Social networking: Communication revolution or evolution?



Social networks and the need to communicate are universal human conditions. A general assumption is that communication technologies help to increase and strengthen social ties. The Internet provides many social networking opportunities. But how do social networking sites affect individual relationships? Do people use social networking sites to expand their personal networks, to find people who have had similar experiences, to discuss a common hobby, for the potential of offline dating? Or, do people spend time on networking sites to deepen their existing personal networks and stay connected to old friends or distant family? What is the nature of the communications that transpire on social networking sites? Is it personal, emotional, private, and important; or trivial, informal, and public? We examined the literature on social networking sites and conducted our own studies of how students on American college campuses engage in social networking. © 2008 Alcatel-Lucent.