Homework Assignment_Online Social Networks

Online social networks is the topic of this week. First I will summarize the articles assigned this week and afterwards I will take Facebook and Google+ as my two examples to show their features and challenges respectively and at the end make a short comparison.

The first article, Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship, was written by Danah M. Boyd and Nicole B. Ellison. It defines social networks as web-services that allow individuals to build a public profile within a highly connected system, express personal thoughts and share information with who share a connection. Authors use three Friendster, MySpace and Facebook as examples to illustrate the pros and cons of social network sites. Also, it claims the experts are facing the problem of limited understanding to social networks.

In Network Analysis in the Social Sciences, Stephen P. Borgati, Ajay Mehra, Daniel J. Brass and Giuseppe Labianca try to look into the different emphasis between social and physical science. Also, they talk about the attributes of networks such as the relation between structure and communication speed as well as accuracy. Moreover, other concepts, for instance, six degree of separation and the idea of social- economic value are also stated to support the network phenomena.

Written by Robert J. Kauffman, Ting Li and Eric can Heck, Business Network-Based Value Creation in Electronic Commerce discuss how IT development influences the economic activities in firms and how it leads to business network. It begins with clear concept of business network- to combine the abilities of multiple firms, participants in a certain business network can produce economically and fill the demand of the market. Also, the article concludes the business network forms due to the cost reduction and efficiency addition; the improved informedness of both firms and customers bring about the demand-driven market, in which the business network succeeds through being flexible in production and also providing tailored service or products to fill specific customers’ need. Last, the stability of the network depends on the fair value sharing and the monitoring system to make sure value-maximization and equality.

I choose Facebook and Google+ as two examples, exploring their features and challenges respectively. Facebook is the largest social network site now with around one billion users by this year. Not only individuals can benefit from the site via social activities such as photos sharing and virtual games, but also businesses can do branding and advertising through Facebook. By taking advantage of users data, businesses can target at right customers to increase the ads effectiveness. As for Google+, it grows rapidly and aims to compete with Facebook head to head; besides equipped with similar social functions as Facebook, Google+ also has some distinguished features, for example, Google+ Sparks, Google+ Hangout and Google+ Local. Both of them become crucial roles in social networks, but they have to face the challenge of mobile marketplace from now since more people are using smartphone instead of PC. How to monetize the social network through mobile device and how to make progress to launch better social service are all issues needed to be emphasized.


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