At its most basic, social networking isn’t definitively anything high tech and it most certainly isn’t anything new.
All the term really refers to is the existence of little groups within a larger society that are connected by nodes and come together in various ways to communicate with each other.
When technically defined it sounds almost complicated but in reality it’s quite simple, though social scientists are able to break it down in ways that are much more complex.
Understanding Social Networking
To simplify the concept of social networking and to make it clear, social scientists who study society through social networks use maps and diagrams to easily identify how various groups are connected. These visual aids often involve little more than a scattered array of dots that are connected to each other by lines.
The lines, or the nodes as they are technically called, show which dots—representing various groups—are interacting with each other. The end result looks like a less than attractive connect the dots picture, but is informative nonetheless.
Using Social Networking To Find New Trends
By studying social networking, researchers are able to determine a lot of things that are often useful in a historical perspective, but can also be useful in many other ways. Some of those ways are more immediate, revealing information that is relevant to present day societies.
What was once little more than a metaphor as to how social groups interact is now considered a legitimate science, and a way to effectively analyze groups of people.
Historically speaking, this type of analysis has come in very handy for anthropologists. Over the last hundred years, the time in which the idea of mapping out such networks has existed, the tools have helped trace social developments and, on a whole, different ways of life that would have existed long before our time.
In short, the idea of such networks has given anthropologists a more effective way of viewing and communicating ideas about the groups they research.
Social Networks Are The Easiest Way To Predict The Next Big Thing Online
As for present day scenarios, social networks can be studied and broken down in ways that can help scientists and other researchers track and predict things that are of more immediate importance, even affiliates can use it to see upcoming trends online. Disease, for instance, is something that tends to travel throughout a society in an unpredictable and uncontrollable fashion.
By being able to view how people are connected to each other though, the spread of disease is much more predictable than ever before.
Because of this, the tools that are used for tracking the social interaction between groups are able to help predict how things like those diseases will spread, or what product or service is about to become popular online. Through that, calculations can be made that will let people know how quickly it will spread, where it will spread to, and how bad it might get in any given period of time.
Most people in modern day understand social networking to be something that takes place on the internet, not something to do with social science. What many don’t realize is that it really is the same thing, only a online social network is much more easily tracked. Still, the basic function of a social network is similar on the internet and out in the real world.