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Social networking is simply grouping together of individuals into certain groups that have similar characteristics in order to communicate effectively. In addition, social networking is nowadays considered as interactions between individuals on the internet social networks. These individuals may know each other or else they do not. Social networking is good if well used by people who are interested to learn about each other and make good relationships while some people may abuse the service by carrying out immoral practices on the network.
However, in online social networking, many individuals use social networking websites. These social sites have same function as online community of individuals using the internet. Depending on the social site an individual uses, many of the social sites members have common characteristics such as hobbies, political interests, religion and moreover same language. Operating in a social network site once you are a member includes contacting other individuals after having read their profile information and possibly forming a social network group.
Furthermore, social networking has many benefits. First amongst them is making of friends and relations. These friends in most cases are of different regions of the world thus creating a social diversity. Social diversity has many benefits as well amongst them is diversification of culture. Therefore, it implies that once you are in United Kingdom, you can have a friend in United States through social sites and share ideas that may help you change the living styles and adopt new living style. Social networking also contributes to the growth of languages. For instance, an individual in United States may learn Chinese language through a social network friend (Glaser).
Second, social networking is cheaper for individual or organizational use. Internet has low cost which will help a person to communicate to another or group of persons at a lower cost as compared to other means of communication. Large organizations save a lot of money through social sites. In most cases an organization requires a social network page where it communicates information that is not secret to its stakeholders. Through social sites a business organization can fetch out potential customers and markets easily and conveniently. However, it is also possible to learn on areas of improvement on products by getting to know the interests of the customers (Baron).
Third, social networking offers instant feedback. It is possible for an individual to ask questions over the network and get feedback immediately. In another case, a business organization willing to develop a product will require to bounce it off to its stakeholders on the social network and learn from their thoughts about it. This will help in ensuring that a business organization produces a product that will perform effectively in the market. In academic sector, social networking will help a student to discuss arguments with other students on the network as well as teachers. This implies that social networking can help in improving knowledge of an individual.
Fourth, social networking enhances sharing of multiple views and ideas. It is hard for individuals who do not have a social network contacts to learn different views of different people. Social network helps in directing people into having a common view of a situation once they interact and share their ideas. Individuals who are on the social networking site have ultimate exposure that helps them to learn to look at things in different perspectives and become tolerant of other individuals' opinions and suggestions.
Fifth, social networking helps an individual to stay in touch in most places across the world. The coming up of mobile cell phones that are internet enabled has helped in tracking missing individuals and containing gang robbers. An individual can stay in touch, share ideas, and make plans with friends and social groups anywhere and at any time. For instance, if this individual gets into problems, social friends and groups can be contacted.
Sixth, another great benefit of social network is social development. A social network is a powerful instrument that individuals in a certain social environment can use to bring social change and development. For instance, Egyptians used social networks such as facebook, twitter, myspace, YouTube among others to push their dictatorial leaders out of power. In co-operate sector, employees also raise their grievances into social networks which act effectively into bringing changes and development.
On the contrary, social networking has numerous negative effects to the society. First amongst them is time wastage because some people get addicted to it thus spending more time networking. Social networking is specifically designed for fun and communication purpose between different parties. At times, individuals spend much of their time on the social sites. Eventually, this leads to running out of time while there are things that are unattended to. For instance, a student may end up not doing assignments and class works (ProCon.org, Social Networking).
Second, social sites lack secrecy. Most social networking sites allow individuals to post their basic information on the profile page. Many users end up posting important information about them on these pages. Sharing of confidential information has risky impacts to the individuals. For instance, an individual may become vulnerable to sexual acts or financial conmen and in some cases embarrassing photos and information can make somebody to lose a job opportunity.
Third, many social network users claim to be who they are not. This makes people vulnerable to solicitors who mask their original identities. For instance, 2009, MySpace recognized that it had 90,000 individuals who were registered sex offenders. At the same time Facebook declined to make public how many it had on its site. However, even if the social sites have the same opinion as to eliminate sex offenders and other monsters, it is not possible to recognize all of them. Even if they succeed they cannot stop them from creating fresh accounts.
Fourth, the excessive use of social network sites can cause character and brain disorder and addiction especially to young individuals. Such effects include; a child may suffer from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), inability to have actual conversation, imperfect concentration span, need for immediate enjoyment, and other self-centered personality. At the beginning, use of social network cannot affect individual's character but as the time goes by, brain gets used to another working environment which comes along with behavioral changes (Ronca).
Fifth, there is minimal security in the social networking sites. However, this false wisdom of security may an individual vulnerable to dangerous acts such as hacking, leaking of insightful information, and distribution viruses. In addition, many individuals trust messages that are sent through social sites furthermore they regard them to be more convenient than emails. Moreover, these sites do not scan messages for viruses unlike email accounts.
In conclusion, social networking sites have improved our living while at the same time they have posed us against greater risks than before. Proponents support their arguments by saying that social networking promotes increased social interactions with other individuals; familiarize people with new beliefs and cultures. Therefore they say that social network is good for people. However, opponents argue that dangers of social networking outweigh its benefits. They argue that these sites expose innocent users to monsters who disguise their real characters and this endangers people's lives and wealth. Social sites also poise dangers to our computers to viruses which may be distributed over the network. Thus social networks need to be used by all round users who are aware of the dangers the sites have.