Although social networking sites are still in their infancy, they have certainly become a primary means of communication and connectivity for millions of consumers. While most Internet users have heard of the largest online social networks like Facebook and MySpace, thousands of smaller networks exist that connect individuals through specific user communities (e.g. educators, physicians, professors, etc.). Boyd and Ellison (2007) define social networking sites as:
web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.
While social networking sites serve as a form of entertainment for many users, these same networks, both large and small, can and do affect users’ professional profiles.
SixDegrees.com, created in 1997, was the first online network to meet Boyd and Ellison’s definition. SixDegrees members developed profiles, which could be designated public or private, to connect with friends or family who were also members. At its largest, SixDegrees.com had over one million members and one thousand employees. The company, which was sold to Youth Stream Media Networks in 2000, is no longer in operation.
Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, networks like SixDegrees.com regularly appeared on the Internet, some successfully developing loyal membership. When MySpace began in 2003, it was the first social network site to allow users to modify their own pages. Although initial MySpace users were teenagers, the site’s ...
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...H. L., Foulger, T. S., & Ewbank, A.D. (2008). Have you googled your teacher lately? Teachers’ use of social networks. Phi Delta Kappan, 89(9).
Helms, A. D. (2008, November 12th). Teachers disciplined for Facebook postings. CharlotteObserver.com. Retrieved from http://www.charlotteobserver.com/597/
Michels, S. (2008). Teachers' virtual lives conflict with classroom. ABC.com. May 6, 2008. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=4791295
MySpace. (2009). Tip: Don’t post anything that would embarrass you later. Retrieved from http://www.myspace.com/
Nielson (2008). Top 20 social network sites, November 2008. Retrieved from Nielson database.
Tallahassee.com. (2007, January 25th). Teacher fired over MySpace page. Tallahassee.com. Retrieved from http://tallahassee.com/legacy/special/blogs/2007/01/teacher-fired-over-myspace-page_25.html
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