Social network service



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Social networks for social good


Several websites are beginning to tap into the power of the social networking model for social good. Such models may be highly successful for connecting otherwise fragmented industries and small organizations without the resources to reach a broader audience with interested and passionate users. Users benefit by interacting with a like minded community and finding a channel for their energy and giving. Examples include SixDegrees.org (Kevin Bacon).

Typical structure of a social networking service

Basics


In general, social networking services, such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo, allow users to create a profile for themselves. Users can upload a picture of themselves and can often be "friends" with other users. In most social networking services, both users must confirm that they are friends before they are linked. For example, if Alice lists Bob as a friend, then Bob would have to approve Alice's friend request before they are listed as friends. Some social networking sites have a "favorites" feature that does not need approval from the other user. Social networks usually have privacy controls that allows the user to choose who can view their profile or contact them, etc.

Additional features


Some social networks have additional features, such as the ability to create groups that share common interests or affiliations, upload videos, and hold discussions in forums. Geosocial networking co-opts internet mapping services to organize user participation around geographic features and their attributes.

Business model


Few social networks currently charge money for membership. In part, this may be because social networking is a relatively new service, and the value of using them has not been firmly established in customers' minds. Companies such as MySpace and Facebook sell online advertising on their site. Hence, they are seeking large memberships, and charging for membership would be counter productive. Some believe that the deeper information that the sites have on each user will allow much better targeted advertising than any other site can currently provide. Sites are also seeking other ways to make money, such as by creating an online marketplace (Facebook's Marketplace) or by selling professional information and social connections to businesses: such as LinkedIn.

Social networks operate under an autonomous business model, in which a social network's members serve dual roles as both the suppliers and the consumers of content. This is in contrast to a traditional business model, where the suppliers and consumers are distinct agents. Revenue is typically gained in the autonomous business model via advertisements, but subscription-based revenue is possible when membership and content levels are sufficiently high.


Privacy issues


On large social networking services, there have been growing concerns about users giving out too much personal information and the threat of sexual predators. Users of these services need to be aware of data theft or viruses. However, large services, such as MySpace, often work with law enforcement to try to prevent such incidents.

In addition, there is a perceived privacy threat in relation to placing too much personal information in the hands of large corporations or governmental bodies, allowing a profile to be produced on an individual's behavior on which decisions, detrimental to an individual, may be taken.

Furthermore, there is an issue over the control of data - information having been altered or removed by the user may in fact be retained and/or passed to 3rd parties. This danger was highlighted when the controversial social networking site Quechup harvested e-mail addresses from users' e-mail accounts for use in a spamming operation.

Investigations


Social network services are increasingly being used in legal and criminal investigations. Information posted on sites such as MySpace and Facebook, has been used by police, probation, and university officials to prosecute users of said sites. In some situations, content posted on MySpace has been used in court to determine an appropriate sentence based on a defendant's attitude.

Facebook is increasingly being used by school administrations and law enforcement agencies as a source of evidence against student users. The site, the number one online destination for college students, allows users to create profile pages with personal details. These pages can be viewed by other registered users from the same school which often include resident assistants and campus police who have signed-up for the service.





Name

Description/Focus

Registered Users

Registration

Advogato

Free and open source software developers

11,000

Open

Annobii

Books

Unknown

Open

aSmallWorld

European jet set and social elite

150,000

Invite-only

Baboo

General, Popular in Europe

12,500,000

Open to people 18 and over

Bebo

General, Popular in UK, Ireland, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

40,000,000

Open to people 13 and over

Black Planet

African-Americans

16,000,000

Open

Broadcaster.com

Video sharing and webcam chat

 

 

Buzznet

Video sharing and webcam chat

26,000,000

Open

Cake Financial

Investing

Unknown

Open

Capazoo

General (blogs, photos, music, videos)

Unknown

Open

CarDomain

Car Enthusiasts

1,600,000

Open

Care2

Green living and social activism

8,123,058

Open

Classmates.com

School, College, Work, and the military

40,000,000

Open

Consumating

"Consumeetings"

21,000

Open

CouchSurfing

Hospitality

402,000

Open

Cyworld

Young South Koreans

21,200,000

Open

Dandelife

Collective narratives or "shared biographies"

Unknown

Open

Dodgeball

Mobile location-based service

Unknown

Open

DontStayIn

Clubbing (primarily UK)

333,000

Open

Experience Project

Life Expereinces

Unknown

Open

Facebook

General, Popular in Canada, UK and USA

58,000,000

Open to people 13 and older

Faceparty

British teens and young adults

5,900,000

Open to people 16 and older

Flickr

Photo sharing

4,000,000

Open

Flixster

Movies

36,000,000

Open

Fotki

Phot Sharing

1,000,000

Open

Fotolog

Photoblogging

12,695,007

Open

Friends Reunited

School, College, Work, sports and streets

19,000,000

Open

Friendster

General

50,000,000

Open

Frühstückstreff

General

11,600

Open

Gaia Online

Anime and Games

93,000,000

Open

Gather

Articles, Pictures, Video Sharing, Group Discussions

450,000

Open

Geni.com

Genealogy

750,000

Open

Grono.net

Poland

1,350,000

Invite-Only

GuildCafe

Games

Unknown

Open

Habbo

General

82,000,000

Open

hi5

General

50,000,000

Open

Hospitality Club

Hospitality

328,629

Open

Hyves

Dutch

5,000,000

Open

imeem

Music, Video, Photo, Blog

16,000,000

Open

IRC-Galleria

Finland

400,000

Open

iWiW

Hungary

3,100,000

Invite Only

Jaiku

General

Unknown

Open

Joga Bonito

Soccer

Unknown

Open

LibraryThing

Books

214,425

Open

LinkedIn

Business

16,000,000

Open

LiveJournal

Blogging

12,900,000

Open

LunarStorm

Sweden

1,200,000

Open

MEETin

General

72,000

Open

Meetup.com

General

2,000,000

Open

MiGente.com

Latinos

3,600,000

Open

MindViz

Profiles, Photo/Video sharing, Music

145,000

Open

Mixi

Japan

9,830,000

Invite-Only

MOG

Music

Unknown

Open

Multiply

Relationships

7,500,000

Open

My Opera Community

General

1,001,798

Open

MyChurch

Chuches

70,306

Open

MySpace

General

217,000,000

Open

myYearbook

General

950,000

Open

Netlog

General (was Facebox)

28,000,000

Open

NewNotes.net

General

Unknown

Open

Nexopia

Canada

1,158,531

Open

OkCupid

Networking/Dating

800,000

Open

orkut

General

67,000,000

Open

OUTeverywhere

Gay

Unknown

Open

Passado

General

4,700,000

 

Passportstamp

Travel

1,200

Open

Plaxo

Business

15,000,000

Open

Playahead

General

530,000

Open

Playtxt

Mobile social network

70,000

Open

Pownce

General

Unknown

Invite only

ProfileHeaven

General

100,000

Open

RateItAll

General

Unknown

Open

Reunion.com

General

28,000,000

Open

Ryze

Business

250,000

Open

Sconex

American high schools

500,000

Open

Searchles

Social search and networking

Unknown

Open

Sermo

Physicians

40,000

Open to MD's in USA

Shelfari

Books

Unknown

Open

Soundpedia

Music

3,500,000

Open

Sportsvite

Recreational Sports

18,000

Open

Stickam

Video Streaming and chat

1,305,051

Open

Student.com

Colleges

800,000

Open

StudiVZ

University Students

4,000,000

Open

Tagged.com

General

30,000,000

Open

TakingITGlobal

Social Action

145,000

Open

TravBuddy.com

Travel

760,000

Open

Travellerspoint

Travel

105,000

Open

tribe.net

General

602,876

Open

Twitter

Micro-blogging

Unknown

Open

Vox

Blogging

Unknown

Open

WAYN

Travel/Lifestyle

8,000,000

Open - 18 or older

WebBiographies

Cenealoegy

Unknown

Open

Windows Live Spaces

Blogging (was MSN Spaces)

40,000,000

Open

Woophy

Travel/Photography/Photo sharing

23,000

Open

Xanga

Blogging

40,000,000

Open

XING

Business

4,000,000

Open

Yahoo! 360°

Linked to Yahoo! ID's

Unknown

Open to 18 or older

Yahoo! Mash

Yahoo! New SNS

Unknown

Invite only while in beta

Zooomr

Universal Photo Sharing

Unknown

Open


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