Position paper on the future of social networking
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Social networking mediated by web sites is a relatively new phenomenon and as with all technological innovations there continues to be a period of both technical and social adjustment to fit the services in with people’s behaviours, and for people to adjust their practices in the light of the affordances provided by the technology. Social networking benefits strongly from large scale availability. Users gain greater benefit from social networking services when more of their friends are using them.This applies in social terms, but also in eLearning and professional networks. The network effect provides one explanation for the popularity of internet based social networking sites (SNS) because the number of connections between people which can be maintained by using them is greatly increased in comparison to the networks available before the internet. The ability of users to determine how much they trust information available to them from contacts within their social network is important in almost all modes of use. As sources of information on a range of topics from academic to shopping advice, the level of trust which a user can put in other nodes is a key aspect of the utility of the system.