Social Networking: Latest Scourge or Old News?

The term "social networking" is being bandied about a lot these days, but it was actually first coined way back in the 1950s by author and professor J.A. Barnes, and it's a popular topic of study in the fields of sociology and social psychology. In the original sense, it refers to the ways that individuals or organizations connect to one another. A social network could be a family or household, the members of a club, or even a whole country.

A key element of the "network" is that individuals who don't know one another are connected through other people that they both know. In the 60s, a psychologist named Stanley Milgram postulated that any two typical U.S. citizens who aren't acquainted with each other can be connected through a chain of no more than six others. This led to the theory of "six degrees of separation" and subsequently a movie by the same name about a con man who, in the 1980s, convinced many people that he was the son of a famous actor. SunbeltBLOG: Social Networking: Latest Scourge or Old News?

Linked by shanmuga Wednesday, 17th May 2006 2:03AM