What is the role of online social networks?

Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on the role of online social networks. The notion of modern communication roots back to the invention of the telegraph and television, yet the extreme impact which this modern medium has on our lives is implausible and unmatched. The urge to stay connected with friends, family and even the unknown world is unquenchable and voracious. The list of social networking sites goes on and on, with major sites like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and Orkut, etc. This raises many questions like why what and how these sites are becoming a central part of our life and why we are becoming more and more involved in this craze of being updated and keep updating?

The emergence of Social Media

Social networking’ has become a vague term that requires some explicit explanation or even a new implicit definition. These social networks are mainly based on Web 2.0. According to O’Reilly (2007: 17-37), Web 2.0 stands for websites which are created to:

(i) Rely heavily on the utilization of large groups which are not manipulated by providers of content

(ii) Gather and merge substance from other sources

(iii) Strongly bring together users and substance/content

It should be noted that social interfaces and networking have brought new meaning to the societal acceptance of the internet through its method of changing its usage to put together progressively more flawless connections for unmatched shared presence and networks both online and offline. This means the internet’s function has totally and permanently changed in comparison to ‘its original function as a haven for largely anonymous or pseudonymous identities forming sui generis social networks’ (Ess 2011)

Modern Medium of Communication

The communication mediums of the past have failed to provide such vast access to constant communication: we can connect globally with whoever we want. This has further truncated the concept of the global village to small machines with the help of the internet. Now every mobile, laptop/computer, and whatnot come with the facility of the internet to gain global access to information and communication. Most importantly, social networks have brought people closer. In the past, a person abroad was a person lost forever. Now we can talk to them, see them, and be connected with them in many ways.