A social networking site can be defined as an online service that is based around the building and reflecting of social relations among individuals with common interests or social ties (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). Social networking sites such as Friendster, Linkedin, Spoke, Face book, MySpace and Twitter all vary slightly, yet the one main feature they have is that they enable users to create a profile within the website to represent themselves and allows uses to interact through email, instant messaging and other integrated communication channels within the site (Papacharissi, 2009).
When I traveled through Eastern Europe in the wake of the 1989 revolutions, I carried a computer and a portable printer. I typed up my dispatches, printed them out, and sent them back to my employers by air mail. Even with the lag time of a week or more, my reports on conversations with activists, academics, and politicians remained fresh. Email, after all, was still rudimentary in 1990. The World Wide Web was still three years in the future. Blogs wouldn’t debut until four years after that. Change was rapid in Eastern Europe in 1990. But for both activists and observers, the printed word still carried enormous weight.