Not everyone knows that the concept of “social network” appeared back in 1954 and had nothing to do with the Internet, and the studies about this phenomenon began in the 30s of the last century. The concept was introduced by sociologist James Barnes: “social network” – is a social structure consisting of a group of nodes that are social objects (people or organisations) and links between them (social relationships). Speaking in a simpler language – this is a certain group of familiar people, where the person himself is the centre, and his friends are the branches. Between all members of the network there are two-way or one-way connections. For example, it could be a group of classmates, in which a certain Jack is the centre, and Bill and Catherine are his acquaintances (branches).
Gradually, the scientific concept became popular, first in developed capitalist countries, then in Eastern Europe. As the society developed, we came to an informational age in which a lot of types of communication were created, which led to a jump in the development of social networks, and now this scientific concept is used everywhere.
The first social network using computer technology became an e-mail technology in 1971, which was used by the military in ARPA Net. Then, in 1988, the Finnish student Yarko Oikarinen invented the technology “IRC” (English Internet Relay Chat – relayed Internet chat), which allowed to communicate in real time.
A landmark event was the invention of the Internet, which became public in 1991, thanks to the British scientist Tim Berners-Lee.
In 1995, Randy Conrad created Classmates.com – the first social network in the modern sense. The concept turned out to be in huge demand, and from this year the rapid development of social networks on the Internet begins. Today this network still remains one of the most popular in the world and has more than 50 million users.
In 2004, Facebook appears, which in a few years has become the world’s most popular social network. It uses the same mechanism of communication, with a slightly different concept, which leads to a revolution in this area. The number of active users in the middle of 2011 is more than 700 million.
In September 2005, Tim O’Reilly makes an ideological coup, introducing the concept of “Web 2.0” in his article “Tim O’Reilly – What Is Web 2.0”, which describes the modern Internet. One of the central parts of the new concept is occupied by social networks.
In 2008, the Groupon project appears – a service of collective discounts, which, on the one hand, is based on the principle of social networks (call your friends and get a general discount), and on the other hand uses social connections very superficially (only for purchases). Service connects communication and business, which with confidence can be called a new level of development of social networks on the Internet, which combines online and off-line worlds.