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Social networking isn’t a new phenomenon. It wasn’t invented in the twentyfirst century. Every Elks Lodge, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, Church, Sewing Circle, Book Club, etc. that ever existed afforded an opportunity for social networking.
The members of any social networking group identify with and help other members of their group. They provide information to one another that is mutually beneficial.
They share when something of interest or something of concern is happening that is of interest to or a threat to their particular social network and the members collectively pursue the interest or ward off the threat.
Many times social networking groups are work related. For example you have very likely heard of the way that law enforcement personnel stick together and ‘watch each other’s backs’ so to speak. This social networking group is often referred to as ‘the long blue line’.
Another work related social networking group is long distance truck drivers. By using their CB radios, they stay in contact with one another and warn each other of road hazards. If one of them has a problem, others go to his or her aid.
Social networks have been around probably since the beginning of time in some form or another but the advent of the personal computer certainly put a new spin on social networking. Web 2.0 has really kicked social networking up several notches.
No longer is social networking limited to people who work at the same jobs or who live in the same communities. Social networking is now world wide and easily accessible to everyone who has access to a computer and an internet connection.
It all started with the advent of instant messaging technology but it has grown far beyond that limited ability. With instant messaging it was necessary to let others see your email address and so you lost much of your anonymity. In today’s Web 2.0 world, social networking and complete anonymity are both possible.
The online dating sites are a very good example of this compatibility. People can register and pay for memberships on online dating sites and conduct an entire relationship for many months without knowing other members real name, email address or the name of the city in which they live. All communication is conducted on the online dating website itself thus affording both social networking and anonymity.