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Dynamic Social Networking Platforms

2012-06-23


In technology’s earliest forms, humans have developed primitive systems and tools to communicate and share information with each other. In recent times, however, these systems and tools have evolved to become complex yet powerful in connecting diverse groups of people all over the world. One system in particular has become the leading service in less than a decade in providing people the ability to control their information and develop connections. The system of Facebook has made advancement in the communications and information technology industry by establishing itself as a prominent figure that connects people through its simple yet dynamic social networking platform.
The use of Facebook as a social network is enhancing the way people communicate with each other through its multiple features. Users have the power to inform and share their ideas, thoughts, and questions to everyone in the forms of text and visual on the news feed feature. Users are simultaneously updated by their friends’ posts as the news feed updates itself every few minutes. In return for viewing these updates, users can respond to their friends’ posts as they act as a small-scale forum thread that is open to comments. As a result of this feature, users gain insight about the lives and thoughts of their “friends” (in other words, people these users do not usually communicate with in real life). Next to providing the option of status posts, Facebook also has discussion boards that are found in groups and interest pages in which users can join or “like.” The pages a user “likes” is displayed on their profile and notifies all their friends on the news feed (which serves as a clever way to enhance the potential of sharing common interests). Discussion boards on groups and interest pages are also provided as a way for users to share their thoughts and opinions in an in-depth manner. Due to the discussion boards on the pages being a public feature, almost anyone can read what one writes, thus encouraging the freedom of speech and press. Another form of communication the site provides is a real-time chat feature to its interface. Like any other instant-messaging software, Facebook Chat has recently combined messaging to its chat system in which conversations can be archived, thus giving users the power to hold and review information at a later time. While users have the ability to store their information, they also can send important information either directly or indirectly. Friends and family can be reminded of a user’s birthday and are intelligently encouraged by the site on the news feed to send a greeting as their mutual friends have sent that user a birthday greeting prior to the reminder. Next to receiving birthday reminders, users also have the ability to form events and send invitations. As there is an increasing reliance on the internet, the feature of events and invitations gives the user a direct and immediate way to indicate whether they can, maybe, or not attend an event in contrast to sending paper invitations via postal mail and waiting for days to weeks for responses. Facebook is also becoming the epicenter of communications as it links accounts from other sites and provides applications to phones and devices. While some places require registration into its own systems, softwares and sites such as AOL Instant Messenger and Huffington Post allow users to sign in with their Facebook account in which it saves time and the hassle of remembering multiple specific logins. Facebook is also giving users the power to become mobile on their phones and devices by providing applications to connect to its social network. The efficiency of Facebook to make its features readily available fits perfectly into the quick-paced society of today.
Facebook is connecting friends and family through its social network. In its first debut, the site was initially limited to students at Harvard (Facebook 2011). Over time, however, Facebook had expanded its membership beyond the university into other colleges in the Ivy League and eventually to professional businesses and high school networks (Facebook 2011). The expansion of its membership to other age groups combined with its rising popularity over the last seven years has led to an exponentially growing number of users and, as a result, an expansion of its platform. With the number of users at almost 700 million (Huffington Post 2011), it has become very probable for friends and family to search and find each other on the site. Classmates can add each other as a form of contact for school or to keep in touch after graduation. Family members from opposite parts of the globe can also search for their loved ones and update each other through a visual insight of what is going on in each others’ lives. As a way to encourage the connection between relatives, the family feature on the site has allowed users to identify and confirm their relatives into an extensive list of family members on their profiles. Facebook has opened these connections to not only allow users to find long-lost friends and loved ones but to also encourage them and their family, whether they are local or overseas, to keep in touch with each other and remain updated on what is going in their part of the globe.
The popular social networking site has not only integrated itself in the lives of many people as a communication tool but also as a marketing tool. Although the site is a privately-owned company, it has maintained itself to be free of charge by having sponsors. Beacon was a program that was once part of the site’s advertising system that sent data to Facebook as a way to identify a user’s interest which, in turn, would display the sites the user has visited on their profile. However, the use of Beacon was discontinued in 2009 due to privacy concerns in which the site has since then found other ways of sponsorship (Wired 2010). Marketing on Facebook has become dynamic as it has given users the capability to publicize themselves and their businesses on the site. In this form of marketing where there is a significant population of active users on the network, marketing on Facebook is revolutionizing the way businesses, companies, artists, and musicians can promote themselves to the public. Users have the capability to set up a page or an advertisement with a brief description and their products. A user or, in other words, a customer, can “like” their pages in which their activity will show up on their news feed and notify all their friends. These businesses are being promoted as the user acts as a digital billboard as they are sharing their “likes” to their friends.
The way people are communicating with each other is changing by the minute as today’s lifestyle is moving at a rapid pace and the urgency to rally a message in a short amount of time is becoming the norm. In today’s society, the importance of technology is evident in the reliance of people as it meets their demands. People now have the power to send a message with the touch of their fingers accommodated with the capability of being mobile almost anywhere in the world with the availability of Wi-Fi. Facebook has made its advancement in the communications and information technology industry by becoming the ultimate social networking tool.