Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No Facebook? In India, Mobile Users Have Another Option

This is a really creative use of SMS for those who want links to friends but don't have/can't afford Internet access.  BTW, one of the early uses of Bulk SMS was by the Serbian resistance in the late 1990s.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Map of the connected world through Facebook

I had to share this. It's a really striking image of how we are connected.

Does Steve Jobs kill the Web and the freedom of the Internet?

Today we organize our business and private live via the Internet. It’s the network of networks. If we need to find the next supermarket, gas station, doctor or pharmacy. There's an app for that. If we need a train ticket, find the next station and watch the timetable. There's an app for that. There's an app for just about anything, as Apple promises. A Brave New World! author Chris Anderson ( reminds us of the fact that the use of Internet has increased during the last years but the way we do it is about to change completely since the iphone started to conquer the mobile phone market three years ago. Besides the implications to the mobile phone industry the impact to the Internet is even more dramatic. Anderson detects that we spent the whole day on the Internet but not on the World Wide Web as we did over more than a decade. Why is that? First let’s have look to the history. The classical way of gathering information in the Internet was the to search the Web with a browser on a PC. Regarding to some open standards everybody could put his information or statements in the way he liked to the Internet application called World Wide Web on a server. Every user had the chance to view and read that information with a so-called web browser. These web browsers where just open readers without influence on the content. But we just could use the browse the PC at home, in the office or at some other fixed locations.

Now the number of the new mobile Internet devices such as smartphones and tablets is increasing extensively which means that that the old school PC loses its importance. The majority of the Internet connections will be via mobile devices. They also have a browser but because of the small screen size the most convenient way of accessing the Internet is by using nice little apps. The problem is that those apps just give access to very limited parts of the Internet for special purposes. The gatekeeper Apple decides which apps and which content is allowed. Who wants to be perceived in the Internet of the future has to follow the rules of the censors. The freedom has gone. Also the Web originator Tim Berners-Lee describes the threat of the freedom of the World Wide Web and calls for it’s defending. (

Some authors contradict these accusations. ( They say that Apple uses open standards such as HTML 5 on their devises. They also cannot find any censorship in Apple App Store. It is just a quality control that secures the quality und functionality of the software for the devises. Another argument is that people like Berners-Lee can deliver grandiloquent speeches since they don’t have a company that needs to earn money.

In my opinion there is some truth in this argumentation of Anderson and Berners-Lee. Since the Internet left the academic playground of the universities (about 1997) a fierce battle rages for supremacy on the World Wide Web. The main reason why the free World Wide Web survived that long is that the media conglomerates did not know how to create a value chain and convert it in another distribution channel for their classical entertainment media. Apples found this way by creating iTunes, iPod iPhone and finally the iPad. Apple attacks the „Two-Way-Web“ where everybody is both: author and reader, producer and consumer. In the case of the iPhone one could argue that the small size of the device just allows the use of the Internet by specially adjusted apps. But the much bigger iPad proves that the previous claims are right. The size of these tablets is big enough to use web browsers in a comfortable way. But Apple does not offer an open operating system for the iPad that allows the installation of the software the user want. Quite the contrary Apple even bans Adobes flash from the iPad, which makes the browser useless for many web sites. As a consequence the user need to look for an app in Apples store. In this “Brave New World” we are just consumers of digital content with a player instead of a computer in our hand.

Christoph M.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Worried about your naked drunk pictures from last holiday

As Internet having made our personal lives public, now everybody has a permanent record on the web thanks to sites like facebook and potential employees more and more looking at this data (a recent survey by researcher firm Harris found that 1 out of 2 potential employers use social network sites to search for candidates) to evaluate us our privacy is not longer secure.

Some reasons why potential employees check personal profiles is to look for alcohol and drug use, racist comments and lying about applications.

Privacy is a very important possession all of us have and appreciate. I personally believe neither potential nor current employers should be looking at our personal profiles.

For everybody worrying about their privacy there are some good news: new laws are being proposed to stop companies from checking emproyees personal profiles. In Germany there is a law proposal that will punish employees that check facebook profiles.

Some companies in Germany that have been involved in scandals in Germany involving management spying on staff are Lidl, Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom.

Do you think employers should use social network profiles in the hiring process?


· Is Facebook Your "Permanent Record?"

The importance of privacy

Bosses admit screening potential employees via social networks

New Law to Stop Companies from Checking Facebook Pages in Germany,1518,713240,00.html

Should Employers Use Social Network Profiles in the Hiring Process?


Can Social Networking help change lives? A look at its impact in Developing Countries.

In the wake of the current Wikileaks’ scandal which through it’s reckless disclosure of diplomatic cables may be putting millions of lives in harms way, it may seem ironic that we could still think of online social networks, media and the sort as a means to achieving a greater good. For this reason and as a part of my constant search for things that move and inspire me, I decided to go on a quest to find out whether social networks are having a positive impact specifically in developing countries; how are they impacting their governance? Are they contributing to their rapidly evolving economies? If so, who is benefitting from them? In what follows, I will try to answer some of these questions and highlight my most important findings.

Undoubtedly, the interest and usage of Social Network Sites, also known as SNSs has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. Facebook alone has over 516 million active users[1], followed by MySpace with 185 million and Twitter with 175 million[2]. Now, although these are just quantitative indicators of the traction SNSs have gained around the world they are by no means a true reflection of their usage in developing nations as most of these are still well behind. Nonetheless, when we look at these numbers and how the usage of these channels is becoming more and more popular we can’t help but see an undeniable trend and wonder what it holds for countries that can hugely benefit from their reach.

It is too early to predict which social networking tools will thrive in developing countries as their usage varies greatly from country to country and highly depend on their respective infrastructures and governance. Nonetheless, it is likely that social media usage will experience significant growth in the same countries where governance is weak and unemployment is high, hopefully improving the overall situation in the countries where reforms in these areas are needed the most.

In environments where governance is weak for instance, social media can help facilitate the openness and transparency in spite of the restrictions imposed by the state. Take for instance last year’s presidential elections in Iran, where SNSs became the front line source of information. Foreign journalists were banned from reporting protests over the highly disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the highly computer literate country, citizen hackers were working to keep media lines open; more than 100 micro-blogs per minute poured through Twitter throughout the day. Videos of protests of the elections spread virally across YouTube and Facebook almost instantaneously allowing Iranians to get their story out against the government’s will.

“It’s being used to try to demonstrate that the official view of events from authorities is not the real view of events,” says Christopher Waddell, associate director of the school of journalism and communications at Carleton University.[3]

Last year in Bangladesh, someone posted a video on YouTube showing a confrontation between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her decision to negotiate with angry army officials rather than take military action. The video circled around the four corners of the world through Facebook users who put the YouTube link on their status. It got widespread attention and was a huge wake up call for the government and army forcing them to acknowledge the power of social media as a force for increased transparency. In these and other examples, social media played an important role in improved governance.

Another example I found particularly interesting in how the power of SNSs is being used was the case of a company based in Bangalore, India called Babajob is an innovative social networking tool that connects job seekers from India’s large informal sector to middle and upper-class Indians looking to hire cooks, maids, receptionists, and security guards among 15 other job categories with the goal of creating better jobs for everyone as their tag-line states and reducing the inefficiencies of the diverse labor market in India. Babajob seeks to bring the social-networking revolution to people who do not even have computers — the world’s poor who find it hard to find good jobs precisely because they are not connected to people looking for them. The hard part is getting the poor who don't have access to PCs and laptops signed on to the social network's website. So how do they overcome this? They pay people to photograph people looking for jobs on their website. They also make extended use of SMS which is widely used by rural India.

Yet another great example and perhaps one of very my favorites, of the empowerment that social networks can provide to people at the bottom of the pyramid is the one of what Danish company MYC4 is doing in Africa. MYC4 is an online marketplace that connects you directly with African entrepreneurs, who lack capital to develop their businesses.

"The aim of MyC4 is to help eradicate poverty in line with the UN's Millennium Development Goals. We do this not through charity but by bringing people together in business deals at the best market price," says Kjaer, Ethiopia's honorary councilor in Denmark who has 24-years of business experience in Africa.[4]

Take Peter Nkajja for instance, a Ugandan farmer who established his coffee business using start up capital from his sister but which is not longer enough to meet the increase in demand. MyC4 provides Peter with an opportunity to meet an investor who would rather invest his capital in a business like Peter’s than put it in a bank. Like this example are many others of how MyC4 helping African entrepreneurs businesses and new ideas flourish.

Overall, I think it is fascinating to see how social networks are changing the world but most of all the potential they have to truly change lives. Although SNSs are still a long way from widespread use in developing countries due to lack of infrastructure and other necessary resources to enable their use it seems they have huge growth potential and we are on the right path.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

The backend of networking

Dear All,

Did you ever wonder what makes our networking so easy? What exactly happens beneath your few clicks of facebook, emails and other communication on Internet? Watch: Warriors of the net!

One of the best videos I have encountered during my engineering! Enjoy! :)


The history of social networking

This powerpoint slide briefly shows the history of social networking. Hope you enjoy it!^^

Social Networks: Past, Present & Future -

Could Mark Zuckerberg become the next Julian Assange: Food for thought!

I think that we have all heard some variation of the phrase, “don’t put it into writing, unless it is okay if everybody sees it.” Last week, the world witnessed another leak of confidential documents belonging to the U.S. Government. Wikileaks published 250,000 confidential communications occurring amongst U.S. government employees around the world. While previous leaks pertained to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, purportedly for the purpose of saving lives and making the world more aware with a greater level of transparency - this leak seems to have come a bit short by not providing any value aside from entertainment.

Wikileaks Editor in Chief, Julian Assange claims in his mission statement that, "transparency creates a better society for all people." He also states that, "Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society's institutions."[1] While I agree with WikiLeak’s mission statement, I disagree with the methods in which they are employing. Downloading confidential communications that do not belong to them without permission and then distributing them for production for all to see seems irresponsible and reckless to me. I would challenge Assange explain how society has gotten better within the past week, or how he believes it will improve in the upcoming months. Publishing a story about a particular event can bear merit. But publishing private communications does not.

However, Daniel Ellsberg has been weighing in on the issue. Ellsberg was the whistleblower of the Pentagon papers, which exposed the U.S. governments’ view of the Vietnam War. “They demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance.” [2] While I understand Ellsberg’s sense of empathy for Assange, I still have trouble viewing them on the same moral plane.

My concern about the release of this type of information has to do with our right to privacy as individuals. I am concerned that this is setting a precedent of how communications could be treated in the future. After all, these were confidential conversations between the U.S. and other nations. Sure…my status update can be read by anyone. But I wrote it and published it knowing this. My emails and instant messages, on the other hand are not necessarily for everyone to see, nor did I intend them to be. This leads me to wonder what Facebook is planning to do with all of the logged conversations it has stored on its servers. What is to stop them or someone else from releasing every update, instant message, and email from each of its 500 million users? Perhaps this will be one of their revenue streams as they will start charging a monthly fee not to.

1 - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: What does he want?

2 - Pentagon Papers

The WikiLeaks Debate: Journalists Weigh In

WikiLeaks warrant “issued to UK”

WikiLeaks lesson for business: You next?

Julian Assange answers your questions

Time’s Julian Assange Interview,8599,2034040-3,00.html

Social Networks Putting Kids at Risk.

With the increased use of social networks, it isn't surprising to find that the unsavory people of the world find ways to use the technology to dangerous ends. Unfortunately these people are targeting children and teenagers, and our kids are inadvertently helping them out. In September of this year, a 16 year old girl from Canada was drugged and raped by 7 males while at a party. While the event is disturbing enough, it was made worse by the fact that people took photos of the incident and posted it to social networking sites, such as Facebook [1]. These photos were uploaded to Facebook within hours, and while police were able to remove the photographs, it is known that they were downloaded prior to being removed. Unfortunately this is not an isolated event. In a recent study, it was found that 13% of kids interviewed had posted nude, or semi-nude photographs of themselves on the internet and 24% said they had signed onto someone else's account and accessed information without permission[2]. And these activities are not isolated incidents. News of child pornography rings being found through social networking sites are more and more common. Two recent examples include a ring of 11 people from Canada, Australia, and Britain being arrested because they were distributing child pornography via Facebook [3], and a second ring where more than 50 people have been arrested for using social networking technology to distribute child pornography [4].

So what is the problem, and are there any solutions? Very simply put, social networks are making it easier for child predators to not only access and distribute compromising photographs and videos of minors, but also that children and teenagers are supplying the material. Since criminals will always find ways to act illegally, ultimately any solution must be child focused. There are two schools of thought about potential solutions. One is to reduce access to social networking sites for minors by having age limits in place in order to use the site, and the other is to have parents be responsible for monitoring their child's internet activity [5][6]. In the US, the Bush administration tried to expand the 1998 Child Protection Act to require age limits to access sites that could be damaging to minors, but this policy was overturned and subsequently dismissed by the Supreme Court [7]. Therefore it is up to individual internet networking site to establish and enforce age limits. Facebook, mySpace, and other social networking sites have established age limit requirements, but many feel that they do not adequately enforce these limits [8].

On the other side of the argument, many people suggest that parents need to be more actively involved in monitoring how their children use the internet. They argue that it is the parent’s right and obligation to teach their children how to safely use the internet to avoid potential online threats. By educating children and establishing rules on how kids use the internet, many suggest that online threats can be reduced [9].

Because of the volatility and rapid advancement of the internet and associated technology, I think the possibility of creating and enforcing age restrictions to access sites would never be successful due to being ineffectual, or legally too restrictive. And ultimately, sick people will always find a way to satiate their desires, and kids will always find a way to access things they aren’t supposed to. While there is a risk of child predation on the internet, a significant amount could be reduced if children were taught how to appropriately use the internet and social networks. For instance, teach children to not accept friend requests from people they do not know, and also to inform our kids that once something is on the internet, it is nearly impossible to completely remove. The most important piece of the equation is how parents teach and monitor behavior, whether it is on the internet, at school, or in the mall. Censorship is not the answer, it will only cause more harm than good, and ultimately access to information empowers people. We just need to approach it with a little common sense.










Abuse in the Web 2.0

It is interesting to see the development of social networking sites all around the globe. Especially Social networking sites such as facebook and myspace are slowly becoming not only a site in which to post pictures from last weekend, but a site to reconnect with friends, make new friends, find common interest groups, and so on. Clearly, such sites would not be able to be so widely popular, if it weren’t for the general trust that the population has into such media sites. Obviously, when posting one’s name, phone number, address, email, birthday, names of siblings and spouses, etc., there needs to be some sort of force, which will take advantage of that.

Since most people are completely unaware, what is being done with their information, and since this information is widely available and accessible, firms have emerged that specialize in collecting this data. Most firms are doing this mostly to advertise to you with specifically targeted advertisement, tailored to your personal interests. The practice of “screen scraping” (which basically is the practice of going through your social networking sites and creating a personalized profile) has been going on for quite some time already, but it has really taking off in recent years. In the past year alone, US marketing firms have spent 410 Million USD to buy such customer data from firms. And the number is expected to double until 2012 alone.[1]

However, there are much more serious potential problems than directed advertisement. One study I found during the research for this subject described social networking sites as “attractive targets for those with malicious intent” [2]. This study revealed that an average profile provides very accurate information about “her/his home address, her/his pet’s name, where she/he went to school, her/his mother’s maiden name and other family details s – just the kind of information used for security or ‘lost password’ questions for online banking and other confidential services”[2]. While most people would usually not post one’s mother’s maiden name on facebook, it is certainly possible to derive a lot of such information from such sites.

Even worse problems arise, when social networking sites are utilized as not only a means to help criminal activity, but as the primary platform of criminal activity. As one blogger before me mentioned already, social networks are becoming widely used by Neo-Nazi, among other criminal organizations, which use such platforms to organize and to post on activity. However, sites are not only used as a means to meet in a virtual reality. In some cases, Social networking sites have been abused to distribute illegal material, such as child pornography [3], or chat sites have been used by pedophiles to gain access to their victims [4].

In light of such obvious problems with freely releasing personalized information to not only friends, but lso companies and strangers, I wonder why people are still so vehement about keeping their social networking sites alive, even though the dangers are widely known…


[2] Grabner-Kräuter, Sonja. Journal of Business Ethics. Web 2.0 Social Networks: The Role of Trust



Further sources:

Facebook & Privacy – Pick one?

In the following I want to discuss several aspects concerning the use of online social networking sites and how the shared information might be exploited by third parties.

In general there are two different forms of how personal information might leak from social networks:

- Exploitable public information
- Malicious information gathering and hacking

The first form of information gathering looks rather harmless but the amount of user information that is freely available is alarming. In July 2010 Ron Bowes built a crawler to harvest all user information on Facebook that is available in the so called “Open Access Directory” and published 2.8GB of raw data through the BitTorrent filesharing network, downloadable for everyone. The file contains personal information of more than 100 million users that did not bother to update their security settings, sometimes including their date of birth and address [1]. A similar incident happened to the German social networking platform SchülerVZ in 2009 when more than 1 million publicly available user pages have been crawled [2].

Beside this large-scale data harvesting, plenty of public information is still easily available from social networking sites. For example the website YourOpenBook allows you to search the status updates of Facebook users in real-time [3]. Another website, called PleaseRobMe was launched in 2009 and automatically searched Twitter and Foursquare to extract information about the location of the users in order to find homes that can be broken in safely [4,5]. Although PleaseRobMe was only an attempt to raise awareness for over-sharing of information and was shut down again, the problem persists. For example current smartphones often come with an embedded GPS system that is used to tag pictures with the coordinates of the location. Uploading such pictures to Facebook reveals the exact location of a user and special attention has to be given to this threat of locational privacy [6].

In the next paragraph I want to focus on malicious information gathering and give two examples on how personal information is accessed on Facebook.

The weak link in Facebook’s security concept seems to be the API that is used for third party applications, e.g. games, calendars and surveys. In October 2010 an investigation of the Wall Street Journal uncovered that all of the 10 most popular applications on Facebook are transmitting user information and make them available to advertising and internet tracking companies. Amongst those applications is for example the popular game FarmVille that not only leaked personal information to outside companies but also information about user’s friends [7].

Another threat for privacy is the professional hacking of accounts on social networking sites. According to a report published by Computerworld, a hacker named Kirllos offered 1.5 million Facebook accounts with the associated password for sale in an underground hacker forum. For the bargain price of $25 - $45 per 1,000 accounts, depending on the number of friends a user has, anyone can buy these accounts [8]. Similar to the information leak discovered by the Wall Street Journal, Kirllos used a Facebook application to access the personal data.

An exhaustive list of threats and possible counter measures to protect your privacy on social networking sites can be found on the website of the European Network and Information Security Agency [9].

So what can users do to protect their privacy on online social networking sites?

The information leaks described in the first part have one thing in common: they’re perfectly legal. Therefore in order to protect their privacy, users have to be aware of what information they are sharing and who is able to access this information. On Facebook this can be restricted by tightening the privacy settings and for Twitter posts can be made public only for accepted contacts.

Regarding the malicious information gathering there is not much what a user can do. These leaks will always arise due to the complexity of the software and the monetary incentive for hackers and companies. The only advice for users is therefore to treat every single piece of information they upload as if it were accessible for everyone and exclude information that might be confidential.

Finally I want to raise the question why Facebook is currently estimated to be worth $33 billion [10]?

Is it the brand or the pictures people uploaded and gave the copyright to Facebook?

Or is this the estimated intrinsic value of the data that lies beyond 500+ million user profiles, their social networks, preferences, political orientation and relationship status and the potential financial gain companies expect from this knowledge?

Have a nice Sunday evening :)



How do online networks influence employee’s work performance?

Online social networks are growing rapidly around the world. More than 500 million active users are using for example Facebook. And 50% of them use Facebook daily. According to a global digital life research. This development can be compared with a mass movement or a really at the stock market. Everybody wants to be part of it, because nobody wants to be behind, excluded, or simply miss something. And it seems that everybody is only seeing the bride sight of this development. From the employees point of view it is very nice to find old friends from school. It is so easy to invite people to a party or a meeting. Everybody can share pictures, movies, and information. There are almost no limits for anything.

On top of that online social networks are reachable 24 hours a day and seven days a week (247). That includes working hours due to Internet access at work desks computers and other devises like mobile phones.

From companies point of view social networks can also have a lot of benefits. Using social networks allows companies to filter traffic to blog posts, sales along with giving you an excellent way to stay in touch with your consumer base. According to Julian Birkinshaw allowing employees social activities during working hours sends a message like I trust you doing the right things and will evaluate you by your outputs.

A survey of the consulting firm Robert Half Technology shows, that 54% of US workplaces are blocked. According to the survey only 19% of the 1,400 asked companies allow the use for business purposes and 10% permit the use for any kind of personal use. Those companies, which block the use of online social networks, must have good reasons for that. According to an article written by Lucinda Watrous the concerns are often bandwidth, liability, malware, and productivity.

From my point of view the biggest concern is productivity. The distraction potential in online networks is very high. If something changes by one of somebodies contacts he or she gets a message about the change with a link to it. Therefore this change is only one click away. Ones I’m locked-in he or she is able to see who of their contacts are online. Mostly it starts with a short message and develops to a chat. To withstand this opportunities cost a great deal of self discipline unfortunately most people don’t have.

Let’s assume this distraction cost an employee one hour of his working time each day. Let’s also assume average cost per working hour and employee is 50 €. Assuming a 40 hours working week it will be 12.5% of the employees working time and will cost the company 10,000 € each year.

And don’t forget the security issue along with confidential information and malware.

No doubt online social networks have direct and maybe indirect benefits for companies but from my point of view not at every workplace. To handle this challenge an online network using police can help to guide the use of such networks. I suggest the following main handling points:

1. Don’t block online social network platforms

2. Allow private use during breaks

3. Make your compliance ability perfectly clear from the beginning

With this policy a company sends a message of trust to its employee's, hands over the responsibility using it according to the policy, and will be able to profit from online social networks directly as well as indirectly.

Can a social network change the world?

Jumo is a new social network connecting individuals and organizations (NGOs, charitable, ecological, etc) wants to change the world. The company unveiled last week was founded and directed by Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook and director of online organizing for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign.

Jumo has set out to address the main challenges nonprofit organizations are facing: Firstly, there are millions of people working to improve the lives of others, many of whom lack the resources to have greatest impact. Secondly, there are millions more who want to help, but don’t know how. Thirdly, despite huge advancements in connection technologies, it’s hard to find meaningful opportunities for people to get involved. They believe there is room for improvement and propose make it easy. For example, thank to Jumo it will be simpler to find the issues and organization you care about. You will be informed about the organizations latest news and updates. Additionally, you could support their activities with your time, money and skills.

In my opinion Jumo is a very interesting project. Nowadays, all organizations have a webpage or public profile in a social web. Social networking plays an important role in their activities and fundraising. Jumo is an open platform so any project or idea can be easily added. This feature will help to increase the organization´s reach. Another significant feature is that Jumo customizes the information their users (potential donors) receive.

Jumo´s webpage is currently in beta version and some features will be improved/added in the near future. For example, you can only create an account right now if you have Facebook account. A key issue for Jumo success will be their interaction with social webs (Twiter, Myspace, Xing, and others) not only with Facebook. Many nonprofit organization donors are internet users but not social web members; consequently it makes sense to open the platform to all internet users. There are some risks associated with the open platforms. Jumo should figure out how to evaluate and control organizations and projects added.

In the past, other projects aimed to reach similar goals but none of them became a global website for nonprofit information, cooperation and managing donations. If Jumo becomes the “Amazon” of good causes the objective will be achieved and more funds will support these activities.


Semantic web technology for social network analysis

What is Semantic web technology?
The Semantic Web is a mesh of information linked up in such a way as to be easily processable by machines, on a global scale. You can think of it as being an efficient way of representing data on the World Wide Web, or as a globally linked database. To explain it in other level tell any New Yorker you had a sandwich made with rye
bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing but can't remember what it's called. He'll tell you it's a Reuben. But just throwing a few ingredients into a search engine may not get you such a quick or even correct response. This is where the semantic Web comes in. It's more about Web services, where machines can work together to perform inferences in the way people do. The idea behind the semantic Web is to try to turn information on the Web into something with a much more clearly defined meaning. The semantic Web isn't about artificial intelligence, with computers learning how to understand human language. We're talking about a concept whereby computers will have enough semantics to allow them to solve well-defined problems through the sequential processing of operations. It may be that a software agent doesn't even come close to the conclusions that a human is capable of. But it may contribute to building a better and more useful Web than the one we have today.[1]

How is Semantic technology used in social network analysis?
Semantic web frameworks provide a graph model called resource description framework (RDF1), a query language (SPARQL1) and schema definition frameworks (RDFS1 and Web Ontology language OWL1) to represent and exchange knowledge online. These frameworks provide a whole new Resource description framework (RFD): A special meta-data code is added to a page that describes the relation between the data, these are called triples. Further ontologies are build upon a shared understanding within a community trying to find out what entities and what types of entities exist. This understanding represents an agreement of members of the community over the concepts and relationships that are present in a domain and a way of capturing social networks in much richer structures than raw graphs. Several ontologies are used to represent social networks, where Friend of a Friend (FOAF) is used for describing people profiles, their relationships and their activities online. The properties of the RELATIONSHIP ontology specialize the “knows” property of FOAF to type relationships in a social network more precisely (familial, friendship or professional relationships). The primitives of the SIOC (Semantically linked online communities) ontology extend FOAF in order to model more precisely online activities (e.g. posts in forums, blogs, etc). RDF based descriptions of social data provide a rich typed graph and offer a much more powerful and significant way to represent online social networks than traditional models of Social Network Analysis (SNA). Ontologies, like SCOT (Social semantic cloud of tags) have been designed to capture and exploit such activities and in parallel researchers have attempted to bridge folksonomies and ontologies to leverage the semantics of tags. Once they are typed and structured, the relations between the tags and between the tags and the users also provide a new source of social networks.[2] . Semantic SNA ontology modelling concepts that are used in SNA is degree or centrality. The degree centrality of a resource is the sum of its adjacent edges, i.e. its degree which is further defined into subclasses of OutDegree (is the sum of outgoing edges) and InDegre, (the in degree and out degree is sum of ingoing edges). Also, Distance is to describe the maximal distance that was considered between two actors. Then BetweennessCentrality and ClosenessCentrality are subclasses representing the eponymous centralities. The Semantic Web is a useful platform for linking and for performing operations on diverse person- and object-related data gathered from heterogeneous social networking sites. In the other direction, object-centred networks can serve as rich data sources for Semantic Web applications. This linked data can provide an enhanced view of individual or community activity in localised or distributed object-centred social networks. In fact, since all this data is semantically interlinked using well-given semantics (e.g. using the FOAF and SIOC ontologies), in theory it makes no difference whether the content is distributed or localised. All of this data can be considered as a unique interlinked machine-understandable graph layer (with nodes as users and related data and arcs as relationships) over the existing Web of documents and hyperlinks.[4]

The use of Internet has grown 380% since the year 2000 and web data has been increasing every year which requires a need to interlink this data. Semantic technology helps to interlink this data and ease the analysis of data making it simpler and faster. Think about HTML documents; when people started weaving these together with hyperlinks we got a Web of documents. Now think about data. When people started weaving individual bits of data together with RDF triples (that expressed the relationship between these bits of data) we saw the emergence of a Web of data and Semantic web came into picture.[5]

As the Semantic Web is a relatively new, dynamic field of investigation, it is difficult to precisely delineate the boundaries of this network. In fact, it is difficult to determine at what point a new research concept becomes a separate field of investigation. The other difficulty in using Semantic Web is that it is difficult to code and use of RFD for the continuously increasing data.[6]

Application of Semantic technology:
The Facebook application of social graph is one such example. The stated goal of the Open G
raph protocol was to enable publishers to "integrate [their] Web pages into the social graph." Essentially, each web page can now become an 'object' in Facebook's social graph (which is Facebook's term for how people connect to each other in its network). Other applications of Semantic technology are Google squared, BBC World Cup Website and GetGlue [7] and software such as UCINET and Pajek use semantic analytics tool. The Semantic technology would have advancement in future where the whole Web would be simpler for social network analysis similar to UCINET and easy to network with people of same interest like that through GetGlue. A simple example of a very small number of the resources and connections that might be found in a Star Wars ontology. You can figure these out on your own from watching the movies and surfing the Web, but a web must have a clear outline to make sense of it and to provide you with different links.

The future of search almost certainly involves social networks, social graphs, or social filtering in some capacity. Companies will live or die by whether they get the "social" part right: creating the right level of intimacy, trust, reliability, social connectedness, and accuracy in their results listings. Semantic technology is certainly crucial for dealing with the arising heterogeneity. [8]
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