One of the first things that the human race did was social networking. This was limited to grouping together into tribes for safety and for more effective hunting. As man became civilized, the networking too evolved and soon acquired the shape of brotherhoods, fraternities and associations of people with similar interests and objectives. This evolution continued until it developed into the form of social networking that we know today.
The definition of social networking and the way it is done took on a new shape with the advent of the internet. Today we think of social networking as the act of expanding the number of people we know in order to develop our social circles and business activities. The internet meant that we did not have to be able to physically meet a person to establish contact with them or to continue the relationship – everything can be done online and relationships can develop and flourish there. Today a person sitting at home with his computer can meet and establish a longer term link with almost anyone, anywhere.
This has caused the evolution of the theory of “6 Degrees of Separation.” The theory says that with an almost unlimited number of people who can be contacted, just contacting one person who can put you in touch with another should be able to lead you to anyone, anywhere within six stages. This has changed the whole definition of social networking and it is no longer just a matter of creating or joining a group of like minded people – social networking today is about being able to contact anyone, anywhere. Of course, while that is theoretically possible, for most people the definition of social networking is something less complex.
Most people use social networks to link to those whom they feel they should know, either for business of personal reasons. A person who becomes a member of a social network will, in most cases, ask his or her friends to also join the network. They in turn invite their friends to join and the chain, as it carries on, creates a growing group of interlinked people whose relationship, on a one to one level or on a larger plane, will grow to their mutual benefit. In other words, the definition of a social network today is that of a set of people with linked interests and objectives who may not necessarily ever meet in person, but are able to work together and help each other in achieving their individual and group goals.