Social network sites can be approached in several ways. They can be seen as globalized, as there are many different social network sites all over the world and their number is still increasing. Even though each social network site offers different aspects - like free or no free access, change language settings, the possibility to add pictures, write a blog - the main character of each website is comparable. The idea of social network sites in a grobalized context (McDonaldization) is that the way of communicating becomes increasingly simplified and is moving away from the local level. Especially the face to face contact (as described by Anthony Giddens) is becoming less important, as social activity is getting disconnected from the context of presence.
Hyves can also be interpreted as a glocalized version of social network sites in general. Hyves contains all characteristics of these sites, but it distinguishes itself by maintaining a local – or national – character. In the nearby future, the goal of Hyves is to stay focused on the Dutch public.
As becomes clear out of the case study, our Hyves network is mostly dispersed around the place of residence, the former places of residence and the large cities of the Netherlands. Even in the networks of friends’ friends, there is still an intensive connection with Groningen. Within the majority of friends, Groningen is the second city with the largest amount of cases. People who are between the age of thirteen and thirty-four know the largest amount of Hyves-users. This group contains young adults, including students, and may influence the fact that large places know many Hyves-users. Besides that large places simply have more inhabitants, they are also places with universities and higher educations. Therefore they may attract people out of the target group.
The small survey shows that in our group of respondents, Hyves is most frequently used to make contact with people who live in the same place of residence and with people who live in the rest of the Netherlands. The option to make contact with people who live outside the Netherlands is not mentioned by any of the respondents. This fortifies the data that shows that Hyves is mostly used nationally and does not have the ambition (yet) to grow internationally.
Hyves connects and disconnects people at the same time. On the one hand it may stimulate people to make contact, because distance is becoming less important. Especially people who do not live close to a person’s place of residence, are reached more easily in a virtual world. Social networks sites enable people to create and maintain a large and diffuse network. On the other hand, people who are close in absolute space, can become more distant because contact is made in a virtual way.