Chapter 40. Not by Accident: Social Networking

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A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Herb Simon

Social media is a catchall term for all the different types of online applications and sites that let people engage in more dynamic, personal interactions with one another. And there are a lot of people doing it (social networking, that is). Even animals are getting in on the action. Don’t believe me? Just check out Romeo, a cat with hundreds of followers who’s been raising money for charitable works ($3,500 in case you’re wondering).[396]

IBM estimates that by 2012, the number of unique monthly visitors to online social networking sites will surpass 800 million.[397] Nielsen Online reported that social networks and blogs have already surpassed email in global popularity and are growing at a rate that’s more than three times as fast as the Internet’s overall growth (1 million new blogs[398] are posted every day!).

So what is it? Besides a heavy use of abbreviations for typed communications, such as LOL (laughing out loud) and a new hip vocabulary that includes “tweets” and “diggs,” the impact and possibilities of the connectedness enabled by social media networks and applications are simply inspiring. Once you emerge from the terminology fog, in very basic terms, social networking creates ways for individuals with something in common to come together online and interact. ...

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