their owners must manage their profiles. While SNSs are often designed to be widely accessible, many attract homogeneous populations initially, so it is not uncommon to find groups using sites to segregate themselves by nationality, age, educational level, or other factors that typically segment society, even if that was not the intention of the designers. IV. EXAMPLES OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES A. ORKUT.COM Orkut is an Internet social network service run by Google and named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. It claims to be designed to help users meet new friends and maintain existing relationships. Similar to Facebook, Friendster and MySpace, Orkut goes a step further by permitting the creation of easy-to-set-up simple forums (called "communities") of users. Since October 2006, Orkut has permitted users to create accounts without an invitation. Orkut is the most visited website in Brazil, being more visited than Google Brazil, number 2 on the list. In total visits, Google is probably still more popular since it appears as the second (the Brazilian version) and seventh most visited site (the international version). The initial target market for orkut was the United States, but the majority of its users are in Brazil. In fact, as of November 2007, 62.9% of the traffic come from Brazil, followed by 19.2% from India. In December 2007, Google dropped orkut from the drop-down menu of its international homepage. B. FACEBOOK.COM Facebook is another example of social networking site. Developed by sophomore Mark Zuckerberg of Harvard University in 2004, was originally (Facebook, 2007). Purchasing the domain name of in August of 2005 for $200,000 the site was originally developed for college and university students as a way to connect with each other (Facebook, 2007). Hosting the most members for a college based social networking site, is also the number one site for uploading pictures, boasting several million uploads daily. Since its inception, has now been opened to anyone with a valid email address and offers its members options of joining the millions of networks of people with similar interests. It is said that 80% of users check their account daily and that 93% of users check their account at least monthly (Facebook, 2007) generates its revenue from advertisement since it boasts a huge number of registered users. C. MYSPACE.COM MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos internationally. It is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, USA, where it shares an office building with its immediate owner, Fox Interactive Media; in turn, the owner of Fox Interactive and therefore MySpace, News Corporation, is headquartered in New York City. According to Alexa Internet, MySpace is currently the world's sixth most popular English-language website and the sixth most popular website in any language, and the third most popular website in the United States, though it has topped the chart on various weeks. The service has gradually gained more popularity than similar websites to achieve nearly 80 percent of visits to online social networking websites. The company employs 300 staff and does not disclose revenues or profits separately from News Corporation. With the 100 millionth account being created on August 9, 2006, in the Netherlands and a news story claiming 106 million accounts on September 8, 2006, the site reportedly attracts new registrations at a rate of 230,000 per day. As of December 18, 2007, there are over 300 million accounts. D. HI5.COM hi5 is a social networking website, which, throughout 2007, was one of the 25 most visited sites on the web. The company was founded in 2002 by Ramu Yalamanchi who is also the current CEO. As of December 2007, hi5 had over 98 million members. In hi5, users create an online profile in order to show information such as interests, age and hometown and upload user pictures where users can post comments. hi5 also allows the user to create personal photo albums and set up a music player in the profile. Users can also send friend requests via e-mail to other users. When a person receives a friend request, he or she may accept or decline it, or block the user altogether. If the user accepts another user as a friend, the two will be connected directly or 3
  4. 4. in the 1st degree. The user will then appear on the person's friend list and vice-versa. Some users opt to make their profiles available for everyone on hi5 to view. Other users exercise the option to make their profile viewable only to those people who are in their network. The network of friends consists of a user's direct friends (1st degree), the friends of those direct friends (2nd degree) and the friends of the friends of direct friends (3rd degree). V. COMPARISION OF VARIOUS SNS’S A. Number Of Users Facebook ranks the 1st among others websites in terms of the number of users with 901 million users.Twitter and google plus are on 2nd and 3rd positions with 555million and 170 million users respectively .Linkedin have 150million users while pin interest has only 11.7 million users. B. Male-Female ratio When comparing the male-female user ratio,facebook has a 40:60 ratio,while for twitter it is 43:57.Males are more in google plus as its ratio is 63:37.While linkedin have 55:45 ratio,pin interest has a male-female ratio of 31:69. C. Time Spent Monthly While a monthly activity of only 3 minutes is found on google plus,it is 89 minutes for twitter. Both pin interest and facebook have a monthly activity time of 403 minutes.For Linkedin it is 83 minutes. D. Estimated User Worth Facebook leads with an impressive Estimated User Worth of 118dollars.The Estimated User Worth for twitter and pin interest is 71dollars while for linkedin it is just 28 dollars. Figure 2 Comapring Social networking sites based on user age groups VI. USES OF SNS’S A. Purely personal reasons Easily the most common use of Social Networking sites, and the main reason for them existing in the first place, is for personal reasons. The majority of people using Facebook or Myspace keep to the “social” label. It is used for its original purpose – to keep in touch with friends.One great way of taking advantage of the personal side of social networking sites is keeping in touch with people hundreds of miles away, maybe somebody who has gone travelling or moved to the other side of the world. B. Business – Connecting with customers With the rise of Internet Marketing, social media is being embraced by businesses more and more. Innovative ways of utilising these tools by connecting directly with customers are being found.Companies are seeing that the best way to conduct themselves online is to speak to their customers directly using these social networking sites, Twitter being especially useful for this. It increases the reputation of the company, gets them positive reviews and shows that they really care about the customer. It also gives a human face to the large corporation, meaning that customers or potential customers will feel much more comfortable coming back. Figure 3:Percentage of people who said they use SNS for various purposes C. Business – Networking There is also the opportunity for business types to network and expand their business on the social networking platform. This can take many forms, and take bits of each of points A and B. Social networking sites like LinkedIn exist for this purpose; for people to network within a business environment. It does for businesses what Facebook does for students and teenagers, it lets people connect. It could find you a new business deal or could even find you a new job! D. Entertainment Going hand in hand with the ‘social’ element of Social Networking, people sometimes go on purely for entertainment purposes. Myspace is a prime example of this, as many famous artists have been discovered through these sites. Music is a big part but also videos, such as Youtube viral offerings, are easily spread on social networking sites.The newest craze is on Facebook, with all the game applications that have appeared over the last couple of years. 4
  5. 5. VII. DISADVANTAGES/RISKS OF SNS A. Face to Face Connections are Endangered A huge advantage of these social communities has a reverse side effect that is also a big disadvantage of social networking: they reduce or eliminate face-to-face socialization. Because of the autonomy afforded by the virtual world, individuals are free to create a fantasy persona and can pretend to be someone else.It is hard to say no, be rude, or ignore someone when you are looking them in the eye. It's incredibly easy and quick to unfriend or unfollow someone or simply block their efforts to make a connection. Just one click of the mouse and your problems are over. Unfortunately, this feature of online socialization cheats people of the opportunity to learn how to resolve conflicts in the world outside the Internet and it could retard or cripple one's social skills developments. B. Cyberbullying and Crimes Against Children Use of social networks can expose individuals to harassment or inappropriate contact from others. Unless parents are diligent to filter the Internet content to which their families are exposed, children could be exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content. The Pew Center, in their Cyberbullying 2010 report, states that 93 percent of teens aged 12 to 17 use the Internet. Of that 93 percent, 63 percent of them use the Internet daily. Such high usage increases the risk of their being victims of cyberbullying or other cyber crimes. C. Time Waster A Nielsen report explains that social networking can be a big waste of time that sucks 17 percent of our Internet time down the non-productivity drain. While it is true that some of that time is likely spent in making and maintaining important business, social or professional connections, it is also true that it is easy to become distracted and end up spending valuable time on games, chats or other non-related activities. Dorie Clark of the Huffington Post reports Facebook users spend about six hours each month on the site, while social networkers spend three times as much time on those communities as they do on other online activities like email. D. Corporate Invasion of Privacy Social networking invites major corporations to invade your privacy and sell your personal information.On social networking sites, the website isn't the product, its users are. These sites run algorithms that search for keywords, web browsing habits, and other data stored on your computer or social networking profile and provide you with advertisements targeted specifically to you. At the same time, you may be giving the site permission to share your information with outside sources unless you specifically generate settings that disallow them to do so. E. Risks of Fraud or Identity Theft The information you post on the Internet is available to almost anyone who is clever enough to access it. Most thieves need just a few vital pieces of personal information to make your life a nightmare and if they successfully steal your identity, it could cost you dearly. A report on CNET reveals over 24 million Americans put their personal information at risk by posting it on public sites such as social communities. There is a wide probability that a social networking site is hacked with the increase in technology. VIII.CONCLUSION Social Networking site is a revolutionary idea with a very bright future with further scope for advancements. The opportunities provided from this medium are immense and many organisations are making use of this medium to better their practices.Social networking sites are a part of everyday life and they have brought revolutionary changes in communication between people. These sites provide different resources such as email and instant messages in one place. Availability of these resources makes the communication easy and faster. When we look at the social impact of social networking sites, we find that these sites have both positive and negative effects. Because of this fact, it is necessary to analyze both advantage and drawbacks of social networking sites.Undoubtedly, social networking sites are advantageous to young generation. With the help of these sites, people can communicate and express themselves by exchanging messages and comments.After all the advantages, the problem that arises is of information overload and security. Social networks, unlike the common media, do not have a pattern as to how much information has to be conveyed and where to draw the line. Too much of information may confuse users. Security might be another area of concern where people can get illegal access to a user’s information. The future of social networking looks very promising but still it has to deal with the problems associated with it. ACKNOWLEDGMENT I would like to express my special thanks of gratitude to my friends in helping me to finish this paper(Social Networking Site), which also helped me in doing a lot of Research and i came to know about so many new things I am really thankful to them. Secondly i would also like to thank my parents who helped me a lot in finalizing this project within the limited time frame 5
  7. 7.