In recent years online social networks have experienced huge growth. Typically sites like Facebook.com or MySpace.com have been a place for the younger demographic in society to express personal interests and information. The report ”Social Networking: Finding Friends Online” from InStat describes these networks as “virtual social structures consisting of individuals that are connected through various social familiarities, geographies, business connections, or common interests”. In short: social networking sites are a great place for self promotion.
But with tragedies like the tragedy at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 it began to show that online social networking sites have become more important than just promoting yourself. They became a public place to mourn the loss.
The meaning of social networking sites has changed. Earlier it was just a place to find old high school friends or to show the world your favorite band. But now it has “taken on a new dimension - as an instant outlet to join individuals on an entirely new level - an emotional one”.
Certainly social networking sites are getting more and more important on a emotional level. Even today people already use those sites to build their own private or work-related (XING, LinkedIn) social network. Thus they become a meaning and they are not just a big hype.
Soon we will also see a lot of mobile social networking services. With your mobile phone it is much easier and faster to get connected to your own social network (SMS, call, etc.) - wherever and whenever you want. I am also sure, that social networking services will get more and more important for companies, e.g. to organize a worldwide team, and that also the older demographic in society will use them.
Source: InStat: Social Networking: Finding Friends Online