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Endeavor is a common aspect of life in every society. The human race has in the past been involved in many endeavors aimed at improving its living standards. The same applies to the present human generation. Endeavor involves the use of effort in order to succeed. In most cases, a lot of research, whether formally or informally, has been employed. The online free dictionary describes endeavor as an earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something. It involves a purposeful undertaking that is industrious.
The very basic aspect of human life that humans have struggled from the beginning of time to improve is the aspect of social networking (Jackson,2003). Humans are the far more the most social living things in the planet earth. In order to achieve its objectives and ease its way of socializing the human has employed different aspects of communication in play.
A social network can be defined as an organization made up of individuals who are connected by a common interest (Freeman, 2004 ). The common interest that connects these people has some form of interdependency in association. This interdependency may include aspects such as monetary exchange, dislike, common policies, relationships, knowledge and beliefs among others.
An example of a social network diagram.
A representation of a social network is shown above. Each dot represents a "node" which can be viewed as persons or countries. Each node is interconnected with at least two or three other nodes. The element of social networking is similar whereby each individual is connected either by way of association or by communication to other people.
History of social networking
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The history of human social network dates back to the early times; these were the times when the basic human attribute was tool for survival. Throughout the evolution of man, it has always live in social groups as a family or a village. The best way of ensuring success in everything done by man is by ensuring the right channels of social living and communication (Jay 2007). Man employed the aspect of communication as a unifying factor. The early man lived harmoniously with those he could understand their language. The success in term of survival or any other life aspect does not necessarily lie in the man's' large brain but in the ability to socialize with others with keen to achieving a common interest (Wellman 1988).
When early man began walking on two legs its hand could not do anything very useful, it therefore started to create symbols and instrument cues as a way of communication. These symbols and cues were the earliest form of communication, which brought about the aspect of social networking. Man could communicate with fellow man by way of rudimentary methods. Messenger sending to deliver messages, drum beating and horn blowing were some of the methods employed by man. With the invention of fire also saw the use of smoke as a signal in the native tribes. It is to be remembered that some of the rudimentary methods have been in use for a very long time. In fact, some native Africans employed drum and smoke making until 1900s.
Man having realized that the best way to achieve development is to have proper aspect of social networking, began developing effective ways of socializing. Transport channels were the early forms of development. With the building of the macadam roads, improvement in socialization was realized. Animals were used to provide transport. It by far eased the struggle of message sending.
Advancement in communication led to the enhancement of social networking social networking. Having the right channels of communication in play improved the social network amongst human beings. Precursors of social networks in the late 1800s include Emile Durkheim and Ferdinand Tonnies. Tonnies argued that social groups can exist as personal and direct social ties that either link individuals who share values and belief or impersonal, formal, and instrumental social links(Manski,2000). .
The invention of the telephone saw a major boost in the social networking among the human beings. Man could communicate with fellow man miles away from each other thus easing the process of information transfer. It was by far (though among other elements) the major factor that contributed to the development of man(Abbate 1999). The civilization of the planet was brought about by having the right information and the ease with which the same was sent from one point to another. To present the most developed nations in the world are those who saw the importance of social networking. They developed the right aspects of communication in place allowing faster and efficient transfer of information among the nations.
In the 19th century, there was a precursor to the introduction of internet. With the invention of telegraph, more research was done on the efficiency and security of data transfer (Wellman 2001). Though the military spearheaded many projects that saw the introduction of networking of machines, its intentions that were purely militarily has been superseded. The concept of data communication-transmitting data between two different places, connected via some kind of electromagnetic medium, such as radio or an electrical wire- predate introduction of the first computers. Such communication systems were typically limited to point-to-point communication between two end devices. Telex machines can be considered also as the early precursors of this kind of communication.
With advancement in technology, it was paramount to devise new ways of communication that would allow efficient and faster data transfer over long distances. In the 1950's and 1960's development of mainframe computers started. With this major realization came the ability to communicate in point to point manner between mainframe computers and terminals. It led therefore to the ability to exchange files between devices that were invented then. In as much as the technology in place was more efficient than the alternative, the military found it inherently unsafe for their strategic use. This was because a physical link was necessary between devices in order to ensure transmission of data giving no alternative path for the communication in case of an enemy attack.
Early research was done following the success of point-to-point communication via mainframe computers. The research in itself focused on packet switching. Packet switched networks proved a worthy solution to the military in terms of safeguarding their data from enemies. However, this was not a fully viable solution forever. The need for more safe and efficient networks led to research in the 1960's such as the Mark I at NPL in the UK, ARPANET, CYCLADES and Merit Network (Thomas et.al. 2003). Tymnet and Telenet were among other developments realized in the late 1960's and 1970's. The aforementioned research developments led to serious networking breakthroughs whereby several separate networks could be joined together to form many networks comprising of other networks. Now, this was a major breakthrough since many routes of communication had been created. A block or an attack in one channel could not lead to paralysis of the entire communication system.
The late 20th century saw a major turning point in the aspects of social networking due to improvement in communication. The standardization of the internet protocol suites in the 1982 brought about the concept of worldwide-interconnected network called the internet. ARPANET, which was a major research, made many breakthroughs. It was expanded and in 1981 by the National science foundation(NSF) after developing Computer Science Network(CSNET)( Thomas et.al. 2003). The same organization provided access to super computer sites in the United States for research and educational organizations. All this time of the development of internet, man continued using other methods of communications to socialize. This was because the same was not allowed for civilian population to use. Internet was restricted to research labs and military activities. Telephones were the major form of communication in the United States and European countries. The telegraph and telex machines were widely in use. African countries also used telephones but it was not as much as a factor that contributed to social networking due to the fact it was not readily available. It is with no doubt that though telephones and other forms of earlier communication played a major role in communication at those times, the aspect of social networking using these methods did not achieve much success.
The major turning point in socialization of the human beings was with the commercialization of the internet. ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990 after the emergence of commercial internet service providers (Thomas et. al., 2003). The last restrictions in the internet usage were removed in the year 1995. It was finally allowed to be used by the civilian population. This was the major turning point of human social networking. There was a rush for the internet usage. Many opened cyber cafés in a warm and most striking welcome and appreciation it received.
Since its introduction, it has had a drastic impact in culture and commerce. The social networking aspect was driven further by the near instant communication by electronic mail, text based discussion forums and the World Wide Web. Man is able to socialize with fellow man almost instantly using the avenues that have been developed (Jay, 2007).
It is important to note that the internet; the latest best invention of man, is the best thing ever to happen to the social life on earth. The imagination or just a mere thought of a world without internet is unbearable. The decision to provide internet to the public in 1995 was a decision that with no doubt was the best. Had such decision not been made then the advancement that have been realized in terms of social aspects of life could not have been achieved. The fundamental aspect for development in humans is the ability for humans to interconnect in various ways. To share ideas is the very basic principle that leads to advancement. The advancement in all sectors of world economy, which has been seen in the last few decades, came because of man being able to socialize with fellow man and understand the personal standing of fellow man. The entire universe has been thrown into a state of unity as opposed to the last ten decades when war was the only solution to small misunderstandings. Social networking has brought this unity.
The possibility that the internet (or any other aspect of social invention by man) would have been kept for the military only would have brought about the social handicapping of the general world. We could have the military that is strong, efficient and much more controlling and a public that is devoid of basic avenues of social interaction, one that could view the military as the all knowing and godly. Transfer of information and sharing of ideas would be at its lowest forms. A society that lacks information; one that does not have adequate knowledge and still have no ability to seek or find the information from any other source is a society that will remain backward forever.
Social networking in the American public has led to the current unity of different states. This is because technology and invention in this area was core in the nation's development. One may wonder why most African countries have faced political instability and dictatorship. My subjective assessment of the fact is due to inadequate information available amongst the masses. The few people who get access to information remain with it. The proper channel of communication, which is the very basic principle of social networking, is devoid of proper structures. The recent development in the social networking industry, which was brought about by the internet, has however seen change happening in many nations all over the world. Man has used these avenues to pass his grievances. The recent uprising against prosecutorial governments in many countries including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria have been boosted by the ability of the concerned people to interconnect and communicate with each other. Social websites that are in place currently have enabled this achievement. These websites are increasing daily with everyday application of patents. For instance in the US the number of patent application that cover new technologies associated with social networking have been increasing. It is reported that the number of published applications has been growing at about 250% per year in a span of just five years. With over 2000 published applications, only about 100 of these have been issued with patents (Jay, 2007).
Number of US social network patent applications published per year and patents issued per year.
The many number of websites that have been developed have been driven by the need to pass information and to unite the whole world in to one harmonious society. The principle of social networking and the common interest that a social group ascribes to is the key aspect that is driving the harmonious living in the world. The fact that an American and a Russian can communicate over face book without ever meeting face to face, send data via e-mail and work in harmony over the internet is a clear indication of the advancement in social networking since the introduction of the internet. Internet was by far more the most critical turning point in the history of human socialization and economic development.
Some of the site that has seen this advancement in social networking includes face book, twitter, MySpace among others. The timeline below gives a clear indication of the various forms of social networking that have been developed by man.
Examples of popular internet services which contribute to social networking:
- 1995 Craiglist- classified advertisements
- 1996 Hotmail -free web-based e-mail
- 1997 Babel Fish-automatic translation
- 1999 Napster- peer-to-peer file sharing
- 2003 LinkedIn -business networking
- 2003 MySpace social networking site
- 2003 Skype Internet voice calls
- 2004 Facebook-social networking site
- 2005 You tube -video sharing
- 2005 Google earth virtual globe
- 2006 Twitter -micro blogging
The social Endeavour by man to improve mobile communication telecommunication cannot be left behind since it forms the very important aspect that has contributed to the growth in social networking across the world. The ability of these mobile phones to support data transfer and be connected to the internet has brought the world from the bigger view that previously was associated with into being a small global village.
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Social networking has not been a direct undertaking by man. It came due to inventions aimed at solving other problems. The development of the internet came about as a result need to achieve a secure network that was capable of transmitting large volumes of data. It is not just enough to focus on economic development without the social aspect of the population coming into play. Success or failures of a state or a government do depend on the networking amongst the population. If the masses are united by a common goal and the channels of networking and communication are available, then with no doubt the objectives of their desires will be achieved.
Commerce has improved significantly in the era in the recent past when social networking had taken its toll. The ability of man to use the social network in marketing or advertising his products and services has with no doubt been a boost in the commerce sector.
Without the relevant social networks in place, the world unity that is currently, being enjoyed could not have been achieved. The common goal that has allowed man to form organizations like the United Nations has contributed to global peace.
Considering the catastrophe that struck Haiti recently, where lives were lost due to the earthquake, the social networking aspect enabled folks to get information regarding to the misfortune thus sent Aid to the affected. Internet was used largely for donations that went along way in aiding the affected. The American society and the rest of the world were able to come into the rescue of Haiti. Everybody in the world was helping or expressing their desire to help. The same was also realized recently in Japan when it faced a major earthquake.
I believe that this field is the man's' most advanced Endeavour as compared to other man's practices like medicine. It has seen a tremendous growth in the recent past which would otherwise have not been achieve had it not been for the advancement in technology and the keen desire for people to communicate and understand each other.
Of all the man's endeavors, social networking plays a central role. Technology has improved so much and has eased the process of networking with other folks in the rest of the world. The main pillar is the internet. It is estimated that 22% of the earth's population surf the internet regularly with 90% of them using the social networking sites. The study conducted by Jupiter Research further says that at least 1.1 billion people have regular internet access.
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