Friend Me!

600 Years of Social Networking in America

  • Interest Level: Grade 5 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

Anyone who texts recognizes “LOL,” “2G2BT,” and “PRW” as shorthand for “laughing out loud,” “too good to be true,” and “parents are watching.” But did you know that in the 1800s—when your great-great-great-grandparents were alive—telegraph operators used similar abbreviations in telegrams? For example, “GM,” “SFD,” and “GA” meant “good morning,” “stop for dinner,” and “go ahead.” At the time, telegrams were a new and superfast way for people to network with others.

Social networking isn’t a new idea. People have been connecting in different versions of circles and lists and groups for centuries. The broad range of social media includes wampum belts, printed broadsides (early newspapers), ring shouts (secret slave gatherings with singing and dancing), calling cards, telegrams, and telephones. The invention of the Internet—and e-mail, text messaging, and social utilities such as Facebook and Google+—is just the latest way in which humans network for fun, work, romance, spiritual bonding, and many other reasons.

Friend Me! takes readers through the amazing history of social networking in the United States, from early Native American councils to California’s Allen Telescope Array (ATA), where researchers are hoping to interact with extraterrestrial beings. Learn how Americans have been connecting in imaginative ways throughout history, and you’ll see social networking in a whole new light.

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Interest Level Grade 5 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Social Studies, Young Adult
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Publication Date 2015-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 8.3
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS YAN052060, YAN051110
Dewey 302.3
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Lexile 1040
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Index, Primary source quotations/images, Reviewed, Source notes, and Table of contents

Author: Francesca Davis DiPiazza

Francesca Davis DiPiazza grew up loving the smell of books; but as soon as she saw a computer, she thought, Terrific! more ways to share more words with more people! Online since 1994, she still uses an orange 1970s rotary-dial phone. One of her cultural geography books for Lerner Publishing Group, Zimbabwe in Pictures, won the Society of School Librarians International Book Award.


  • SSLI Book Award Honor Book, Commended, 2013


The Horn Book Guide

“From early Native American cultures to present-day scientists hoping to interact with possible extraterrestrial beings, people continue to reach out to others for a variety of purposes. Black-and-white photographs and diagrams combine with sidebars and a well-researched text to present the history and future of social networking and the means employed to connect with individuals and groups.” —The Horn Book

Library Media Connection

“This is a thought-provoking book on how human beings have connected over the centuries… If students read this book, they will learn significant facts about the history of society in America.” —Library Media Connection


“Informative, interesting, and socially relevant—you will want to add this to your collection.” —VOYA


“The solid information will make this useful for reports, while the pleasing design set off by touches of blue, as well as the sufficient black-and-white archival photos placed throughout, make this plenty appealing for browsers.” —Booklist

School Library Journal

“Unfamiliar words are defined in context, and numerous captioned black-and-white photos and sidebars add additional appeal to this fascinating topic.” —School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“What this book does best is place current modes of social media and their impact in a historical context and encourage readers to think about social networking in a whole new way.” —Kirkus Reviews