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The Science Behind Social Networking And Why MySpace Lost To Facebook

Humans have always been very sociable creatures. Since the advent of time, humans have always relied on the the company and by extreme necessity social networks were created. They were a modus operandi to share experiences, needs, desires, ideas, and innovations. The concept of social networking is one that exists beyond the lives of mankind, and has strong roots in other species as well.


For centuries now, we have seen that social networks are most definitely familiar to those who study primates to every level of cultural development in humans. This is one of the reasons why understanding the science behind social networks is worthwhile. For this purpose, it is important to understand why Facebook, the juggernaut of social networking world, rose up from a dorm room at Harvard and was able to capture the interest of millions of people around the world and help with maintaining a stable relationship with everyone around the different corners of the world.


Facebook and other social media sites help connect you to friends of friends. Facebook was first created in 2005, by Mark Zuckerberg. Initially, Zuckerberg and his friends possessed “Face Book” which contained pictures of everyone who lived in their dorm. Expanding on this concept, Zuckerberg created a website to serve as a virtual “FaceBook”. In Facebook, friends are easily made by simply requesting someone’s friendship; the receiver must accept the friendship invitation. This concept was so new because the only other site that helped with this kind of communication was MySpace. According to Forbes contributor, Adam Hartung, “MySpace was targeted at the same audience, had robust capability, and was to market long before Facebook.  It generated enormous interest, received a lot of early press, created huge valuation when investors jumped in, and was undoubtedly not only an early internet success – but a seminal web site for the movement we now call social media.”


The reason why Facebook still managed to beat MySpace was because it allowed the people involved in this site control its progress, and realised that people would likely want to reveal their true identity on the site and be able to connect with family, and friends around the world, thus striving to maintain a global relationship and work within the principles of Triadic Closures. MySpace however, was unable to let the people involved to reveal their true identity because of which Triadic closures was not possible as we would never know the people who might have shared the interest but had no direct relation towards us and were perhaps separated by six degrees of separation.


Zuckerberg knew that what he innovated was something dynamic and thus went about the updates by realising the need for connecting people, and serving as a mean to complete and strive towards a Strong triadic closure. Even the spread of Facebook from Harvard to all over the world is because of spread of word, which was beneficial especially because not too much was at stake for the founders,


Facebook works on the concept that when you introduce yourself and interact with a ‘mutual’ friend, you would already be able to ‘screen’ the person after locating all the person’s interest and ideals on the person’s profile. If the information presented on one’s profile shows incompatibility with the person reading it, the reader will not and should not reach out to the person.

The concept of Facebook really makes sense to me when connecting it to this course because, We learned about the Triadic Closure Property.  If two people share a mutual friend on Facebook, they are very inclined to learn more about that person.  Having three nodes all have a positive edge validates the Triadic Closure Property. So that connecting friend allows a positive relationship to form between two people. Also if a person finds another person from a mutual friend that they do not like, if the mutual friend does not like them either they can form a relationship off of the share dislike between them.  This again solidifies and proves the Triadic Closure Property.



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September 2017