Systems Theory and Social Networking: Investigation of Systems Theory principles in Web 2.0 Social Network Systems

Mangal, Varun
September 2012
International Journal of Business & Commerce;Sep2012, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p117
Academic Journal
With over 2 billion internet users logging in more than 142,460,000,000 hours per month online, the web has become an integral part of life today. Possible employers look at profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn to judge potential employees. Wikipedia has become the ultimate source for information. Society communicates through the web. Social media has become the dominant shared characteristic on the Internet, with an estimated 49.3% of the top 10,000 websites in the world having links to Facebook, the most popular social networking website, on their respective homepages. And, all online websites and forms of social media can be considered systems. Self-organization, resilience, and hierarchy are theorized to improve the function of a system. In viewing social networks as systems, there is conflict with the theory that hierarchy improves the function of a system. This paper uses the popularly used social media site, Facebook, to study which aspects of the function of a system relate to the lack of hierarchy. Through a survey of Facebook users on their usage of various features of Facebook, and the comparison of these findings to predictions made on the usage of each of these features using Systems theory, conclusions are reached on how the absence of hierarchy in social media sites impacts the system.


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