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Review of Related Literature and Studies

In: Computers and Technology

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II. Review of Related Literature and Studies Interacting with friends and family across long distances has been a concern of humans for centuries. As social animals, people have always relied on communication to strengthen their relationships. When face-to-face discussions are impossible or inconvenient, humans have dreamed up plenty of creative solutions.
The history of social media is the roots of social media stretch far deeper than you might imagine. Although it seems like a new trend, sites like Facebook are natural outcome of many centuries of social media development. The earliest methods of communicating across great distances used written correspondence delivered by hand from one person to another it is also called letters. The earliest form of postal service dates back to 550 B.C., and this primitive delivery system would become more widespread and streamlined in future centuries. In 1792, the telegraph was invented. This allowed messages to be delivered over a long distance far faster than a horse and rider could carry them. Although telegraph messages were short, they were a revolutionary way to convey news and information. Although no longer popular outside of drive-through banking, the pneumatic post, developed in 1865, created another way for letters to be delivered quickly between recipients. A pneumatic post utilizer’s underground pressurized air tubes to carry capsules from one area to another. Two important discoveries happened in the last decade of the 1800s: The telephone in 1890 and the radio in 1891. Both technologies are still in use today, although the modern versions are much more sophisticated than their predecessors. Telephone lines and radio signals enabled people to communicate across great distances instantaneously, something that mankind had never experienced before.
Social Media in the 20th Century Technology began to change very rapidly in the 20th Century. After the first super computers were created in the 1940s, scientists and engineers began to develop ways to create networks between those computers, and this would later lead to the birth of the Internet. The earliest forms of the Internet, such as CompuServe, were developed in the 1960s. Primitive forms of email were also developed during this time. By the 70s, networking technology had improved, and 1979′s UseNet allowed users to communicate through a virtual newsletter. By the 1980s, home computers were becoming more common and social media was becoming more sophisticated. Internet relay chats, or IRCs, were first used in 1988 and continued to be popular well into the 1990′s. The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today.
Social Media Today After the invention of blogging, social media began to explode in popularity. Sites like MySpace and LinkedIn gained prominence in the early 2000s, and sites like Photobucket and Flickr facilitated online photo sharing. YouTube came out in 2005, creating an entirely new way for people to communicate and share with each other across great distances. By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world. These sites remain some of the most popular social networks on the Internet. Other sites like Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare and Pinterest began popping up to fill specific social networking niches. Today, there is a tremendous variety of social networking sites, and many of them can be linked to allow cross-posting. This creates an environment where users can reach the maximum number of people without sacrificing the intimacy of person-to-person communication. We can only speculate about what the future of social networking may look in the next decade or even 100 years from now, but it seems clear that it will exist in some form for as long as humans are alive.
Examples of Social Media
LiveJournal
* LiveJournal started in 1999 and took a different approach to social networking. While Six Degrees allowed users to create a basically-static profile, LiveJournal was a social network built around constantly-updated blogs. LiveJournal encouraged its users to follow one another and to create groups and otherwise interact. It was really the precursor to the live updates we see in social networks currently.

World of Warcraft / MMORPGS * MMORPGS (Massively multiplayer online role-playing games) have become social networks in their own right. The most famous of these is World of Warcraft, where players interact both in the game world and on related forums and community sites. Social interaction within the games ranges from teams set up specifically for tactical reasons within the game to friendships to romances. MMORPGS became popular in the early 2000s, though there were other online role-playing and other games prior to that.
Friendster
* Friendster was really the first modern, general social network. Founded in 2002, Friendster is still a very active social network, with over 90 million registered users and 60+ million unique visitors each month. Most of Friendster’s traffic comes from Asia (90% of it). Its goal was to be a safer place to meet new people than in real-life, as well as being faster. Friendster was, in part, a new kind of dating site. Instead of matching complete strangers based on shared interests, it operated on the assumption that people with shared friends and acquaintances would have a better chance than those who had no shared connection.
Hi5
* Hi5 is another major social network, established in 2003 and currently boasting more than 60 million active members according to their own claims. Profile privacy works a bit differently on Hi5, where a user’s network consists of not only their own contacts, but also second (friends of friends) and third (friends of friends of friends) degree contacts. Users can set their profiles to be seen only by their network members or by Hi5 users in general. While Hi5 is not particularly popular in the U.S., it has a large user base in parts of Asia, Latin America and Central Africa.
LinkedIn
* LinkedIn was founded in 2003 and was one of the first mainstream social networks devoted to business. Originally, LinkedIn allowed users to post a profile (basically a resume) and to interact through private messaging. They also work on the assumption that you should personally know the people you connect with on the site.
MySpace
* MySpace was founded in 2003 and by 2006 had grown to be the most popular social network in the world. Originally MySpace allowed communication through private messages, public comments posted to a user’s profile, and bulletins sent out to all of your friends. Blogs are also a big part of MySpace profiles, with each member automatically getting a blog. In 2006 MySpace introduced MySpace IM, an instant messaging client that lets users chat with their friends.
Facebook
* Facebook started out as a Harvard-only social network back in 2004, it quickly expanded to other schools, then to high schools, businesses and eventually everyone (by 2006). In 2008 Facebook became the most popular social networking site, surpassing MySpace, and continues to grow. Facebook doesn’t allow the same kind of customization that MySpace does. Facebook does, however, allow users to post photos, videos and otherwise customize their profile content, if not the design. Facebook has added a number of features over the past few years, including instant messaging/chat and apps (and their developer platform). Users have a few different methods of communicating with one another. Private messaging is available as well as writing on another user’s wall. Wall posts are visible to that user’s friends, but usually not to the general public. Users can easily change their privacy settings to allow different users to see different parts of their profile, based on any existing relationships (the basic privacy settings are “only friends”, “friends of friends”, and “everyone”).

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