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History of Social Networking

Recently, E-Crime Expert launched a series that aims to help for a better understanding on why privacy and personal data are so vulnerable in relation with the Internet and its adjacent services/platforms. The scope of this series is to learn what the Internet is, how it works, what Social Networking Services are and how they came into place, why SNS are so popular.

In fact, social networking is as old as the human kind is. It is since the people decided to live in tribes, hordes or other ancient communities. The human relations network has existed since the capacity of communicating between people developed: “Our distant ancestors created social solidarity within small bands by talking together, and exchanging information and goods”. People chose to interact more with some people over others, based on their interests, affinities, and “family” line. The scope of these interactions was to trade food, goods, knowledge (regarding fire, techniques, skills etc). Also, as a matter of natural selection in order to combat interbreeding between people coming from the same family line, people started to interact with other people, which were part of a different family group.

During human development, people started to form different groups such as: workers guilds (i.e. all the toolmakers in a community form a group in order to exchange opinions, information, latest skills and help each others). Later, they formed official professional groups such as a Toolmakers Association. Furthermore, people started to form other kind of groups based on social preferences. One example could be the social clubs. The American Club in Brussels, for example, is a club where people with the same or similar background, under the same circumstances (being expats), decided to gather together in order to help each other, exchange information regarding housing, stores, administrative matters for themselves and newcomers. And it has been working for 90 years (e.g. On January 15, 1920 the American Club in Brussels was opened).

Along with the industrial revolution 18th and 19th centuries, people decided to form groups of interest in order to make decisions and help implement them in order to obtain monetary benefit, stable market or new policies and regulations in various areas (i.e. Agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transport, etc).

According to Ann Macintosh and Efthimios Tambouries: the term “social network” has extensively been used to illustrate patterns of connection between people in a community. The theory of Social Network focuses on the relationship of how people communicate and act between them. These relationships are described as ties and nodes, where a node is the individual within the social networks. The ties and nodes approach focuses less on the individual but more on the relationship that an individual has within her network and her ties (connections) with other individuals. A SNS is a medium where an individual is allowed to create or join private, personal, or professional networks in order to share information, pictures, documents, opinions with other individuals.

According to Bourdieu and Wacquant, social networks produce social capital where the social capital is: “ the sum of the resources, actual or virtual, that accrue to an individual or a group by virtue of possessing a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationship of mutual acquaintance and recognition”. The SNS could be considered as a medium for developing social capital. The social capital could be used to influence the public opinion regarding a product, elections, trends, etc.


Stay tunned for the next post which describes the development of Social Networking System.

Any questions can be submitted to: dan@e-crimeexpert.com

Additional information can be found at: www.e-crimeexppert.com

What is Social Networking in your opinion? How to you interact with other people? Do you like offline or online interaction?

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  1. Radu
    October 6, 2011 at 00:39

    There should be a balance between the two… Nowadays the limit tends to blur, especially for younger generations.

  2. March 19, 2013 at 12:39

    “History of Social Networking | E-crime Expert blog” Black Shades
    was indeed a quite pleasant blog post, . Continue creating and I will keep browsing!
    Thank you ,Tamara

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