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Social Media

Internet and Social Media have changed the lives of millions of people. The transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, was characterized by the emergence of applications aimed at sharing contents on the net. In the last years of 1990 the first contents-sharing applications made their appearance on the web: who does not remember, for example, Napster (program for sharing music online) that has been so successful in his short life. Napster was one of the first experiments of multimedia content sharing on the internet according to the peer to peer concept (network system between users). Unfortunately, the contents (copyrighted music) that were exchanged by users through it, caused the application to go under investigation and then finally closed in 2001 for copyright issues.

The colsing of Napster was followed by a great disappointment by the world's Internet users, who already showed interest and appreciation on the online content sharing.

In addition to programs for the peer-to-peer exchange of data (like Kazaa, eMule), those same years marked the appearance of Wikipedia (2001), perhaps the largest encyclopedic book available for free on the internet, which was already featuring what I would define as a precursor of all social activity on the web: Wikipedia is built on the basis of content placed on the internet by its users. Wikipedia is in fact a open-source free encyclopedia, whose rights holders will allow free modification and placement of content. Each of us can, in fact, access to Wikipedia contents and enrich a given topic with information and / or results of studies and research related to our own experience.


Later in 2003, the nineteen year old Mark Zuckerberg launched a program called Facemash while attending college at Harvard. It was an experiment that led to a 450 members subscription and more than 22,000 photos displayed already the first 4 hours of program service on the network. On the basis of this experiment, a year later went into service one of the applications that has in fact changed the lives of a billion people on the planet: Facebook.
Facebook is a revolution in the way we conduct our daily activities with those around us and with those who are thousands of miles away from us. With it we discover every day new people, share moments of our daily lives, memories, feelings, opinions and emotions, as well as commenting about the news of the day or a world-wide event. We find the old friends or distant relatives. We encounter the person of our life, or together with he/she, we share our happiness.
It is estimated that 140,3 Billions are the total number of connections of friendship on Facebook. An impressive number, but it marks an important fact: 140.3 fiendships per Facebook user is a number that is close to that of R.Dunbar (estimated between 148 and 150), which represents the proportion of stable relationships that our brain can manage at the same time. Translated into plain English, this means that the online social experience of Facebook is comparable to a real social experience, with users that behave as in real life when it comes to establishing relationships or contacting friends.


During the first decade of the 2000s we witness the appearance of other important applications of social media, not secondary to Facebook for their importance or penetration among Internet users.

In 2002, the Ludicorp, Canadian development company, developed an idea based on a image sharing program called Flickr. Subsequently, in 2005, Flickr was acquired by Yahoo! and its server are transferred from Canada to the United States. Although conceptually similar to other social media because of the sharing of material (mainly photography and video), Flickr was initially born as a space where to place your mages before being posted on blogs and other sites. Subsequently, the community has evolved as a virtual community with its own structure of thematic groups and forums, counting 51 million users to date.


Also in 2005, makes its appearance another application destined to leave its mark as "giant" the web: YouTube.
The first video uploaded to YouTube had a duration of 19 seconds and is owned by Chad Hurley, founder and CEO of the company, as well as the first registered user on the network. YouTube is an application that uses Adobe Flash Video technology to play back video content shared by users. With its growth, YouTube has become one of the pillars of social media currently on the web, with a traffic of users equal to 490 million monthly unique users and 92 billion monthly contacts. Mind-boggling figures indeed, but they are justified by a very assiduous linking: think that only Twitter post 400 tweets per minute that refer to video placed on YouTube. It means that from the beginning of reading this article, at least 1500-2000 video on YouTube have been mentioned on Twitter. This factor is one of many examples of social media statistics that instructs us about the interactive potential of social media and that helps us to better understand the meaning of sharing the contents on Web 2.0.


Reference has been made to another important application of social media: Twitter.
Twitter is the brainchild of Jack Dorsey of a service that would allow an individual to communicate with a small number of people through text messages. In fact, in its structure, Twitter reflects very much the idea of text messaging used by mobile phones, sms precisely, with text strings of up to 140 characters sent in the form of Twitts. Given the nature of his messages short and simple, you do not define a Twitter client as a traditional type of social media (such as Facebook, for instance), but is classified as microblogging, where the conversations take place in real time and can be broken down by gategories or groups. Unlike Facebook and other social media, Twitter creates a connection between followers (users who follow the post to other users or groups) and Followed (users who are followed). If we decide to follow a user, this receives the tweets that appear between your notifications in reverse chronological order. This also includes multimedia content such as photos or links to video (read above - YouTube). Messages can be labeled by the use of Hashtags (#) which allows the hyperlink to all messages containing the same label hashtag. To date, Twitter has 223 million users, with an average of 250 million tweets per day.


Not all social networks are born for social-entertainment purpose. Back in 2003, on the internet born an application called LinkedIN with the aim of creating a social network specifically for professionals and business to business contacts. The beginnings of the activities of LinkedIN see it very popular in the United States by the boundaries of which comes out soon settling on the 30 million users in 2009, reaching the 100 million users in 2011 - up to its 200 million users in January 2013. Today its users are for the 56% outside of the U.S., with Brazil counting the highest number of subscribers, while the highest interest comes from European Countries (Holland, Italy and France are the main with over 22 million users). As for the rest of the social networks, LinkedIN has the main objective of generating contacts among users, which are called "connections". From here the multiple objectives of the site ranging from establishing contact among users who are looking for job, to contact B2B between members of companies and professionals working in different fields, to employers who can conduct research and testing on the profiles of potential candidates before hiring staff.


We close this brief overview on major social networks pointing out one of the youngest: Google+.
The network began in 2001, presenting important new features compared to the other older and famous. For example, the sharing of multimedia content more interactive through Hangouts where users can follow comments exchanging multimedia content in real time to chat with webcam with audio-video connections.
The contacts are arranged in circles (circlets), which in turn are categorized and with different access to content or to personal data, thus enabling a higher level of privacy than in other social networks. Another highlight are the ideas (sparks) where the user can simply generate feeds directly into a box by inserting the subject of his interest, generating automatically a stream of content that will be shared by his contacts.
Despite its young age, Google said in December 2012 it reached 500 million registered users, of which 135 Mllion are active users.

Over time, a list of social networks has lengthened with the presence of other successful apps: Instagram, Pinterest, Tagged, Badoo, My Life and many others. All with their own unique features, as well as with their dedicated consumers - who, for one reason or another, reward with their participation in the network the idea of the genius (or group of genes) that has been able to read the minds of Internet users , managing to interpretate their need for interaction with the world and transform it into a powerful means of communication.

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