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The History of Social Networks and Their Classification

The combination of words “social network” was born in 1954 and had nothing in common with the Internet.

The person who coined the term was James Barnes: “social network” is a social structure, which includes individuals or groups linked by the same type of activity, common interests, friendships or relationships. It is therefore a kind of structure of familiar people, divided into different groups, where each person forms a group of classmates, colleagues or friends around him.

Year after year, this scientific concept has progressed and gained great popularity. The first growth was observed in North America and Eastern Europe. During the process of development of society, we have come to the era of information and communication, where social networks have gained great popularity.

The first computer social network appeared in 1971 and it was used by the military in the ARPA Net network.

1988 was a year of IRC (Internet Relay Chat), which gave the opportunity to talk online.

The main event was an appearance on the Internet, which Tim Berners-Lee made public in 1991.

There was a network named slassmates.com started in 1995. It was very popular and it became the year of a start of social networking development process on the internet. But still classmates.com is

one of the most popular social networks with nearly 50 million users.

In 2004, facebook.com appeared and became very popular all over the world. The concept of this network was a little different but it revolutionized the world of social networks. It now has over 700 million users.

In 2008, a discount service named Groupon appeared, which is not a real social network but uses similar principles to social networks and invites people to become part of the Groupon community.

Classification

There are many different types of social networks, so let’s take a look at some of them.

By type:

  • Clasmates.com (personal communication)
  • Linkedln (corporate communication)
  • Youtube video)
  • Last.fm (audio)
  • Flickr (pictures)
  • Groupon (shopping)
  • Reddit (news)
  • Forsquare (geolocation)
  • Tumblr (blogging)
  • Answers.com (answers and questions)
  • Delicious (bookmarks)
  • Second Life (virtual worlds)
  • Slashdot (thematic)

By availability:

  • Facebook (open)
  • Playboy U (private)
  • VK (mixed)

By region:

  • Hi5 (worldwide)
  • Qzone (country)
  • InterNations (worldwide)

The very first classification is the most interesting and it has a lot of different content for different groups of people and different purposes. Thus, each person has the opportunity to find a niche and find almost all existing topics. The most popular networks continue to grow.

The second type of classification indicates availability. There are three different types of current classification: open, private and mixed. Each network was created for a specific purpose and some networks have not been made public. And it is only because of their economic model that these networks are closed. But most of the networks are still public and can be used by anyone from any social group. It is not liked by many people due to its informative advertising. Mixed-type social networks are generally not as popular as public networks, since users simply do not like to cross barriers and prefer to abstain from such networks.

And the last type shows us the largest global networks that have created a kind of union between people from different countries, regardless of their culture and skin color. Their clones later appeared in different countries and regions. And now we can see many different types of networks that are tied to a city, a region or even a society and a political organization. This means that no matter who you are or where you are, you can still be part of any type of virtual community.

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