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Facebook: Are Online Social Networks Getting Too Big?

A person comes into contact with many people throughout their life. Some of these people may become close friends and some may only exist in a person’s life as an acquaintance. Social networking sites like Facebook have become quite extensive creating an online social network that includes not not only a person’s close friends, but also their mere acquaintances or even people they may have never actually met before. Although in real life, your social network may include people you don’t know as well, when these people are added as a friends Facebook, they have access to quite a lot of personal information. More social networking apps are being developed that break down large online social networks into components, letting people share their more personal information with smaller groups through more intimate online social networking.

For example, the app FamilyLeaf connects a person with only their family members, allowing them to share information and photos with their family without having to worry about mere acquaintances seeing this more private information. This app cuts the bridges between a person’s family and the rest of their social network, isolating the family component and allowing information to be exclusively shared within a person’s family.

Another app, Path, takes a different approach: “Close friends are in; everyone else is out.” The app puts a cap on the number of people a user can connect with, creating a social network of only the users closest friends. This allows for more intimate social networking where the user shares information only with friends whom they have a strong link to.

A large social network online can be made more efficient and intimate by isolating specific components of the network or creating a network of only strong ties. This allows the personal information shared online to be shared with smaller groups of people that all have strong links to the user.




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