Login
Copyright

What are Social Networks? - Types & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What is a Moral Decision? - Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Introduction to Social…
  • 0:25 Definition/History of…
  • 1:38 Social Network Theory
  • 2:44 Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
  • 3:20 Types of Social Networks
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Quentin Shires

Quentin has taught psychology and other social science classes at the university level and is considered a doctoral colleague at Capella University.

In this lesson you'll learn what social networks are, where they came from, and how they are built. Also, take a quiz to see if you have what it takes to be a good social networker.

Introduction to Social Networks

If you're on Facebook, keep in mind that so are 1.15 billion other people throughout the world. In fact, 72% of all Internet users are active on social media today, indulging in social interactions and developing personal relationships. But you don't always have to go online to be exposed to social networks, as they come in a multitude of formats.

Definition of Social Networks

Social networks are simply networks of social interactions and personal relationships. Think about your group of friends and how you got to know them. Maybe you met them in elementary school, or maybe you met them through a hobby or through your church. Either way, you were exposed to social networks: meeting other individuals in a social situation, while developing strong personal bonds over time.

History of Social Networks

Social networking isn't just a term for the 21st century. In fact, social networking dates back to 40,000 years ago when cavemen would draw on the walls of caves, depicting animals in order to communicate and 'network' with other cavemen. The Romans also indulged in social networking around approximately 700 B.C.E. Rome was the center of communication and networking for everything that dealt with commerce, religion, politics, and even prostitution, so this makes a lot of sense. Since then, societies in different countries became more modern and pushed for social networks through town criers (in the 15th century), newspapers (in the 17th century), pen pal programs (in 1938), and electronics (in 1979).

Social Network Theory

The Social Network Theory (SNT) examines different networks of relationships between individuals and the common factors that bring them together. In a scientific form, SNT views relationships between objects, which are labeled as 'nodes'. Oftentimes, scientists using SNT will investigate the correlation between the nodes and the relationship that links them together. For example, imagine that you're standing in a room with another person. You and the other person are considered the nodes, and the relationship that links you together is the fact that you're standing in the same room. Of course, social networks can be more complex than this, but they all begin from the principle of objects/nodes and relationship variables.

Although Emile Durkheim and Ferdinand Tonnies first chartered social network theories in the late 1890s, major developments occurred later in the 1930s, specifically by Jacob Moreno. Moreno investigated social relationships by recording and analyzing the social interaction of small groups in classroom settings.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

You may have heard of the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a popular concept foreshadowed by the movie star Kevin Bacon. This game allows movie buffs to find the shortest path between not-so-famous actors and Kevin Bacon. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a runoff from the social networking theory called Six Degrees of Separation. Social networking theorists purport that any two individuals on earth are linked by six or fewer acquaintances. For example, according to this concept, there are only six people standing between you and the President of the United States!

Types of Social Networks

There are many types of social networks throughout society. Sit for a moment and think about different areas of your life: school, work, family, etc. These are all types of social networks - many of which may overlap into each other, demonstrating the complexity and fascination of a social network.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support