Figure 1.

1.      History, Role, and Competition

a.     Internet/WWW and Tim Berner-Lee at

                                                    i.     Difference between a social network and a social networking website

b.     Networks

                                                    i.     Nodes versus hubs (i.e., more connections); degrees (connections) and centrality; boundary spanners

                                                  ii.     Skewed distribution (i.e., heavy-tailed degree distributions) or scale free topology (i.e., most people don’t have a lot of friends)

                                                iii.     Graph theory and social network analysis

                                                iv.     Measures of connectivity

1.     Degrees of the node; for example, Erdös number (calculator)

2.     Johan Ugander, Brian Karrer, Laura Backstrom, and Cameron Marlow, “The Anatomy of the Facebook Social Graph” (2011)

c.      Adam Goldberg’s CU Community (aka Campus Network) founded Summer 2003 (see Columbia Spectator 2004 article and Slate’s 2010 article)

d.     Harvard

                                                    i.     Summer 2003, does Paul Ceglia own 50% of FB because of a Craigslist contract?

                                                  ii.     Fall 2003 (watch one scene about origin of status from The Social Network, the movie)

                                                iii.     On 4 February 2004, “Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin launch Facebook from their Harvard dorm room.”

                                                iv.     Given recent IPO activity, Zuckerberg controls “almost 60 percent of total shares” and Saverin’s 5% of FB may be worth $2.5B

e.     Evolution of FB

                                                    i.     .EDU domain first (explains age of FB users?)

                                                  ii.     FB’s mission

1.     Facebook’s Mission: “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

2.     Statement (2008) and mission statement defined

3.     The Evolution of Facebook’s Mission Statement,” The New York Observer, 13 July 2009.

                                                iii.     Privacy issue of opt-in versus opt-out; IT security issues

1.     Facebook’s response to FTC: “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change,“ 18 February 2011

2.     "Mike Arrington interrogates Mark Zuckerberg

3.     Facebook Malware Threatens Campus Web Security“ (2011)

4.      What is the social norm re sharing versus privacy?

                                                iv.     FB’s Open Graph Protocol (i.e., the Like button)--"now present on roughly 2 million sites around the web, from sports sites to news organizations and many other kinds of publishers."

                                                  v.     Corporate acquisitions:

1.     Parakey (2007), merges the desktop and WWW

2.     FriendFeed (2009), real-time updates, ‘like’ feature

3.     In 2010, “Octazen, Divvyshot, Sharegrove, NextStop, Hot Potato,, Walletin, and a partial acquisition of Zenbe

4.     In 2011, Beluga, a group-messaging startup

                                                vi.     RockMelt, a browser built around FB and Blekko (beta), a FB “like” driven search engine

1.     TechCrunch’s “Google’s Wizard Of Oz Search Algorithm And The Threat Of Facebook Search

f.      Role of social media, especially FB and human psychological factors

                                                    i.     Need Fulfillment and Self Determination Theory (Sachdev, 2007)

                                                  ii.     Escape versus entertainment

                                                iii.     Belonging, sense of

                                                iv.     30% of employers may use FB in recruitment and selection, according to Decker (2006)

                                                  v.     Number of Friends, Maximum Number of Friends, and Friends of Friends

1.     Dunbar’s number (n=100-230, often cited as 150)

2.     FB’s average user has X friends; X% of “active users”

3.     Maximum number of friends = 5,000 (due to Steve Hofstetter)

4.     Stanley Milgram, “The Small World ProblemPsychology Today (1967) aka Six Degrees of Separation

Friendship Report Card (algorithm appears to combine number of links and comments and ranks results)

5.     Do we need a fade-away button?

                                                vi.     Role of mood (Golder and Macy, Science, 29 September 2011)

g.     List of competing websites according to Wikipedia, the New York Times and other sources

                                                    i. (see’s statistics); FB will overtake them shortly, so what is Google doing?  It’s official +1


1.     Used by celebrities among others (Top five followers (spring 2011): Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, Brittany Spears, Kim Kardashian)

2.     12:36PM Jan 15th, 2009: “There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.”

3.     BBC, “Bin Laden Raid was revealed on Twitter,” 2 May 2011.

4.     Marr Raymond, “How Tweet It Is! Library Acquires Entire Twitter Archive,” Library of Congress blog, 14 April 2011.

5.     See “Twitter Sentiment Analysis” tool

                                                iii. (founded in 2003 by Brad Greenspan, who attended UCLA along with UCLA’s Richard Rosenblatt, chairman; “2,596,486 people just shared what they’re into;” problem of false identities?)

                                                iv.     Diaspora* Alpha, “a free personal web server that implements a distributed SNS”

                                                  v. (gaming; problem with infrastructure?)

                                                vi., a start-up SNS devoted to finding common interests

                                              vii. (narrowly on business)

                                            viii. (failed Harvard effort by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with Divy Narendra)

                                                ix. (narrowly on faculty and graduate students)

                                                  x.     Other countries: (Germany; schü is for high schoolers, by invitation only to keep teachers from seeing students’ ratings),—“Everyone’s Website” (China) or (Russia)

                                                xi.     Social Media Explained” (or, what’s the difference among Twitter, FB, Foursquare, Quora, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+)


h.     Readings

                                                    i.     Danah M. Boyd & N. B. Ellison, “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship,” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(no. 1, 2007), article 11.

                                                  ii.     S. Craig Watkins and H. Erin Lee, Got Facebook? Investigating What’s Social About Social Media (Austin: University of Texas, 2010).

                                                iii.     Matthew Robert Vanden Boogart, "Uncovering the Social Aspects of Facebook on a College Campus," MA Thesis, Kansas State University, 2006 (one of the earliest theses on this topic).

                                                iv.     J. Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

                                                  v.     Sherry Turkle, Alone: Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other.  New York: Basic Books, 2011.

i.       Questions/Assignments:

                                                    i.     Compare/contrast FB with other sites—what’s the difference?

                                                  ii.     How many friends do you have? (See FriendWheel) 

                                                iii.     Does having a large number of friends equate to popular?  Or, celebrity status?

                                                iv.     Who are your five most important friends? Who is your best friend? Are they on FB?

                                                  v.     What is the relationship between time together and the quality of friendship?

                                                vi.     What is the social norm on sharing?

                                              vii.     Do you have a personal homepage?  If not, why not?

                                            viii.      When did you join FB (for example, 14 December 2006); what’s changed? (Download your information via my account, settings, download…)

                                                ix.     What would a dictionary for Facebook look like?  (See the Twictionary!)


Updated:  17 February 2012; created: 11 May 2009.