Integrated Web Design: Social Networking — The Relationship between Humans and Computers is Coming of Age
Social Mapping via Web Sites
Surely you've been invited by someone to Friendster or Orkut, and if you haven't yet, believe me, it's going to happen soon. The premise of these sites relates to the "six degrees of separation" theory, in which it's been suggested that any two humans are connected by six or fewer other people in some way.
Social networks seek to map relationships and connect like-minded individuals to each other via each individual's social group. A friend initiates an invitation. That invite arrives via email, I click a link and am taken to the site in question. I fill out a form and agree that the invitation is in fact from my friend. As my network grows, I can ask a person I know to introduce me to a person they know that I'd like to know, and so on.
Social network web sites can focus on friendships, dating, or business relationships. Typically, a social network web site requires registration and offers a range of features from email to message boards and other social activities.
But not everyone is convinced that the social networking web site phase will hold its own. "Most SN sites are all about being sticky; they want you at their site all the time." Mullenweg adds, "When they're successful, they falter under the load, like Friendster. When they're not, it feels like an empty coffee shop."
At this time, there are thought to be well over 100 social networking sites on the Web. For a list of the majority of them, see "How Many Social Nets are Too Many?" While you're there, back on up to the main page. The site is The Social Software Weblog, and the site producers provide regular news related to all aspects of social networking.