The Role Of Informatics In The Development Of Social Networks

role of informatics The integration of informatics in all facets of life has created a major impact on our society. Our lives are increasingly dependent on technology and the absence of the same will cause our daily lives to come to a standstill. The advent of phones, computers and internet have been major breakthroughs in the world of information and communication technology as they are vital mediums in connecting people across the globe, thus providing a foundation for the development and growth of a gamut of social networking services.

Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites today where users upload pictures, update statuses and share posts. A few individuals and companies also use Facebook to promote their business via groups and pages. In addition to Facebook, there are many other sites for various purposes that help expand one’s social network. Quora and the Stack Exchange network are leading question and answer sites for users to find information on a wide range of subjects by asking people with relevant expertise. Zomato and Yelp helps users find restaurants and follow the reviews of trusted food experts. Edx and Coursera provide a platform for students to take up courses online and seek assistance from other students, professors or experts.

Complex computational requirements for large scale applications build upon robust hardware. In addition, storage demands are increasing exponentially to sustain the ever-growing data. Although well-established organizations such as Facebook and Google have their own data centres, many other businesses are opting for cloud platforms because it is considered to be hassle free, and providing better flexibility, reliability, security, and recovery mechanisms. Organizations choose from models such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS based on their requirements and benefit from paying only for the resources they use.

While hardware reliability is the focus of extensive research, the onus is on the software to leverage the hardware effectively too. Earlier, different applications were built using similar set of programming languages, but today, different programming languages and technological stacks exist for the development of a particular application. Frameworks and libraries exist for various purposes, and developers are spoiled for choice to choose a particular framework that would fit their needs. Users are becoming very particular about the user interface and experience. It is the duty of a front-end designer to build a user interface which is completely intuitive, fluid and responsive as lots of users access websites and apps using handheld devices these days.

Data has been increasing at an alarming rate for the last few years. A multitude of attacks are carried out to obtain vital information. Users and organizations expect a variety of privacy options to cater their needs to prevent any sort of abuse of their data. It is the duty of developers to build a secure application as hackers resort to methods like spambots, SQL injections, Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) to carry out malicious attacks on web applications.

Data is abundant and the relations between data are getting more complex day by day. Organizations not only store plain text data but also multimedia data such as images and videos. Almost all social networking giants have moved to non-relational databases. Many new technological stacks and programming languages being released today support the functionality of working with non-relational databases. Data analysts and scientists are constantly working towards finding useful information from unstructured data using different mining and machine learning algorithms.

With the insights gleaned from using the above mentioned techniques, the focus now turns to how these large result sets are visualized to the user. Google Analytics is one of the best tools to get insights in the form of different charts and graphs about the performance of a website. This information helps people fine tune certain aspects of their websites to attain a wider reach. Github provides visual statistics to keep track of the frequency and kind of contributions made to different repositories which can be beneficial for organizations looking to hire developers.

Organizations use different kinds of social computing techniques and natural language processing algorithms to perform sentiment analysis for a particular product. In addition, it also makes use of the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) offered by social networking sites to extract meaningful data and structure them. It helps organizations in promotions and expands their user base every time a product is launched in the market. R Programming is one such language which offers various packages to obtain data from different sources and present them graphically in the form of scatter plots and bar graphs to mention a few. D3.js is a JavaScript library which works with data-driven documents and provides clean visualizations of data.

Organizations also target consumers via advertisements by leveraging the services offered by social networking sites to widen their client base. Numerous mining and machine learning algorithms are used which helps in keeping a close tab on user activity by suggesting products based on relevant browsing activity. This is also true in the case of sites like LinkedIn and Coursera. LinkedIn suggests companies, groups and people to follow based on our network and professional interests while Coursera suggests us courses to take based on earlier and frequent search queries.

In the last few years, social networking services have witnessed widespread expansion in our society and it is informatics which has been the mainstay of social networks leveraging different fields of computer science and information technology. It has provided the basis and paved the way for novel areas of research such as human-centred computing, ubiquitous computing and internet-of-things to mention a few. Although the increase in the usage of social networking services is significant, informatics will be the driving force in further development of social networks, thus opening up new vistas for human interaction across the globe.

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