CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1
‘The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever seen’ – Eric Schmidt
The Internet, the decisive technology of the Information age and the key factor of driving globalisation over the last years has achieved the 100 million users mark in just seven years. By 2020, it is estimated that more than 50 % of the world’s population will be online. The advent of the Internet has brought about the creation of Social Network Sites, one of the main application types available in the Web 2.0 environment (Constantinides et al. 2008).
SNSs grew worldwide in 2010, fuelled by growth in Europe, North America, and Latin America respectively. SNSs are often referred as living spaces connecting all dimensions of people’s experience are defined as websites that allow building relationships online between persons by means of collecting useful information and sharing it with people. Also, they can create groups which allow interacting amongst users with similar interests (Kwon and Wen, 2010).
Being one of the most popular social networking sites, as of the first quarter of 2017, Facebook had more than 1.94 billion global monthly active users, including over close to 1.74 billion mobile monthly active users.(Facebook, 2017). In addition SNSs are the second largest traffic sources for top news web sites and are increasingly approaching the level of search engines, the number one web traffic sources (McGee, 2014).
According to Boyd and Ellison (2007), the first social networking site, SixDegrees.com, was launched in 1997, which allowed users to create profiles and list their friends. SNS specifically offer the users a space where they can maintain and create new relationships, as well as share information (Kolbitsch and Maurer 2006).
With the evolution of Social Networking, it changes the way one communicates and how one finds and shares personal information, exchange ideas, feelings, photos and videos at a very overwhelming rate. SNS are often a business, but they are in the business of selling freedom, free expression and chosen sociability,
SNS connect millions of people globally and simultaneously and also facilitate communication amongst diverse people irrespective of their geographical locations. Thus, SNSs make it possible for individuals to easily exchange ideas and information such as texts, pictures, music and videos. Thus, online SNSs are rich sources of knowledge, entertainment and communication (Ahmed and Quazi, 2011). Online SNSs have been widely embraced by teenagers and young adults who are predominantly students (Rahmi and Othman, 2008).