The Progression of Social Networking
In little over a decade, social networking has become one of the worlds most widely used communication tools.
Today we have numerous social networks to choose from, all aiming for a certain niche in the market.
One of the first to appear was Faceparty (2000), which originated with the aim of getting people to meet through seeing each others pictures/profiles on the website. Some years ago Faceparty had a downturn and had to get-rid of some of its database, and began to charge a joining fee. Faceparty have since put the word out that there is a Faceparty password, enticing users to look for a password, which will give them free membership to the site. Faceparty is still going strong to this day, and still exploiting the same niche as it did at launch.
After the success of Faceparty, numerous social networks were created and I will look at these in more detail now.
MySpace was created in 2003 and is still one of the few websites from the beginning of this era that’s still going relatively strong. The company employs over a thousand people, although the workforce was cut by 30% in 2009. The website is primarily used as a tool to contact friends through, although its also been used extensively as a ‘sounding-board’ for bands and other musical artists to showcase their talents. The website has come in for criticism in the past for poor security features leading to lots of spamming on the site, although in recent months the website owners have done a lot to combat this.
The next major social network to go live was Facebook. I’m sure most people are aware of this website. The owner, Mark Zuckerberg originally called it ‘Facemash’, which was a small website that was originally only available to the people where he was studying, Harvard.
In 2004 Zuckerberg started to write code for a newer version of Facemash, called TheFacebook. This is the website, has slowly evolved into what we have all become accustomed to using, and 2009 it was announced as the market leader, followed by MySpace in a distant second.
Facebook is now used a as a tool to stay in contact with past and present friends, but is also a great way to meet new people, who the network feel may be of interest to you.
Although still not as popular as the two networks mentioned above, Bebo still holds a large percentage of the market. Bebo (Blog Early, Blog Often) is a kind of mash-up between Faceparty and MySpace. It takes the design elements of MySpace, as you are able to customise your page, whereas you can also easily stay in contact with friends just as you can with Facebook, but the usability of both Facebook and Bebo is also comparative.
One original aspect of Bebo is that it lets you subscribe to blogs. Meaning you are able to read your friends and foes blogs, giving you’re a great insight into their thoughts and feelings. And although some networks let you read other blogs, there’s no other social network focuses upon it as much as Bebo.
The newest social network (although I think its more relevant to name it an interest network) is bongal. This website went live in 2010 and seems to have found a new niche within the market. Bongal is aiming to connect people through their interests and hobbies, rather than whom they know from day-to-day life. The site will then provide people/groups of interest to the user through the information they have provided, although the site is constantly evolving and will always provide new data for the user. Bongal also seems to provide some information on the Faceparty password that was mentioned above.
Bongal is also the only British owned social networking site of those mentioned above, but it does have a membership that spans the globe, which is a great feat for a young site competing in such a saturated market.
To conclude, social networking is constantly evolving as has become one of the main communication tools we use in the Western world. It’s slowly becoming on a par with sending texts via mobile phone. This is because the user can now download apps for ‘smart-phones’ and communicate through their platforms instead, of paying for a standard text message.
Where will social networking go from here? Looking at the development over the previous decade, surely it can only develop into a bigger and better communication tool. Although, you can never predict what the Internet will conjure-up with next.
http://www.bongal.com – the new interests network
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