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EVTEK University of Applied Sciences
Institute of Technology
Degree Programme in Media Engineering




                     Seongtaek Kwon

                     Social Networking




                                Media Seminar Project 18 November 2006

                                   Instructor: Erkki Rämö, Project
Manager
                                                                              2




EVTEK University of Applied Sciences                               ABSTRACT
Institute of Technology



 Author                 Seongtaek Kwon
 Title                  Social Networking
 Number of Pages        15

 Date                   18th November 2006


 Degree Programme       Media Engineering
 Supervisor             Erkki Rämö, Principal Lecturer

 Social networking industry is rapidly growing. Not only entrepreneurs, small
 companies run it but the biggest companies are opening and acquiring it. Social
 networking can be seen with business, programming, interface, and graphical
 perspectives.

 Personal working experience and proper online news articles have been quoted for
 this report. Social networking industry has several leaders but a number of others
 are also successful. Social networking sites are being evolved and developed in
 terms of features and functions.

 Flash based social networking seems to be next generation of it. For further study
 it would be useful to research next generation of social networking as well as
 purposes of it.

 Keywords            social networking, MySpace, online community, personal profile
Contents


1 INTRODUCTION                                                                        3

2 SOCIAL NETWORKING FEATURES                                                          4

2.1 Registration                                                                      4

2.2 Profile Page                                                                      5


3 SOCIAL NETWORKING BUSINESS                                                          6

3.1 Can It Be Business Model?                                                         6
                                                                                3



  3.1.1 Profile Featuring Site                                                             6
  3.1.2 Video Hosting Site                                                                 7
  3.1.3 Photo Hosting Site                                                                 7
  3.1.4 Friend Adder                                                                       7
  3.1.5 Social Networking Start-ups                                                        8

3.2 Social Networking Economy                                                              9
   3.2.1 Acquisition                                                                       9
   3.2.2 Social Networking Derivative                                                      9
   3.2.3 Online Traffic                                                                   10


4 SIDE EFFECTS                                                                           10
4.1 Sexual Predator                                                                       10

4.2 Personal Information Exposure                                                         11


5 CONCLUSION                                                                             11

REFERENCES                                                                               12

1 Introduction

Social networking is website that has its principle people have friends and friends of
friends in online network environment. People register social networking website to
establish their own profiles that contain personal information, photo album as basic
functions. Social networking website has a variety of forms of communication and
information share. Commonly its user gets own profile with friends list and user can add
people on same social networking website as friends. Normal it has blogs, forum,
profile, bulletin, and additionally video or music uploads on advanced websites. [1]


First social networking websites did not succeed because of technical problems. But
recent social networking websites that have been existing for a few years suddenly
became big issues now days. Because of tremendous number of users of social
networking websites it suddenly became a place for marketer. Also social networking
website is opened for everyone on the web and because of that marketer can register and
take advantage of its features easily. However social networking website is not only
existing positively but negative facts do exist at the same time. For instance scammers
and predators are using social networking site for their evil purposes.
                                                                                  4



2 Social Networking Features


Social networking website has its usual features that help user to have interactivity with
any one including people on the other side of the earth. When one registers social
networking website registered one gets personal profile page that contains photo,
friends list, blog, comment or testimonial as usual and possibly media section that
contains video or music. [1]



2.1 Registration


Registration is essential for use of social networking site. Usual social networking sites
do not have any fees user to pay for use. Some of dating sites require credit card info as
they are meant to be particularly for adult ages as well as there can be some fees to be
paid for use. Except for those adult sites mentioned above common social networking
sites do no have any system for identifying person when he or she registers. Registration
form usually has sections for name, birth day, password, username, email, country, and
human verification code called as captha.


Common social networking websites use email verification method that sends email
with verification code registering user to put to be verified. Some of them even do not
have verification system at all. After you are registered you get access to site you sent
registration form via internet. Most of websites ask user to upload main photo and let
user to invite his friends via its emailing system that extracts email addresses from
desired email accounts. In process of logging into social networking site for a first time
there is process user to put personal information. One of the representatives of social
networking website, Myspace, registration interface is as shown on figure 1.
                                                                                   5




Figure 1. MySpace registration interface. [MySpace, 2006]



2.2 Profile Page


Personal profile page is cyber place that contains main photo that is used for avatar on
social networking site. And blog, comment, forum, and its functions that enable
communication between registered users. Recently video uploads website has become
common online destination and some of social networking websites have integrated it as
one part of features. Comment or testimonial on each profile page is also prominent way
social networking website to become busier. User comments or writes testimonial on
profile page of friend for short greeting or talking about general life story if they are
well known friends. Recently comment, however, is in a way abused for spamming by
amount of marketers registered as user of social networking website.
                                                                                    6



3 Social Networking Business



3.1 Can It Be Business Model?


Social networking website has been know as online place for teenager or dating purpose
that are all for entertainment. Social networking, however, is not only place for
entertainment but it has been grown so that a lot of people use also it became the busiest
destination on the web. There are social networking derivatives that are websites for
certain purposes targeting social networking users.


        3.1.1 Profile Featuring Site

Social networking user who wishes to change profile layout searches for ready-made
template. Profile featuring site is it that its targeted user is social networking user and
which helps people to re-design and decorate profile as seen on figure 2.


Usually profile featuring site is made for MySpace profile since it has the more value
for the registered users than any of its kind. MySpace profile is HTML and CSS enabled
but JAVA blocked environment. Profile featuring site has either ready made template or
layout creator which user can upload back ground image and choose colour and size of
text or table.




Figure 2. Read-made layout [PimpMyspace]
                                                                                  7



       3.1.2 Video Hosting Site

Video hosting site is where online user uploads video files in any video extensions and
share. YouTube is representative of video hosting site that has been sold at 1.6 billion
dollars to Google incorporation. It uses web 2.0 features that user can do things on the
web without extra devices or programs. Myspace once blocked YouTube because
Myspace users used a lot so it became profitable to YouTube. Myspace, however,
revoked it after users loudly protested. [3]


       3.1.3 Photo Hosting Site

Photo hosting site is successfully generating revenue out of advertising banner on the
webpage. Social networking website for instance Myspace users upload images and
photos to Photobucket and use them by HTML code that appears in code box below
photo uploaded. Also Photobucket and such site help social networking thwart
pornography by monitoring millions of photos themselves. Because social networking
website can block any site without warning and social networking is almost only aimed
destination for photo hosting site. [4]


       3.1.4 Friend Adder

There are a few friend-adder makers targeting MySpace advertisers or musicians to sell.
Not only because MySpace has the most registered users but because it has musician
profile service MySpace has been a target of start-up in social networking industry.
Friend adder is program or bot that adds searched users. Commonly friend adder
program has user searching criteria field that you can get list of desired or targeted users
on MySpace. By using friend adder you may add, message, or comment people. A
number of musicians, advertisers, and marketers are using it for promotion. Despite
MySpace says “Do whatever we do not care” it does not let advertisers to use it as
marketing platform. Friend adder program used account on MySpace may gets blocked
by MySpace. First friend adder maker, however, succeeded having millions of friends
as figure 3 shows it.
                                                                                  8




Figure 3. Profile of bot-user that has a lot of friends on Myspace. [Friendbot]


       3.1.5 Social Networking Start-ups

Past a few years social networking has been rapidly growing which yet does not seem to
have reached peak level. Not only the most popular site MySpace but few others are
acquired or being wooed to be sold at millions of dollars. The online companies have
been launching brand new social networking websites to be successful.


Smaller organizations or even some of entrepreneurs have opened or are opening new
social networking websites so called “social networking start-up”. They tend to make
sites to be targeting niche market. Websites are MySpace-like services which target
certain group such as Muslim, fishing, adult, children, and whichever it is feasible.


The start-ups have two choices to commence social networking website running. First
one is to build up social networking script from the scratch. Another one is to buy
ready-made script available and found on the web. Most popular and advanced script
makers are PhpFox and Dzoic. The ready-scripts prices vary 300 to 500 euros
                                                                               9



depending on what kinds of option is included. One of the options is branding-free
which removes copyright text of script maker. Without option removing text is illegal
activity. [5]



3.2 Social Networking Economy


        3.2.1 Acquisition

Social networking has not only been online destination for teens, twenties, marketers, or
scammers. The successful services have been acquired or in talks to be sold. MySpace
has been sold at 580 million dollars by News Corporation of Rupert Murdoch in July
2005. Rupert Murdoch is, however, making waves after announcing that MySpace
could be sold for 6 billion dollars which is more than 10 times bigger value than News
Corp. originally paid for. Rupert Murdoch also predicted that MySpace will be worth 10
to 20 billion dollars in 3 years. [6]


The most popular social networking website, Bebo, in United Kingdom has rejected 552
million dollars acquisition offering from British Telecom. Bebo thought that it deserves
more than asked price and demanded 1 billion for the company. Bebo is quickly
growing site and has been evaluated that it has not peaked yet. [7]


22 years old, previously Harvard student, Mr. Zuckerberg has recently reject offers from
2 well-known companies Yahoo and Viacom to sell his social networking site Facebook.
Despite offers would make him several hundreds million dollars he said that “We‟re
focused on building the company for the long term,” [8]


        3.2.2 Social Networking Derivative

Social networking representative, MySpace, is the most desired destination on the web
today. Social networking is creating its own economic ecosystem which is similar
phenomenon as giant sites, eBay and Google, did. Louis Ramos, a fresh university
student, is one of hundreds who runs MySpace user helping sites. MySpace users who
                                                                                  1
                                                                                  0


want customized desired looking profile pages simply visit MySpace-helping sites to
feature their profiles. Louis Ramos said that he has made more than 200.000 dollars
since last June by running his 2 MySpace-helping sites. [9]


       3.2.3 Online Traffic

As particular social networking sites took off in past a few years its representative
MySpace has become the most visited online place. Its traffic increased more after
acquisition unexpectedly 21.6 million unique users to 24.2 in September 2005 few
months after acquired. MySpace US traffic was 51,441,000 in May 2006 which was as
big as one-third of whole internet population in US as shown on table 1. [10]



Table 1: Total internet population value [Comscore.com, 2006]

                      Selected Social Networking Properties by Unique Visitors


                                             May 2006


                       Total U.S. – Home, Work and University Internet Users


                               Source: comScore Media Metrix
                                                                  May-06

                              Property                              (000)
                      Total Internet Population                   172,120
                          MYSPACE.COM                              51,441
                       Classmates.com Sites                        14,792
                         FACEBOOK.COM                              14,069
                          YOUTUBE.COM                              12,669
                            MSN Spaces                              9,566
                           XANGA.COM                                7,146
                           FLICKR.COM                               5,163
                             Yahoo! 360°                            4,936
                       LIVEJOURNAL.COM                              3,904
                       MYYEARBOOK.COM                               3,048




4 Side Effects


4.1 Sexual Predator
                                                                                 1
                                                                                 1


Since social networking site has been place with freedom where teens can do what they
want online it became abused place of predator. In fact number of men has been
arrested for suspected sexual predators on MySpace. The predators abuse it to tell to
young girls that they are teenagers as well and try to approach teens. Even though teens
do not necessarily talk straight to predator teens upload their personal information and
photos which show sceneries of place teens live. Social networking site is meant to be
place where people make friends, upload photos, write personal interests, and
information and it makes predators to be approaching teens to abuse easier. [11]


4.2 Personal Information Exposure

It has become routine of internet users that people write emails, blogs, posting photos
and personal information on the web. However people do not realize how much risky it
can be. When people leave information on the web place abusers and hackers are
surfing and reading it to abuse. As it has become one of the biggest side effects of social
networking that teens should be aware of leaving any kind of information on the web.
Also some social networking marketers are using copying personal photos and
information to make up fake profiles to be shown as real person to advertise. [12]

5 Conclusion

First generation of social networking failed due to technical setback that sites were not
capable of handing increasing traffic. Recent social networking sites, however, are still
taking off and number of sites got millions of registered users. The representative of
social networking site, MySpace, became the busiest online destination which has twice
Google traffic. It did not even need a decade to reach level MySpace and other
successful sites are. Internet users visit and use it as a routine today.


The social networking sites suddenly became new advertising generation as marketers
aggressively use it. Around social networking sites especially MySpace there are a
number of spin-offs targeting users of MySpace to help featuring personal profiles.
Small companies are also contributing on this field as well. Social networking is not
taking off alone but along with its derivatives.


The biggest and well-known companies woo social networking sites. Google launched
own social networking site Orkut this year 2006. Yahoo has Yahoo360 but still tries to
acquire another successful site at 1 billion dollars. Bebo has already been asked several
                                                                                1
                                                                                2


times to be sold. Not only the biggest social networking sites but small ones are
consistently sold online by entrepreneurs.


However when many people are using and involved there are side effects. Online
destination is not exceptional. Online method makes abusers to be comfortable being at
home to be surfing on it. Teenagers are using social networking a lot. However there are
no clear ways to avoid side effects in social networking system yet. Teens do not have
good decisions and do not realize how dangerous how they behave online. But kids
security technology growth rate seems to be slower than growth rate of social
networking industry. It has become successful business item in short time. Proper
methods for preventing few side effects it has would be developed in near future. Also
social networking will be evolved to be more productive place than now it is place for
fun.



References

1            Nancy W. Schools and online social networking [online]. EducationWorld.
             URL: http://www.education-world.com/a_issues/issues/issues423.shtml.
             12 April 2006. Accessed 20 November 2006.

2            Nancy E. The “Myspace phenomenon” [online]. Galeschools.
             URL: http://galeschools.com/article_archive/2006/03/myspace.htm.
             March 2006. Accessed 20 November 2006.

3            Ware R. How Myspace is antisocial [online]. Technology Review.
             URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=
             17328&ch=infotech. 18 Aug 2006. Accessed 20 November 2006.

4            Julia A. Internet photo site helps Myspace thwart porn [online].
             URL: http://pic.photobucket.com/press/05222006-wallstreetjournal.pdf.
             16 May 2006. Accessed 20 November 2006.

5            Dzoic. Social networking script [online].
             URL: http://www.dzoic.com. 2006.
             Accessed 20 November 2006.

6            Pete C. MySpace Worth $6 Billion, YouTube Copyright Fund is $200M
             [online]. Mashable.
                                                                          1
                                                                          3


           URL: http://mashable.com/2006/11/14/myspace-worth-6-billion-youtube-
           copyright-fund-is-200m/. 14 November 2006. Accessed 20 November
           2006.

7          Pete C. Bebo Turns Down £300M [online]. Mashable.
           URL: http://mashable.com/2006/07/11/bebo-turns-down-%C2%A3300m/.
           11 July 2006. Accessed 20 November 2006.

8          Saul H. Yahoo Woos A Social Networking Site [online]. NYTimes.
           URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/technology/22facebook.html
           ?ei=5088&emc=rss&en=09f3d5e70aa0f977&ex=1316577600&partner=rs
           snyt. 22 September 2006. Accessed 20 November 2006.

9          Rachel R. The MySpace Economy [online]. Forbes.
           URL: http://www.forbes.com/home/digitalentertainment/2006/04/07
           /myspace-google-murdoch-cx_rr_0410myspace.html. 4 October 2006.
           Accessed 20 November 2006.

10         Steve R. MySpace growing even faster since acquisition [online].
           BusinessWeek Online.
           URL: http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/dealflow/archives/2005/
           11/myspace_growing.html. 14 November 2005. Accessed 20 November
           2006.

11         Susanna S. „Predator‟s Playground‟? [online]. MSNBC.
           URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11065951/site/newsweek/. 27 Jan
           2006. Accessed 20 November 2006.

12         Unwitting Exposure: Does Posting Personal Information Online Mean
           Giving Up Privacy? [online]. Informit.
           URL: http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=663314&rl=1.
           3 November 2006. Accessed 1 December 2006.

Figure 1   MySpace registration interface [online]. 2006.
           URL: http://myspace.com. Accessed 20 November 2006.

Figure 2   One of ready-made templates for profile [online]. 2006.
           URL: http://pimpmyspace.org. Accessed 20 November 2006.

Figure 3   Friend adder bot used profile on MySpace [online]. 2006.
           URL: http://friendbot.com. Accessed 20 November 2006.

Table 1    Selected Social Networking Properties by Unique Visitors [online]. May
           2006. URL: http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=906.
           Accessed 20 November 2006