It's a phenomenon which seems to have come from nowhere, but in fact computer-based social networks have been around for decades. In this three-part series the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan Jones traces the hidden story of social networking, from the early days of computing and the 60s counterculture through to the businesses worth billions today. From their roots in utopian experiments in California, online social networks spread around the world. In the past few years companies such as Facebook and Twitter have captivated millions of users. But what will be the next big thing in social networking, and how is it changing our lives? This series was originally broadcast in three weekly parts from 26 January 2011.
Wed, 9 Feb 11
Rory Cellan-Jones looks at the social networking sites of the future and asks where the phenomenon is heading. New sites are springing up all the time. The future of social networking could lie in localised sites geared towards specific interests, in limiting your online circle to your closest friends, or in sites that allow users to keep control of their personal information. Finally, Rory returns to the social networking pioneers of the 70s and 80s. How do the hippies and hackers who created the first social networks think their revolution has turned out? Part 3 of 3.
Wed, 2 Feb 11
Rory Cellan-Jones tells the story of the social networking scramble of the early 2000s and finds out how Facebook emerged to become world's biggest social network. Facebook wasn't the first site of its kind - other businesses had a lot in common with Mark Zuckerberg's efforts - but its simplicity and the single-minded focus of its CEO gave it an advantage over the competition. With big growth has come big controversy, over privacy, security, and targeted advertising. Rory finds out that some people are becoming more wary about what they share online - could new networks spot a gap in the market and steal Facebook's crown? Part 2 of 3.
Wed, 26 Jan 11
Rory Cellan-Jones traces the roots of social networking from the counterculture of the 70s through early bulletin boards and the first networks on the World Wide Web. Forty years ago, hippies and hackers came together to produce the first attempts at online community. Rory follows the trend through to the arrival of the World Wide Web, which turned a mass audience on to the internet and social networking. Part 1 of 3.
Wed, 26 Jan 11
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