Essay The contribution of Informatics to the development of social networks and their impact on society Change is continuous constant; inevitable and sometimes unpredictable. We can easily say that world has changed a lot in industrial and mechanical era but the change seen in last half a century is exponential and amazing. If we have to credit one invention which had bought such a revolution, it would be computers. With advent of computers, a new paradigm shift was seen, computers enable mankind to compute and process data in more meaningful way with a blink of an eye.
And it did not stop there, once a standalone computing machine, the true acumen of computers was judge when they were connected with each other forming a giant mesh of information following from one place to another in speed of light. As technology advances, the hardware and software capabilities of computers increased, now recently 1terabyte of hard disk space is normal for personal PCs, where servers and super computers can manage thousands of terabyte easily.
Well it is debatable that can we apply “Moore’s Law” on the expansion of Internet too, but in practice it’s seen that Internet has grown tremendously in past years. Currently there are more than 50 billion web pages on Google alone, so one can easily imagine the depth and breadth of Internet. Humans have always shown eagerness and urge to learn unlearnt, find which is not found yet and invent things with improvisation and innovation. This hunger for knowledge is reflected on Internet, as it has abundance of information where millions of people quench their thirst.
But the most amazing thing about the age of information and Internet is that they not only infested our professional or educational life but they have imbued our social life too. Aristotle once quoted in his Politics that “Man is by nature a social animal’, well if Aristotle would have been alive now he would have uttered that indeed man is social network animal. Internet helped to shape new social norms in our generation, though we are in transaction period but in more than two decades this would be a tautology.
Alvin Toffler in his book “The Third Wave” declared that the shores of the Earth have been struck by wave of information. Interestingly the power of Internet and socializing through networks was so strong that when Alvin Toffler wrote this book back in 1980’s Internet had not yet reached its epitome, though it has not reached it now but it’s far more glorious than back in 80’s. But still the anthropological changes pointed by Alvin are very visible and evident. Ships, trains, supersonic jets etc. have not shortened the edges of this world but Internet has really made this world a global village.
It would not be an exaggeration; but single invention of making a meager data packet flow from one point to another brought all other inventions of 20 century to their knees. As there was a huge junk of scattered information lying on the Internet which would be useless in majority of cases was channelized by the brilliant idea of socializing sites. The informatics provided a concrete edifice to these social sites which developed their existence surrounding it. I can still remember that when I made my first account on orkut and shared a funny and witty scrap among my friends. I was rejuvenated by the replies and then it was no looking back.
The concept of interacting with your friends who are at far geographical locations was just amazing and it also provided a taste of cross cultural exchange, and not only that but also increases your intellect by indulging in talks and debates around the world. The lacuna of geographical, cultural, religious, cast, creed etc. was beautifully filled by social sites and networks. The vastness of these social sites are unimaginable, as on face-book statistics, its reported that 800 million users are active member of face-book, and according to Metcalfe’s law the number of connections can be calculated by squaring the connected people.
One can hardly imagine vastness of the “node link” graph of these social sites. There is no harm in accepting that these social sites are now imperative part of our lives. But with pros there are also some cons attached they come with package, as human being is a bit stubborn, prejudice and many people will argue but sometimes irrational too, social site failed to provide tolerance and flexibility.
It rather serves the purpose of fulfilling your social desires; desire to be loved and liked by your friends etc. But still I am not pessimistic, I am firm believer that these social networking may not bring complete ignorance and patience but will pave the path for global tranquility. In the end, I would like to conclude that social networking has shaped this world and I feel lucky and blessed to be a part of this revolution.