Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > The Web/Virtual Worlds/Social Networking

Dawn of the Social Age

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Social Networking and the Social Age

In our consideration of the Social Age, Roosevelt’s example is also instructive. Roosevelt found that the best method of effective organization was to speak to the largest number of people possible over the least expensive medium. He was leveraging the social aspect of radio to create an unprecedented sense of unity in the country and support for the war. As Roosevelt demonstrated, and as we’ve seen repeatedly in the Social Age, the greatest value of low-cost communication is its capability to enhance the effectiveness of crowds and organizational efforts across a wider range of communities.

The radio also dramatically compressed the time required for news to be distributed, and at a much lower cost than newspapers or other traditional methods. The invention of the television followed with even greater communication power. In fewer than 30 years—from 1950 to 1978—households owning televisions in the United States rose from 9 percent to 98 percent.11 Television is a prime example of the way communication cost has steadily decreased in the modern era, as illustrated in Figure 1.3.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3 Decreasing cost of communication in each modern historical era.

Although television was an early step in the Information Age, the advent of computers—particularly personal computers—marked the high point of the Information Age and laid the foundation for the Social Age. Beginning in 2000, we entered the transition from the Information Age to the Social Age as fully enabled and “smart” electronic networks were rapidly becoming populated with social services and tools such as Classmates and YouTube. Mass communication up to that time was essentially a unidirectional medium. But now, for the first time, meaningful two-way communication was possible on the Web, using Web 2.0-enabling technology that arrived on the scene around that time.

The Semantic Web

Social networking tools such as wikis and blogs are possible only because of a bidirectional communications technology known as the Semantic Web. The Semantic Web created the concept of a smart document that is aware of its own content via Extensible Markup Language (XML) tags. A host of technologies support this trend including Resource Description Framework (RDF), Web Ontology Language (OWL), and other XML extensions. For example, if you update a page that is content-aware, the update will be reflected in other related sites. Simply put, when someone changes something on a content-aware Web site “A,” Web sites “B,” “C,” and “D” have their content dynamically updated as well.

The Semantic Web innovations, combined with two-way communication-capable web pages, such as wikis, blogs, and other social networking tools, created a completely new way to get organized, provide information, and collaborate. In turn these changes created even greater efficiencies and propelled social tools to broad acceptance by the general public.

These changes are also happening inside the protected environment of the corporate firewall. For the first time, lower-cost Internet communication and two-way web technologies have enabled businesses to collaborate and leverage large and diverse internal and external communities through social networking services.

Social networking is a critical long-term shift of the Internet revolution and is the primary catalyst of the Social Age. Suddenly, smart content and two-way communication empowers the individual to be heard in a meaningful way. Each person’s opinion carries the same weight as fellow collaborators. Everyone’s credibility is enhanced and his or her opinion is important. Particularly in decision making, the opinion of the crowd is now vital to final outcomes.

As social networking tools gained popularity, the world became increasingly instrumented. Through radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, and other technologies, the previously insensate world suddenly got “smart.” New two-way communication devices can sense human activity, monitor supply chain workflow for bottlenecks, and even analyze weather patterns, making our world smarter and more efficient.

In comments to the Council on Foreign Relations in November 2008, IBM’s CEO Sam Palmisano picked up on this theme. “The world will continue to become smaller, flatter...and smarter,” he said. “We are moving into the age of the globally integrated and intelligent economy, society and planet.” He concluded with a challenge: “The question is what we are going to do with that?”12

This is certainly a question we do well to ask ourselves, and one we address in more detail in Chapter 2, “Social Age Organizations.”

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020