History of Social Networking

A social network is characterized by a social structure based on individuals or institutions called “nodes,” operated by some specialized forms of interdependency, for example, kinship, friendship, financial transactions, aversion, sexual relationships, or commonality of beliefs, knowledge or esteem.

Exploring a brief history of social network – an analysis

Pioneers of social networks during the late 1800s are Émile Durkheim and Ferdinand Tönnies. Tönnies held that social groups could exist as ‘personal and direct social ties’ that would either liaise with individuals sharing values and beliefs or formal, uncongenial, and effective social links.

Social Networking

Durkheim espoused a non-individualistic interpretation of social factors maintaining that social phenomena arose when interacting individuals signified a reality that could be no longer considered in terms of the traits of individual performers. He made a distinction between a conventional society, a sort of ‘mechanical cohesion’ that exists as long as individual differences are ignored, and the modern society, as an expression of “organic unification”,  that shapes out of mutual assistance among individuals with distinctive outlook  on life having roles of  their own as unique persons.

After a brief pause in early years of the twentieth century, three major norms in social networking evolved. During the thirties, J.L. Moreno introduced the methodical recording and understanding of social interaction in small groups, particularly groups in class or workplace, whereas a Harvard based group supervised by W. Lloyd Warner and Elton Mayo probed into interpersonal relations in operation.

Social network analysis evolved over the course of the ‘kinship’ studies of Elizabeth Bott in England during the 1950s and the 1950s60s urbanization studies of the University of Manchester group of social scientists, focusing around Max Gluckman, and later J. Clyde Mitchell exploring community networks based in southern Africa, India and the United Kingdom.

Concomitantly, British anthropologist S.F. Nadel codified a theory of social structure that was influential in later network analysis. During 1960s70s, an increasing number of scholars endeavored to link different tracks and traditions. A dominant group was found centered around Harrison White and his students at Harvard University: Bonnie Erickson, Harriet Friedmann, Ivan Chase, Mark Granovetter, Nancy Howell, Joel Levine, Nicholas Mullins, John Padgett, Michael Schwartz and Barry Wellman.

Important in the early groups were Charles Tilly and Stanley Milgram, the former focused on networks in political sociology and social movements, while the latter developed the “six degrees of separation” thesis. Mark Granovetter and Barry Wellman are one of the former students of White who had elicited and publicized social network analysis.

In the 1970s, a ‘substantively-oriented University of Toronto sociology group’ emerged, based on early students of Harrison White: S.D. Berkowitz, Harriet Friedmann, Nancy Leslie Howard, Nancy Howell, Lorne Tepperman and Barry Wellman. The group also included the noted modeler and game theorist Anatol Rapoport. So far as relates the theory, it presented critic, ‘methodological individualism and group-based analyses’, debating that considering the world as a set of social networks could offer increased analytic force.

History of Facebook

A social networking website, Facebook is privately operated and owned by Facebook, Inc. The site has been functional since September 2006; anyone over 13 having a valid e-mail address can be registered as a Facebook user. The members with Login rights can add friends to the site and correspond with them via text messages, and sometimes update their personal profiles to suggest friends about themselves.

Moreover, members can join networks structured by workplace, school, or college. The name of website originates from the common name of books a university administration would give to students at the commencement of the academic year in the United States with a view of helping students to get to know each other in a socially befitting manner.


It was with the blessings of Mark Zuckerberg who founded Facebook in collaboration with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes while he was himself studying at Harvard University.

The registration with the site was formerly restricted to the founding members at Harvard only, but was later extended to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University as well. Later the membership expanded spontaneously to potentially accommodate any university student, then high school students, and at length, anyone aging 13 or beyond. At present the Facebook harbors over 400 million functional users worldwide.

The pioneering idealization of Facebook was inspired from a product introduced by Zuckerberg’s prep school Phillips Exeter Academy, which for years had been publishing and delivering a printed handbook of all students and members of faculty, could be unofficially declared the then “face book”.

From the onset Facebook has been facing some charges. A number of times it has been blocked in different countries such as, China, Vietnam, Syria, and Iran. Quite frequently it has been banned at work places to prevent employees from wasting time indulging with the service.

In addition to others, there has also been argument on “Privacy” that was compromised on a number of times. Facebook had also to settle a lawsuit regarding claims over intellectual property, particularly source code. The website has also been entangled in differences over the sale of fans and friends.

A study titled Compete.com, dated January 2009, has ranked Facebook as the most accessed / visited social network during a month by worldwide active users around the globe after MySpace. Entertainment Weekly ranks it in its end-of-the-decade ‘best-of’ list, pronouncing, ‘Had Facebook not existed, how would we “stalk our exes”, remember our dear ones’ birthdays, pester our friends, and play an exciting game of Scrabulous?’

Recently, there have been reports about Facebook suggesting an initial public offering — “issue equity shares as stock to investors”. Zuckerberg, however, has emphasized that it will not be held for a couple of more years, as the company does not need additional capital any more. Some analysts have also concerns that the Facebook IPO could specifically be a weak one.

History of YouTube

YouTube was collectively founded by early employees of PayPal, namely Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. Hurley had studied design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, while Chen and Karim were students of computer science and class-fellows at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

YouTube started functioning as a small enterprise to be funded for technology startup, in the beginning from an investment of USD: 11.5 million granted by Sequoia Capital during the years 2005 – 2006. The early bases of YouTube were installed above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, California.


www.youtube.com, which is the domain name, was launched no net on February 14, 2005, while the website was further developed in the subsequent months. The pioneering YouTube video entitled ‘Me at the zoo’ broadcasted founder Jawed Karim at San Diego Zoo. The video was uploaded on April 23, 2005. It can be accessed on Youtube even todate.

In May 2005, YouTube offered the public a beta test of the site, six months prior to the official launch of the website in November 2005. The site experience a rapid growth, and by July 2006 the company disclosed that more than 65,000 new videos were allowed to be uploaded a day, the site used to witness some 100 million video views per day.

As per data released by a market research company, comScore, YouTube has been a leading provider of online video in the United States, having a market share of about 43 percent and over six billion videos watched or accessed by January 2009.

It is being speculated that every second hundreds of videos keep uploading round the clock, of which about ¾th of the whole video material is uploaded from outside the United States. Moving with this pace, by the year 2007 YouTube had covered bandwidth to a tune of the size of the entire Internet in the year 2000.

By March 2008, the costs incurred on YouTube’s bandwidth were estimated to be approximately USD: 1 million per day. YouTube is ranked by Alexa as the FOURTH MOST VISITED WEBSITE on the Internet, after Google, Yahoo! and Facebook.

In 2006, Google Inc. issued the statement that it had purchased YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock, and as such the deal was to be finalized on November 13, 2006. However, Google does not provide for the exact figures of YouTube’s running expances, and the revenues generated by YouTube’s in 2007 were declared as “not material” while going through monetary regulation.

November 2008 witnessed YouTube reach an agreement with MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment and CBS, permitting different cyber enterprises to upload full-length movies and television episodes on their sites, attended by advertisements sections, US viewers would call ‘Shows’.

The provision of Shows was required to allow competition with websites such as Hulu, that featured contents from Fox, NBC, and Disney. By November 2009, YouTube broadcasted a version of “Shows” accessible to UK viewers, allowing 4000 full length shows from over 60 members.

Google: A Short History

It was unbelievable to see that two young graduate students from Stanford University became famous for developing the world’s most fastest and reliable search engine. Those two students were Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They had initially disagreed with each other on most things during their first meeting. However their friendship did not end because of the disagreement but in fact they collaborated a year later on a project called BackRub.

From Backrub to Google

BackRub was the ancestor of Google that ran for over a year on the servers of Stanford University before it was closed down because it was been using too much bandwidth for the university to handle. It did not make Larry and Sergey to end the project.


The two friends changed the name of the search engine to Google in an effort to continue the operation of the search engine.

The name basically originated from a play on a mathematical term called “googol”. This was a number represented by numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. The name was perfect for what Larry and Sergey had in their minds as they wanted a search engine with the ability to organize unlimited quantity of information on the internet.

Google’s First Office: Susan’s Garage

Larry and Sergey needed to find funds to support the costs of buying and running their own servers because they had lost the use of Stanford’s servers. Luck was on their side and lucky for the whole world, a white knight came to their rescue. The co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Andy Bechtolsheim presented them a check for $100,000 to an entity which did not exist yet.

The two friends had quickly setup a shop in the garage of Susan Wojcicki who was the sister-in-law of Sergey Brin. The garage was located at 232 Santa Margarita – Menlo Park. They filed for incorporation in California in September 1998. Soon they opened a bank account in the new company’s name and deposited Andy’s check. Craig Silverstein was their first employee who was their fellow Computer Science graduate student at Stanford University. The success story started and by December, Google was named by PC Magazine as one of the Top 100 Web Sites for 1998.

Moving Into Googleplex

Google’s success started and within a short time of only one year, it had become one of the fastest-growing Silicon Valley of the 20th century. More employees were hired by them including a company dog and a chief for nearly 40 employees. A year later, Google won the Webby Awards; they forged a partnership with Yahoo, launched Adwords service and Google toolbar. It was hailed as the world’s largest search engine when it had hit the billion-URL index.

In the coming few years, the search engine index of Google grew to 3 billion, many features were launched like image and news and many Google products like Google Appliance and Froogle were offered. They expanded globally by releasing Google in 26 languages and built offices outside the US.

Google moved its entire operation to the new “Googleplex” later in March 2004. It was their new headquarters located at Mountain View in California. This gave a campus like environment to more than 800 employees of Google.


The success continues

Google has come a long way from the garage office and the crude mechanism of BackRub. They are best known for its “Do No Evil” slogan and are well-respected among industry insiders. Having nearly strength of thousand employees under their wing, Google continues to develop and improve how people experience the Internet. It doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon but seems to grow.

A Short History of Email

The history of Email is much older than the Internet. It was actually never invented but evolved from very simple beginnings. Email messages were not sent but left behind a lot like leaving a note in someone’s desk, the message would be left behind in a location that would be easily seen by the user when logged in.

Similar to leaving a note

The MAILBOX was probably the first email system of this type and it was first used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965. Another early program called SNDMSG sent messages on the same computer. Therefore before the arrival of Internet, email messaging could only be done with the same computer.

Once the Internet was developed, there was a problem of making sure the message was sent to the right person. While computers were able to recognize and “talk” to each other but identifying the exact person to receive the email message was much more complicated.


Nice Hack

Addressing the email message was invented by Ray Tomlinson in 1972. He worked for Bolt Beranek and Newman as an ARPANET contractor like many other Internet inventors. Tomlinson chose the @ symbol from the computer keyboard to denote sending messages from one computer to another. Since then for any Internet user, addressing the email was as simple as nominating name-of-the-user@name-of-the-computer. The “nice hack” described by Internet pioneer Jon Postel lasts till this day.

Additional features

The additional features of email like sorting and labeling emails in folders came much later. Larry Roberts invented some email folders for his boss so he could sort his mail, a big advance. In 1975, John Vital developed some software to organize email. Email had really taken off by 1976 and commercial packages were available for users.

Offline readers

Connecting to the Internet was costly in early times and connection charges were costing lots of dollars a minute. It mattered to be able to prepare a reply without being connected to a telephone and then get on the network to send it. Aside from the costs, problems such as keyboard functions such as delete keys and backspace keys did not work well and lack of the “wrap around” text feature on the screen annoyed email users. Offline readers were of a lot of help.

The concept of offline readers allowed users to store their email in their personal computers, read them and then prepare their replies without being connected to the network. This setup was much similar to using an email client like Microsoft Outlook today.


Standard email protocols

Because the features of email progressed from basic to sophisticated, standard protocols had to be developed, especially for use in offline readers. One of the two standards was SMTP or Simple Message Transfer Protocol, it was the first important email protocol used. Although it is still vulnerable to worms and virus attacks, the development of a stronger standard still continues today.

Another standard protocol is called POP or Post Office Protocol, it was an important standard protocol that allowed different email systems to work with each other. Both SMTP and POP were important configurations for email clients such as the Microsoft Outlook to download email from the server and to send email through the server using a desktop program.