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What is Social Networking(SN)?

"I have 285 friends on MySpace. And, I know all of them. Well, mostly all of them. There's a few people I don't know, but, I don't know," one Austin girl said.

A website that builds communities on the Internet by linking the profiles of the participants. Users create profiles by completing online forms with text, pictures, music, videos or whatever the website allows.

An online social networking (SN) account, like a MySpace.com account may include features such as IM, email, blogs and threaded discussions, pictures.

They may offer differing levels of membership which grant different rights and privileges. They may be completely free to use.

The way it works is that you go to a site, and have a lot of options to browse and search other profiles. You can often post comments on other peoples' sites and create your own content like "fun" quizzes. A major part of SNing is to invite others into your network of friends. S/he with the most online friends is obviously the most popular.

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How Does It Make Money?

SN websites make money in a few ways.

  • Marketing - They gather statistics on how the 14-35 year olds search the web, what content they respond to, which pages get the most hits.

    Neopets® is the greatest Virtual Pet Site on the Internet. With your help, we have built a community of over 70 million virtual pet owners across the world! Neopets has many things to offer including over 160 games, trading, auctions, greetings, messaging, and much much more. Best of all, it's completely FREE!

  • Neopets studies the commercial habbits of our 7-12 year olds. They allow members to earn points (redeemable for virtual food and gadgets, for their neopetsTM) in return for completing surveys and watching commercials.
  • Sale of Ads. MySpace.com was recently sold for over 540 million dollars. It earned over $20,000,000 in ad revenue in 2005.
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The Good and The Bad

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Links to Articles

MySpace and Gaming
The Kids Have No Idea of Their Visibility Online
Big Brother is Reading Your Blog
Daily Show with John Stewert Video
Five reasons social networking doesn't work
Wikipedia Article on Social Networking

 

How to Make Social Network Sites Safer

1. DO NOT put personal info, like your address, real name, phone numbers, after school activities, friends' names, birthdays, easily identifiable locations on your MySpace account (and others like it.)

2. Set your Privacy Settings so that only invited members can see you.

3. EVERYONE is watching, reading and saving your info. You have NO PRIVACY ONLINE. (HS & College Admissions and Police search MySpace.)

4. Dont present yourself online in a way that can be easily misunderstood. (IE dont have a profile name of hottiexoxoxo)

5. Have a vague profile name that doesn't say much about you

6. Know everyone on your buddy list

7. Don't say or post anything about another person that you would not want to read about yourself.