Social networks are digital or physical structures that serve to bring together a number of people for a specific purpose. Currently, social networks are mobile or desktop applications that can interconnect a huge number of individuals as long as they coincide in some aspect, be it by friendship, work, interests, location, etc.

According to the theory of Karinthy Frigyes we know that each person is connected by six more people and this is the case with each inhabitant of the planet, based on this, we can recognize that social networks serve to connect the entire world through one click.

Definition of social networks

A social network is defined as a set of interactions that are carried out by people with similar interests. The lines of the network are the graphic representation of the link between each member of the platform and the intersections represent each individual.

A social network, to exist, must group people and enhance communication according to their interests, as well as limit its structure to the space in which these participants converge; a social network sets the standards for interaction but is not directly involved in the content.

For what are the social network good for?

Social networks in general are made up of a great infrastructure that serves to connect people from all over the world, who benefit in many ways. Each social network has a different level of popularity and fulfills a particular function that serves a specific purpose.

Social networks are used to manage information

In general, social networks are used to generate, share and take information to all parts of the world efficiently and quickly, each person or user is a node of the entire network and any content can be shared voluntarily.

Thanks to the penetration of the Internet around the world, social networks have had a forceful reach and prominence in the society of the 21st century. Therefore, they serve to be aware, connected and aware of each relevant event in our community, city, country or world event.

The speed with which information spreads has helped save lives or warn about risky situations, it has also achieved that great causes are met and that there are almost no important events that go unnoticed.

What are the most used social networks?

There have been many attempts to position a social network that conquers the entire public; being massive is one of the inescapable conditions for a network to be successful. Currently the ones that are most popular are:

Facebook : it is the most used social network in the world and has more than 2.2 billion registered users, it has a global reach and its penetration already covers all the countries of the world as long as there is Internet. This social network is used to socialize, exchange ideas, images, products, services, etc …

YouTube : It is the second most successful social network on the planet with more than 1800 million registered users, its popularity grew after it was bought by Google in 2006, it was initially created by former PayPal programmers and its functionality captivated millions since its launch. YouTube is used to watch videos, programs, documentaries, listen to music, etc.

WhatsApp : it is the third most used network in the world, its main feature is the ability to send and receive encrypted messages as well as photos and videos. It replaced almost all instant messaging services and can be used on any platform, be it Android, iOS or the Web.

Twitter : although it has position number six in the ranking of the most used social networks, it is one of the most popular and important. It has more than 2 billion registered users and is ranked number one in the Netherlands. This network is used to publish short and concise messages, about some global, political or individual event.

Instagram : It is the second most popular in the world but it has just 1800 million registered users; Its practicality and attractiveness when sharing only photos quickly made it a favorite of young and old. It was created in 2010 and became even more popular when it was bought by Facebook in 2012.

Types of social networks

The types of social networks will depend on the use they are given and the intention with which they were created. All networks are used to communicate but not to send the same type of content in all cases. There are social networks for professional use such as Linkedln, Behance, etc. and others focused on entertainment such as Instagram, the extinct Vine, Musically, etc.

Another way to classify networks is according to the type of connection, and that has nothing to do with Internet access, but rather the way in which people can access information.

Symmetric social networks: are those that require the authorization of two users to be able to connect with each other. A practical example is Facebook, in this network it is necessary that both users decide to follow each other in order to see each other’s information.

Asymmetric social networks: these are networks that can be unidirectional, it only takes one person to want to follow another participant to access their information and thus be able to know all the content if it is public, such as Twitter and Instagram.

Human social networks: are those that focus on the information that users can share such as personal photos, thoughts, experiences, activities and emotions. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are examples of this classification.

Content social networks: in these networks the important thing is the content and not who publishes it, it is not related to the person and may or may not reflect their interests; some of the best known are Pinterest, YouTube or Vimeo.

Advantages and disadvantages of social networks

Just as they have served for years as a mass communication medium capable of alerting millions to important situations, social media has also been the cause of many dangerous practices. These communication channels have spread at great speed thanks to the penetration they have in every home in the world.

Advantages of social networks

  • They can bring people closer and shorten distances, enhance interpersonal relationships and encourage confidence and self-esteem.
  • It broke down cultural barriers and made many unknown communities visible. It helped the process of globalization and cultural exchange.
  • Social networks created infinite sources of employment, many people today live from digital marketing.
  • Networks focused on education have increased the knowledge and intellectual level of many without investing large sums of money.
  • They have encouraged important changes and awareness campaigns for the benefit of humanity.

Disadvantages of social media

  • They have spread negative information such as sensitive videos and photographs that can hurt sensitivities and harm those who appear in them.
  • They generate addiction and can cause the loss of social interaction with the real environment of those who use them in an excessive way.
  • Those who are not careful can expose themselves to viruses and hackers that can steal your personal information for the benefit of third parties.
  • They have been involved in the politics and social changes of countries, they are easy to manipulate and thus create opinion matrices different from the real ones.
Origin of social networks

Social networks, as a practice, arose in ancient times when people with common interests such as beliefs, culture and skills, met publicly or clandestinely to share their opinions. The concept of social network and its name is more associated with current generations and the emergence of the Internet, a common place where millions of people connect daily to exchange messages, photos and videos.

The first social networks appeared on the Internet in 2003 and they had the appearance of a blog, the main characteristic of these pages is the existence of a profile for each member, where they can place a photo, personal data, location and other relevant data.

In summary, the creation of networks and their origin were the product of the need that human beings have to communicate and that thanks to technology, they found a way to maximize themselves with the invention of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, among other

In conclusion, social networks are a communication factor

In the last 15 years since the Internet has promoted the use of social networks, society has undergone a significant change, and in most cases very positive. The use of social networks has revolutionized the way of communication, of staying connected with loved ones; even from doing business, generating publicity, and profiting in many ways. For all this, social networks are and will continue to be a determining communication factor in society.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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