The developments of web 2.0, the semantic web and web services have greatly contributed to make on-line social networks and social media popular. This popularity has taken place as social interaction has experienced an almost revolutionary trend from physical in-person interactions to virtual (online) interactions. Many people now spend more time in virtual spaces discussing, communicating, influencing, learning, dating, etc. than in direct person-to-person interactions. Online social networks and the social media are also forcing a trend towards globalization since people now have opportunities to directly communicate with others and share their views and opinions through on-line social media regardless of distance and differences in region and location, religion, gender, age, etc. The new mode of interacting through on-line social media has influenced businesses, political organizations, governments, intelligence agencies, etc. These organizations watch online social networks and social media closely so that they remain up-to-date on trend in social interactions and information sharing which in turn enable improved awareness and planning. The increased availability and popularity of online social networks and social media has similarly spurred research into social network behavior and social network properties. Practitioners are also interested in learning about these new technologies that are now dominating society to a larger and larger extent. This encyclopedia is therefore intended to serve as a unique and valuable source for information about social networks and social media. It aims to be self contained by including all the information one needs to know about social networks and social media, from basic concepts to more advanced theories and to applications. It will include discussions on the underlying infrastructure and on the various techniques for analysis and knowledge discovery. Discussions on future trends in research and practice will also be included.
- Social Networks,
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