The word ‘networking’ is obtained from the word ‘network’, which, is formed by joining two English words namely; ‘net’ and ‘work’. According to Computing-Dictionary.com (2011), networking can be defined as either “the working or organization of a network or the process of interconnecting more than or two computers for exchanging information.”
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The computers do not necessarily need to be in the same room; thus, networking cannot be limited by distance. In computing, networking forms the foundation of data sharing and communication between computers but the term has also received extended meanings.
In computing, networking involves application of both computer hardware and computer software. SearchNetworking.com (2011) defines networking as “the construction, design, and use of a network that include physical devices, telecommunication protocol and computer software.” The definition further extends to management of the network and establishment of operation policies concerning the network. The physical devices involved in a “computer network include cables, router, bridge, hub, and switch” (SearchNetworking.com, 2011).
As aforementioned, the word network is uniquely a juxtaposition of two English words, ‘net’ and ‘work’. Although the “two component words originate from Germanic stock, the juxtaposition was first made in English and later imitated by the Germans as ‘Netzwerk’… The Latin term ‘opus reticulatum’ literally means ‘net work’ and therefore it may have formed the prototype of the English word” (Briggs, 2004).
‘Opus Reticulatum’ is a type of brickwork ordered so that the mortar lines appear like a net. According to Briggs (2004), the earliest occurrence in English is in the Geneva bible of 1560 although the spelling appears differently in subsequent editions. The word is used in different situations throughout history from reticulate structures in animals and plants, rivers and canals, railways, distribution of electrical cables and later wireless broadcasting network in 1914.
Today the word networking means different things beyond just computing. The common thing about all the definitions is that all of them originate from the literal meaning of joining. Networking means, “covering an item with an openwork fabric or structure” (Thefreedictionary.com, 2011).
This implies that the covering of the item is termed networking. As noted earlier one of the latest use of the term network referred to wireless broadcasting, thus networking is used to mean broadcasting over a radio or television network and this broadcasting is mainly done without use of cables hence termed as wireless broadcasting.
The latest invention of the use of the word networking is in the business and social settings. Here the basic meaning of the term has been applied in an intransitive state to mean interaction or engagement in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support (Thefreedictionary.com, 2011). Further, it means forming business links and contacts through informal social confluences.
This meaning has led to emergence of social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, whose foundation is to provide a platform for connecting people. The meaning of the term networking has expanded to include communication, make contact, exchange information, mingle or meet.
When friends locate each other on social networking sites, they term it as networking. The business community has also formed forums for sharing information and knowledge both formal and informal to improve their profitability, which is also termed as networking.
Therefore, the term networking though a computing term, is applied to mean different things in different situations. The origin of the term and the literal meaning, follow the aspect of connection between several items where these items are either devices or people.
Briggs, K. (2004). Etymology of the words network, net, and work. Web.
Computing-Dictionary. (2011). Networking. Web.
Search Networking. (2011). Networking. Web.
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Thefree dictionary. (2011). Networking. Web.