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Social Networking. Mrs Mici Halse ( ). Resources?. The course web page is at There is no prescribed textbook . Outline. Introduction Social Networking Services ( SNSs ) SNS Examples MySpace Qzone Orkut Habbo

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Social networking

Social Networking

Mrs MiciHalse (



The course web page is at

There is no prescribed textbook.



  • Introduction

  • Social Networking Services (SNSs)

    • SNS Examples

    • MySpace

    • Qzone

    • Orkut

    • Habbo

    • Flickr

    • LastFM

    • LiveJournal

    • deviantART

    • LinkedIn

    • Facebook

  • A Critical Look at some SNS Issues: Case Study: Facebook

    • Criticism of Facebook

    • Privacy vs Openness

    • OpenID

  • Meta SNSs

    • Ning

  • Network Analysis: Social Networks

    • Basic Graph Theory

    • Metrics for Analysing Graphs - Degree centrality, Betweenness centrality, Closeness centrality



Social networking


  • Boyd & Ellison (2007) define Social Networking Services (SNSs) as “web-based services that allow individuals to

    • (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system,

    • (2) create 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.”

  • SNSs display these connections publicly (at least to some extent) which

    • lets users traverse the network-graph

    • provides mechanisms to allow users to communicate with one another by leaving comments or sending messages.

Social networking


  • the other users with whom someone shares a connection are usually called friends. Friends provide context -> imagined/virtual audience -> guides behavioural norms on the network

  • SNSs support pre-existing social relations (common offline element more than total strangers)

  • help to maintain and strengthen ties, and improve communication and the sharing of ideas and resources amongst members.

  • growing in popularity worldwide, commonly perceived as largely recreational – but…

Social networking


  • many corporations invest in commercially produced SNSs or produce in-house solutions to meet their needs

  • other companies and educational institutions are blocking their employees/students from accessing the sites

    • U.S. military blocked access to MySpace

    • Canadian government blocked access to Facebook from government departments

    • SNS ban affecting schools and libraries is being legislated in the US congress

    • various private corporations threaten disciplinary action if employees are found using SNSs at work

    • Rhodes…What and why?

Sns stats

SNS Stats

Why is this important?

Money it s their business model

Money ... It’s their business model

Targeted advertising

Targeted advertising ...

  • How does it work?

Targeted advertising1

Targeted advertising ...

  • Advertisers will pay 10-20 times more for the advert.

  • What is facebook’s model?

    • How important is your profile?

  • What is Google’s model?

    • Do you have a Google profile?

    • Is Google an SNS?

    • Why is it relevant here?

  • If you had limited money to spend on marketing your pharmaceutical product or your car brand, which would you go for?

August 2010

August 2010

Sns examples

SNS Examples

Some specific applications

Some specific applications

  • Top 5 by user numbers:

    • Facebook ( 400 000 000)

    • Qzone (200 000 000,

    • Orkut (180 000 000 -

    • Habbo (162 000 000, -

    • MySpace (130 000 000, - )

Some specific applications1

Some specific applications

  • Some others you may have heard of:

    • Flickr

    • LastFM

    • LiveJournal

    • deviantART

    • LinkedIn

    • Tumblr, Imeem (video sharing, bought out my MySpace), Twitter [no detail on any of these in the slides to come]





  • mostly in western countries

  • MySpace offers share capabilities with features that include:

    • Talking online with friends

    • Matchmaking, either for friends with other friends or an opportunity for singles to meet other singles.

    • Keeping in touch with families

    • Businesses or co-workers interested in networking

    • Studying with study partners

    • Looking for long lost friends. (MySpace - About Us, 2006).



  • users – teenagers and young adults who share a passion for music and media artists -> no kids, no mortgages, generally significant disposable income

  • advertising from the music industry and others keen to exploit the young people demographic resulting in large profits to the MySpace company

  • Top social site from June 2006 to April 2008, when competitor Facebook overtook it.

  • But! MySpace currently in financial trouble – laid off 30% of workforce in June 2009.






  • Popular mostly in China – the mysterious dark reaches of the non-english-speaking web…

  • permits users to:

    • write blogs,

    • keep diaries,

    • send photos,

    • listen to music.

  • Most Qzone services are not free-> need to buy the (virtual) "Canary Diamond" to access every service without paying extra.

  • mobile version available at extra cost






  • owned by Google (what else is owned by Google? The new MS? Issues of monopoly)

  • launched worldwide, flopped in English speaking countries – was hard to interact with other users, other than by writing testimonials or joining groups (issues with groups…)

  • took off enormously in Brazil





  • - “Habbo hotel”

  • began in 2000 and has expanded to include 32 online communities (or "hotels").

  • sort of a mixture of Second Life and Facebook –

  • users, groups, etc – the usual, but users have avatars

  • move around a virtual world

  • worldwide- country-specific sites (typically not on for SA)

  • virtual property, real value (like Second Life), thus virtual yet also real crime






  • two main stated goals:

    • to help people make their content available to the people who matter to them, and

    • to enable new ways of organizing photos and video

  • Flickr asks photo submitters to organize images using tags (a form of metadata) -> enable searchers to find images related to particular topics, such as place names or subject matter (implements tag clouds providing access to images tagged with the most popular keywords).

  • Freemiumbusiness model - look it up!

On a tangent compfight

On a tangent – compfight!

  • *The* Flickr search-engine






  • - Internet “radio”

  • current website was developed from two separate sources: Audioscrobbler and (merged in 2005)

  • founded in the United Kingdom in 2002, claims > 40 000 000

  • install software, then a music recommender system called "Audioscrobbler” builds a a profile of your musical taste by recording details of the songs you play on your pc

  • Date is "scrobbled” (collected/transferred) to’s database either via the music player itself (Spotify, Amarok) or via a plugin installed into the user's music player. The profile data is then displayed on the user's profile page.

  • numerous social networking features, can make recommendations

  • can create custom radio stations and playlists from any of the audio tracks in's music library , and are able to listen to some individual tracks on demand, or download tracks if the rights holder has previously authorised it.






  • combines blogging and SNS features by design, thus privacy features uncharacteristic of blogging sites

  • highly customisable levels of access, a model being copied by Facebook and various other SNSs – who sees what and when

  • communities - users can create and join

  • threaded commenting, comment/post tracking, freezing, etc makes LJ comms much more usable than Facebookcomms

  • some comms large and influential enough to impact web politics - strikethrough 2007, Haiti (ONTD – ONTD also mentioned in Oprah’s O magazine, Playboy magazine, and Life & Style magazine, and has +- a million members)





  • SNS for artists, writers, poets, film-makers, and creators in general

  • 11 000 000 members

  • high quantity of fan content

  • Has led to member summits and in 2009 a world tour exhibition show-casing works





  • Demographic difference once again - different focus:



  • Facebook was launched as "thefacebook" in September 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (Yadav 2006).

  • Not the first application of its type – followed sites like Friendster and Tribe

  • Facebook limited its membership creating a certain elitism (requirement that members be affiliated with a recognized English-speaking university –needed a uni e-mail address).

  • has expanded across demographic boundaries

  • Wikipedia claims it has 600 000 000 active users (interestingly 100 000 000 up from when this course was given last year!)

    Places to go: Facebook - by Stephen Downes



  • Facebook basic features include:

    • Wall – a space where messages can be posted on each other’s profile page.

    • Pokes – Virtual Pokes can be given to other users.

    • Status – Information can be given to friends on the current actions or whereabouts of the user

    • News Feed/Mini feed – where Facebook can announce changes to its site like upcoming events, profile changes and birthdays related to friends

    • Photos– users can load photos for their friends to see.



  • An application program interface (API) is a set of specifications defining how input to and interaction with a piece of software should be addressed, how authentication is managed, and how data should be structured.

  • In May 2007, Facebook opened its platform, providing an API to allow external applications to upload content.

  • members are now able to select from dozens of applications to input and display novel types of content

  • apps further expand and solidify multilateral demographic – e.g. parents/grandparents & Farmville

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