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Исследовательская работа: 
The role of virtual social networks in life of modern teenagers

2. The main part of the study

2.1. Social networking: definition, history and general characteristics

Although certain social and network research was held as early as in 1930s, the term “social network” was introduced by sociologist James Barnes in 1954.

Today a social network is interpreted, first, as a social structure comprising a set of nodes (individuals) and a set of relation links (friendship, communication etc.) defined on the first set and, second, as Internet implementation of this social structure.

The first social network with the use of computer technology in the history of the ARPA Net was created by the U.S. Department of defense in 1971 for their own needs. The first public social network has become an American portal Classmates.com in 1995 ("Odnoklassniki" - the Russian equivalent).

However, social networks started to gain popularity when LinkedIn, Myspace and Facebookwere launched. In 2006 in Russia there were "Odnoklassniki" and "Vkontakte".

General features of virtual social networking are:

  1. The creation of personal profiles.
  2. Providing opportunities for the exchange of information.
  3. The ability to create and maintain a list of other users (friends).

Company Angel Relations Group in their statistical study found that the monthly audience of the popular networks in Russia is around 250 million people. The leader in attendance in Russia is a social network Vkontakte - 52 million people, the second place is forYouTube - 45 million, the third place is for Classmates - 41 million, other popular networks (My World, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) have an audience from 10 to 27 million people.

On average, Russian users spend 2 hours and 18 minutes on social networking sites every day. According to Brand Analytics for 2015-2016, 24% of the monthly audience of social network "Vkontakte"are under the age of 18.

Social networks can be divided into five groups according to their functions:

  1. Relationship networks (Facebook is the most popular social network in the world; VK; Odnoklassniki; LinkedIn is the most famous network of business contacts). These are the most common and popular social media today – they try to offer users the maximum opportunities within a single platform. These social networks were the first to invite users to create a free personal mini-website, which later became known as the "profile".
  2. Media sharing networks (Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat). This social media gives users advanced features for sharing video and photo content (filters, publishing short videos, private video channels).
  3. Online reviews (Uber, Airbnb). This social media is a huge data base that helps users to gather all the necessary information for making purchasing decisions.
  4. Discussion forums (for example, 4PDA). The objective of these social networks – discussion of various goods as an expert, the placement of instructional videos from brands.
  5. Social publishing platforms (Twitter, Live journal). This type of social media includes services for blogging and micro-blogging where users create and publish text and media content.

Перейти к разделу: 2.2. The positive of using virtual social networks