Rewind back 10 years, before the idea of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube became a reality. The thought that people might someday spend more than half their day on a website such as Facebook was unthinkable. These social networks sites, along with hundreds more, were just a spark in designers’ mind. Social networking has made many effects upon society. With almost anyone having access to a computer, it has become easier to connect virtually with one another. The constant use of this kind of technology has proven to be beneficial but also harmful to us as a whole and to our humanity. When we contact one another through these sites we are limiting ourselves emotionally.
It is not possible to describe social networking without considering the current status of the Web, which is commonly defined “2.0”. The biggest innovation in Web 2.0 is the possibility for users to directly and easily create contents, even if they do not possess technical skills. This content production is continuous and the social networking sites that are seeing strong growth are continually refreshed by user generated content. In particular, all the software tools that deal with digital communities are available for free and are very easy to use; as a consequence, every user can add or modify contents, search for existing ones and be part of a large number of communities. Everyone can be an author. Social networking represents a big resource for e-learning, because of its big impact on the World Wide Web. In fact, the social networking online services implemented a new model of knowledge management, totally based upon the worldwide voluntary contribution of users. But to what extent is social networking powerful for distance education? It is very interesting to point out that the average age of social networking users is strongly and quickly decreasing; the new generations seem to be extremely familiar with this kind of approach to the Web. According to a survey by the Pew...
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