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Social Networks: Next Generation of Communication

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/world/americas/mexico-turns-to-twitter-and-facebook-for-information-and-survival.html?scp=2&sq=facebook&st=cse

The article explains how communication via Facebook and Twitter has become much more efficient than other means of communication such as news reports. Article comments that people of Mexico were aware of the dumping of dead bodies near Veracruz well before the news reporters and the police arrived at the scenery. How did they know? They were informed via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Information spreads almost instantaneously amongst the Mexican population to an extent that numbers of traffic accidents, as parents flooded the road, were caused because of two people in Veracruz messaging false rumors on Twitter that schools were under attack.

Social networks connect people that would otherwise be “unreachable.” Taking Facebook as an example, users are able to see friends of your friends and if the user-friend and friend-other friend connections are rather strong triadic closure is likely to take place. With the new connection, a whole new iteration of triadic closure is likely to take place and the process seems to continue until most of the population is linked together. Also, social networking tools allowed local bridges to form more easily since befriending is just a mouse click away. Such social networks allowed networking to take place more easily and thus accelerating the process of dispersing information amongst the population.

One of the aspects of the article that drew my attention was how the social network influences the general population. Mexicans are relying on social networking tools as a source of unbiased and quick information. The article also says “Many Mexicans now say that they trust Twitter more than local news outlets, and in some areas, parents and grandparents are being taught by their children how to get online — specifically so they can be safe.” Considering the fact that social networking tools are rather young in their development, it fascinates me how much impact they can have amongst the society.

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