Social Networking

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Social Networking

Social Networking

Over the last few years, online social networking communities have become global phenomena. This paper describes two social networks Facebook and LinkedIn outlining their value delivery process.


During the late 1990s and early 2000s, most of the communication was through e-mail, instant messaging and cell phones. Nowadays, most college students are using a host of communication technologies such as blogs, video and photo messages, and other technologies to discover new friends and to keep in touch with them (Stutzman, 2006). A social networking community combines all these and newer communication technologies, and provides an opportunity to contribute one's opinions, interests and skills to the largest creative work ever built by mankind: the Internet (Post, 2007).

The core value proposition of any social networking community is connecting and communication with people (Karp, 2007). Using new technologies, these communities have made possible new ways of meeting people, checking on loved ones, spreading ideas, all from the comfort of one's home or work computer. Initially, social networking communities were a teenage phenomenon. Now, it is a part of all segments of the society. There are social networking communities for people varying from eight-year-olds to doctors and lawyers, to the aged (Post, 2007).

There are over 400 online social networking communities, each differing from the other in terms of profession, age range, culture and country. These communities could provide services for either business or personal networking. Most social network communities allow for richly-detailed personal profiles of the users. The data ranges from mild (favorite movies) to potentially invasive (political views) interests. This data serves as a snapshot for other users of the social network community. The user initially connects to people known to him either from work or from school. Based on similar interests, activities or communities, more people can be included in the user's network. The activities on a social network combine all the connectivity of e-mail, snail mail, instant messages, phone calls, and even conversations at the local coffeehouse (Post, 2007).

Two popular social networks are discussed next, along with the difference in their value delivery. One falls under the personal networking category, while the other under professional networking.


Two students of Harvard class founded Facebook ( in February 2004. Membership was initially open to Harvard students only. Later, it opened to various universities with education accounts. By mid-2005, Facebook opened doors to highschool students. However, invites were required from existing users of Facebook, for new users to join the network (Boyd, 2007). As a result, students tend to invite friends in the same age group. This ensured that the users of Facebook were primarily college students. Facebook became the `cool' thing that college students did. Now, it includes networks for different geographic regions and various schools, colleges and organizations around the world. As of November 2007, the membership count in Facebook exceeded 57 million users. Around 85% of the college students in the US use Facebook. The average time spent by a user in Facebook is 19 ...
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