in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. A type of confidence trick for the purpose of information gathering. The term "social engineering" as an act of psychological manipulation is also associated with the social sciences, but its usage has caught on among computer and information security professionals.
Now that we all understand what Social Engineering means in definition, let's talk about how it relates to us on the everyday basis.
In society, there are patterns- patterns in traffic, patterns in music, patterns in communication reactions, patterns in Stocks- they're all related, related to a specific psychology.
The key is to notice these patterns and develop a situational code, a set of commonalities that can be used to sway a conversation. For an example: There's a pattern of the types of baby names that are trending or common depending on the year and the location(s). A good example is the name "Sarah" - Sarah was amongst one of the top 100 most common names amongst the US in 1990s. Now to flip on some more lights in your heads: Take into account the other popular things in that year. Models of cars, types of toys that boys had, types of toys girls had, the way people communicated with each other then, as opposed to now.
Here's my point - the kicker - you can use all of that information to convince someone you know them, with a little bit of some public information snooping - you can use that to work your way towards finding information on just about anyone. It sounds sick, in a disgusting way, but, I'm writing this to help people understand how systematic our psychology is and with the combination of that plus the amount of public information people share about themselves is a recipe for getting socially con'ed.
There are patterns in Human Interactions that can surprise you if you can find them.