The social web is growing at a phenomenal rate. It is an open global distributed data sharing network that links people, organizations, and concepts. The social web is defiantly reshaping the way that we live and interact with each other. There are several examples of the social web; however, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, E-Harmony and Blog. com sites are some of the most frequented sites out there today. Created in 2004, by 2007 Facebook was reported to have more than 21 million registered members generating 1. billion page views each day (Needham & Company, 2007). The site is tightly integrated into the daily media practices of its users: The typical user spends about 20 minutes a day on the site, and two-thirds of users log in at least once a day (Cassidy, 2006; Needham & Company, 2007). Capitalizing on its success among college students, Facebook launched a high school version in early September 2005. In 2006, the company introduced communities for commercial organizations; as of November 2006, almost 22,000 organizations had Facebook directories (Smith, 2006).

In 2006, Facebook was used at over 2,000 United States colleges and was the seventh most popular site on the World Wide Web with respect to total page views (Cassidy, 2006). Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes (Varagas, J, 2010). Journalist Jose Varagas of the New Yorker also reports that Facebook has taken off in a wild growing frezny.

As of June 2010, Just six years after Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg helped found Facebook in his dorm room as a way for Ivy League students to keep tabs on one another, the company has joined the ranks of the Web’s great superpowers. Microsoft made computers easy for everyone to use. Google helps us search out data. YouTube keeps us entertained. But Facebook has a huge advantage over those other sites: the emotional investment of its users.

Facebook makes us smile, shudder, squeeze into photographs so we can see ourselves online later, fret when no one responds to our witty remarks, snicker over who got fat after high school, pause during weddings to update our relationship status to Married or codify a breakup by setting our status back to Single. (Dan Flecther, Time Inc. 2010). Facebook Like in other data sharing network, to access friends and family through Facebook, the user must first create a profile, which is also known as a online or social identity. When you are creating this profile you ave the option to provide your real name and a screen name, which allows you to remain somewhat anonymous. Facebook also allows users to say”What is on their mind”. In a few sentences you can express yourself via your page and for all of your friends to see. Facebook allows you to control who see certain or all aspects of your page. A person is able to set their profile to public, allowing any and everyone to access their page or private. The private feature allows people to put a limit on what others can see, such as, your photo, your post, albums and even post to friends who are not friend of that particular person.

You can also upload photos to create albums for your viewers to see, you can share your pictures (download from another users site, have picture sent to your page or even be tagged in picture on another persons page). In addition, to finding friends, posting comments on another person’s page or site and sharing pictures you can also take advantage of a chat feature. The Facebook chat feature, allows you to communicate with a friend in real time, it is similar to Yahoo Instant Messenger Chat. This is also another fun way to interact with you friends and family.

Facebook has opened up the door ways for friends to find old friends create new friends, and stay in touch with love ones. Facebook provides a search engine features within the site that allows you to search for a friend by their name, email address or even narrow it done by the city and state the individual resides in. Another way Facebook allows us to stay in touch with friends in family is the “Do you know this person feature”. When a person is logged on to their profile and they access the homepage, there is a feature that says “Do you know this person”?

It appears to randomly show current users and users that you have friends in common with. So, if you happened to forget a name, but remember the face, this feature is a sure way to reconnect you. Twitter, founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 (launched publicly in July 2006), is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to post their latest updates. An update is limited by 140 characters and can be posted through three methods: web form, text message, or instant message.

As of September 2nd, 2010 Twitter now has over 145 Million Users, Almost 300,000 Apps. Due to Twitter’s micro-blogging ability is serves as an additional way to enhance social presence. Twitter (2009) is a multiplatform Web 2. 0, part social networking – part micro-blogging tool, freely accessibly on the Web (Stevens, 2008). Other popular Web 2. 0 micro-blogging tools include Jaiku, Tumblr, MySay, and Hictu, and Edmodo. Twitter, however, is one of the most popular of these micro-blogging tools (Java, Finin, Song, ; Teseng, 2007; McFedries, 2007).

It is well-established, has a large and growing participant base, interfaces well with other Web 2. 0 tools, and is easily accessible. According to the Twitter website, “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? (Twitter, 2009). ” As of June 2010, about 65 million tweets are posted each day, equaling about 750 tweets sent each second, according to Twitter.

Twitter is used by many different genres of people; whether it is a teen, an adult, the elderly or different places of business. However, with that being said, Twitter does not appear to create frenzy for the younger adult/teens world. According to a new report released Wednesday, only 8 percent of online teens have embraced Twitter, a notable low for a generation so passionate about technology. Think of the millions of text messages that teens send. Think of their endless hours on Facebook (Donna St. George, Washington Post, 2010)

It appears that teens and most young adults are more into the social aspect of it (social web features) all rather than sharing their thoughts and actions with the whole world. There is still some since of closeness through the family and friend type of togetherness on sites such as Facebook and MySpace. In the media, Twitter is taking on an increasingly prominent role in the media universe. Reporters and editors are tweeting and responding to others on the Twitter site and in a growing number of mobile applications.

They use it to find story ideas, develop sources, connect with local communities, network, and share and break news. The Democratic and Republican national conventions were Twittered by news outlets like C-SPAN and countless professional journalists who communicated with each other through the service and read some of the messages on air. (Laurie White, American Journalism Review, 2009). MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006 (Pete Cashmore, 2007). However, in June of 2010 Facebook was reported as the number one Social Networking site.

MySpace is still ranked at the number two Social Networking site. MySpace is very user friendly site. To become a MySpace user you only have to create a profile, which is simple and like most networking sites, it’s free! MySpace was once used as a means to stay in touch with others similar to Facebook; however since the big Facebook frenzy and the ability to quickly communicate with friends via Facebook, MySpace has turned more into a gamer world. A lot of MySpace users are now using MySpace to share the online computer gaming experience with friends and other gamers around the world.

Another big aspect of MySpace is the music world. MySpace Music is a different type of profiles that can be set up for musicians. These musicians change range from potential stars trying to make a name for them and trying to get on the music scene to already establish musicians who are a well known part of the music entertainment world. I have a friend who created music profile through MySpace. On the music profile, my friend was still able to create a profile, along with a bibliography. In addition, to these features my friend was able to upload their own music to this profile.

Unsigned musicians also have the ability to not only post their music but sell it through the site as well. Exposure of the musician is another great benefit of MySpace music. Weblogs or a blog is a type of website or parts of a website are used widely today in the social media. Whether you know it or not if you are taking some part in the social media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. ) you are a blogger. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual who maintains the blog by making regular entries. These entries can include graphics, photos, character entries or even descriptions of events (i. e. he Presidential Campaign or news updates). Some people even see blogs as a personal diary for the world to see (Blood, 2000). Outside of personal use through the Social Web, blogs or blogging is beginning to take off in the educational world. In our world, here at Ashford we can consider blogs to be our discussion questions. The class instructor creates an initial question for the post. From there, students are expected to post their response to the question and a response to the responses from the classmates. By doing so, the school is creating another means of communication through the online classroom settings.

Since blogs are used as a tool to inform others or disclose the individual’s thoughts about something, discussion boards are the perfect way to do so. Students are able to express their thoughts and be challenged (respectively) by other to keep the thought process going. Students can learn more by seeing their peers point of view in a way they may have never thought of. Weblogs are also a great source for the media. The media is putting out information regarding topics of the today’s world. People are able to respond with their opinions, which let the media know how people truly feel about the situation that is being addressed.

Through these different types of socializing on the Social Web individuals are able to connect with old friends and meet new friends. People can keep up with today’s world through the “know it” all of sites that are utilized by the media. More and more colleges today are using the Social Web as a way to keep their students informed, increase interaction and expand student’s minds. Another good thing about the Social Web is that it is almost accessible from anywhere. As long as you have a computer, access to Wi-Fi or cell phone that provides data software then you are ready to access the web!

The social web is full of entertainment. Whether it be playing a friendly competitive match of a card game, down to a drawn out game of chess. You are able to interact via the web with a familiar friend or make a new friend by playing with someone across the world. Although, there are a lot of good benefits to the Social Web, we still have to think about our privacy. I find it to be very striking that so many people use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter in a positive way as means to stay “connected”; however, at the same time, according to Paul Glister (Trust erodes as threats spread on social sites.

News ; Observer,B. 4. ), “Social sites also can be dangerous”. I’ve learned that social sites can also open doorways for users to expose information about themselves that would preferably be kept private and not be aware of it. It’s truly an eye opener when you think about the fact that all it takes is for someone to “hack” into your computer, know your password and then that individual will know everything about you. Where you stay, your checking account information and what you are doing when you’re on the internet.

There are a lot of resources out there today to help you to better protect yourself while you are on the internet such as, spyware, malware and virus detectors. However, there is still no way to be one hundred percent protected. Technology is growing at a phenomenal rate and there is no way around it. It is a must that we begin to educate ourselves and jump on board if we haven’t already done so. Things have changes so much and are continuing to change. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “What will I be doing in the next 5-10 years? Are we ready for the advancements that are soon to come? How will this impact our lives and the lives of our children? I am hoping that we will that we will see more good things come out of the Social Web and growth of technology.

References: Custin, R. , ; Barkacs, L.. (2010). Developing sustainable learning communities through blogging. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 4, 1-8. Retrieved October 30, 2010, from I IBN/INFORM GLOBAL Paul Gilster. (2010, October 6). Trust erodes as threats spread on social sites. News ; Observer,B. . Retrieved October 30, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. Mark, B. D. (Ed. ). (2010). Introduction to Computer Literacy. 13500 Evening Creek Drive North, Suite 600, San Diego, CA 92128: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Whittall, Z.. (2010, November). To tweet, or not to tweet? Quill ; Quire, 76(9), 14. Vargas, J. (2010). THE FACE OF FACEBOOK. New Yorker, 86(28), 54-63. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. http://www. pewinternet. org/Media-Mentions/2010/Few-teenagers-embracing-Twitter-report finds. aspx retrieved October 30, 2010.

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