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Social Network Design

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The main purpose of this report is to briefly analyze two different social networks, pinpointing their virtues and drawbacks. To this end, the rationale behind the success of Facebook will be analyzed. This will help to understand and liquidate the flaws that impede the development of another social network (VK).

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Facebook is a paragon of the successful social networking service. It is aimed at uniting old school friends, university group mates, work colleagues, distant relatives and neighbors into one big family. The fact that registration on Facebook is and, according to the statement of its founder Mark Zuckerberg, always will be free-of-charge is the first and major aspect that contributes to its popularity. People from all strata of society, who have attained the age of 13 and can afford a computer with Internet access, feel free to sign up with Facebook. According to Findlay (2009), “There are about 10,000 students (professionals and young professionals not yet included) who are joining into Facebook every day”. The second important factor is its ease of handling. New users rapidly accommodate to the website’s interface and do not get usually bogged down in the quagmire of unnecessary functions. Another aspect that Facebook users ardently preach up is the possibility to chat with friends, i.e. to send instant messages. “Many people use Facebook chat for group discussions, while some businesses use it for short meetings” (Scientific Era, 2013). Moreover, the ability to make live voice calls has been introduced recently. The fourth aspect that encourages a broad audience to register on Facebook is the fact that this social network serves as a platform for the media files exchange. People can upload their personal photos and videos, and create albums. Interoperability of Facebook with other popular websites and services (YouTube, The Economist etc.) allows users to share interesting articles and videos with their friends in a matter of seconds. And last, but certainly not least, users may join and create common-interest groups.

VK, formerly known as Vkontakte, is the largest in Europe Russian-based social networking service. It operates in all post-Soviet republics as well as in the rest of the world. From the very beginning of its creation, it emulated the model of Facebook. VK’s design and interface clearly partake of its American counterpart. The biggest problem of VK is its lack of authenticity and originality. It is a copycat of Facebook to a large extent. The same changes take place on VK simultaneously with those on Facebook. On the plus side, people registered on VK enjoy easier access to music and movies from around the world. They do not need to browse external links, as VK harbors an enormous media library. That is why many companies sue VK for the copyright infringement. “VK claims it only provides web hosting services for its users and therefore cannot be liable for any copyright violations” (East-West Digital News, 2012). Video-call possibility and mini-blog introduction corroborate the idea that VK may supplant all other famous social networks (YouTube, Skype, Twitter etc.) on the post-Soviet area. There used to be an anonymous questions service on VK until recently. Another serious problem of VK is the fact that many services it provides come and go. Its administration seems to be experimenting with the social network, deleting certain services unbeknownst to users. Many of them remonstrate at these outrages, but the website’s administration seldom differs to their admonitions. As compared to VK, Facebook warns its users of the impending innovations in a timely manner. The procedure of changing name on VK is an unmitigated ordeal. It usually takes a few months until the administration considers a request to do so.

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VK leaves much to be desired. It is extremely popular with the population of the post-Soviet countries, but it owes much of its success to the general paucity of other CIS-based social networks, as well as to the ideas stolen from Facebook. In order to embark on the way of transform, VK administration should solve two major problems:

  • Stop stealing ideas from its American counterpart, and
  • Take users’ advice and recommendations into consideration.

A myriad of users lose interest in VK after the implementation of some grotesque and bizarre innovations. Spammers are ubiquitous on VK and incidents of fraud occur regularly. Moreover, users’ profiles are stolen oftentimes. To address these issues is a gruesome task for the VK administration. After the introduction of “followers” option, it became harder for VK users to maintain privacy, as they cannot prohibit others from following them publicly.

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There are many more aspects regarding the improvement of this social network servicing, but it is very doubtful that VK will do something about its shortcomings. Wisdom has always been in short supply with the VK administration.

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