What is most important to understand is the fact that electronic commerce is now starting to emerge into an entirely new way. The Google Adsense, Craiglist.com has made the advertising cheaper and readily reachable to the targeted audience.
The idea of social networking1 added much to this concept as now marketers are targeting such social networking communities to derive strong word of mouth for the products and services they offer. Therefore social networking coupled with electronic commerce not provided an opportunity to meet and broaden the social network of individuals but marketers also tapped a new avenue for marketing the products and services in much unique and effective way.
As discussed above that social network are groups who share common characteristics and are willing to formulate common platforms which help them to discuss and share their interests, attitudes, likings, disliking, professional information etc. However, what is critical is the fact that social networks have now emerged in much broader sense. Information technology has broadened the scope and depth of such networks by providing a cheap alternative of meeting electronically. As a result, not only ordinary social networks such as facebook emerged but professional social networks have been developed too where professional belonging to same profession often discuss their ideas and information.
While discussing social networking, it is also important to discuss social software, a new word which is re-defining how people tend to meet. Social software has been defined as a set of social tools which allow its users to create, support, manage as well as discover interpersonal relationships. (Teten & Allen, 2005). In an essence, therefore, a social software provide an opportunity to support the conversaton between the members or groups, create and support the social feedback received during that conversation and finally help the emergence of social networks. This can be achieved either through formation of personal websites, online forums, instant messengers such as MSN and Yahoo, creating blogs or finally websites such as facebook, myspace etc.
Castells define a network society as a society "whose social structure is made of networks powered by microelectronics-based information and communication technologies" (Manuel. Castells, 2004). This very definition hints towards how the information flows with the help of new technologies and subsequently helps to formulate societies which share particular traits or characteristics. One of the commonest characteristics is the use of information technology to get connected with each other. Viewing in that perspective, social networking may also be described as potential network or electronic societies which allow people to formulate groups that share common characteristics.
The following quote from one of the articles appearing on Wharton@ knowledge website suggest that popularity of such social networks:
"MySpace, with 70 million visitors, has become the digital equivalent of hanging out at the mall for today's teens, who load the site with photos, news