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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking

Social networking is a recent invention that has the Internet still at the edge of its seat due to its popularity with people. This is mostly because it really is for the people. Bringing every kind of social group together in one place and letting them interact is really a big thing indeed. Everything about it lies on the advantages and disadvantages of social networking, and what it can do for you. Here are the advantages that can be more than enough for you to want to join in. Low Costs Definitely, it's cheaper to use online social networking for both personal and business use because most of it is usually free. While personal use is rather simple for anyone, the business functions are underestimated by many. In a social networking site, you can scout out potential customers and target markets with just a few clicks and keystrokes, adding a boost to your usual advertisements and promotional strategies. It lets you learn about their likes and dislikes, which is tremendous. If you want to fine tune your business, then this is the way to go, whether on a budget or not. Builds Credibility You definitely can gain the customers' confidence if you can connect to them on both a personal and professional level. Despite having to do a bit of work, it definitely pays off as you

can be tapped for an offer if someone catches wind of your products or services. As long as you don't pursue them too aggressively, you will do well here. Connections You are friends with people who have other friends, and so on. There is potential in such a common situation. By using a social networking site, you can do what you can and get connected with these people to form a web of connections that can give you leverage if you play your cards right. As long as you give as well as you recieve, then they will most likely stick with you. These connections are definitely valuable in the long run. That definitely sounds enticing. However, what about the disadvantages though?

DISADVANTAGES

Lack of Anonymity You are putting out information about your name, location, age, gender, and many other types of information that you may not want to let others know. Most people would say be careful, but no one can be certain at any given time. As long as people can know who you exactly are, then some can find ways to do you in. Scams and Harassment There is a potential for failure of security in both personal and business context. While many sites apply certain measures to keep any of these cases of harassment, cyber-stalking, online scams, and identity theft to an absolute minimum, you still may never know. Time Consuming If this is not your kind of thing, that it would just be a waste of time for you. The key to social networking is that it is supposed to be fun, whether you are just doing it for kicks or clicking around for business purposes. That should be reasonable enough for anyone, but there are those people who don't see the point. For them, it can be a disadvantage. Now there is something to really think about. Nothing is without a blemish, but those of this type of networking shouldn't really be that much of a concern regarding your safety. As long as you go along without making big mistakes, then it is all good. You can take advantage of the Internet phenomenon that continues up to this day. Once you understand the advantages and disadvantages of social networking, then you can cruise through without fail.

These days the social networking sites have become extremely popular among the youth as well as the professional people. Keeping in mind, the growing popularity of these sites and the effect it has and the benefits that it brings along, it can be easily predicted that its popularity is sure to grow much more. Some of the sites such as Friendster and MySpace are the two most popular sites that aim to build special niche for people who share common interests and passions. Whereas social networking sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn are more professionally related and help the business men promote their businesses. However, everything has a positive and negative side. Similarly, the social networking sites are also made up of their set of pros and cons. Analyzing The Pros of social networking: The social networking websites are more like the virtual meeting places where people can just chill and hang out with friends. They can discuss on different topics, share information, and exchange files and pictures. There are some people who use these sites as a platform to meet long lost friend and batch mates, whereas there are others for whom it becomes a bridge to meet their future love. You can either reconnect with your friends and family members or search a dating partner. Some people also use these websites to promote their blogs and services. The professional people uses this as a medium to raise their visibility, get noticed, tell about their company, service, and get more clients. By joining different communities, now people can easily know about the latest news related to that community. You can easily get the experts advice on any challenge you may face related to their topic of interest. And the best part of this is that the advice is free. You don't need to pay a single paisa for it. Experts are always ready to give their advice and share information with you. These are just some of the several positive things that have contributed to make social networking really popular among people and spread smiles. It has made world a small pace and everyone can stay connected.

Analyzing The Cons of social networking: Social networking of course helps in a lot of ways but the users have to really careful to stay secure and safe. Security is one of the top most concerns of social networking sites that you currently use. This is mainly because the social networking sites allow you to display your personal information such as name, location, and email address. There are some people who always in search of a fake identity. If they get all the information about you on internet, they may use your identity for different type of illegal activities, which may cause you problems in future. It is always advisable to don't provide your entire identity information online. You may get many requests for adding as friends or joining different communities. Always try to know as much as possible before adding anyone as friend or joining any community. Because they may use fake identity or may involve in some illegal activities, which may spoil your image.

5 Must-know Disadvantages of Social Media: 1. The wrong online brand strategy could put you at a viral social disadvantage and may even damage your reputation, i.e, when you make a mistake offline, a few will know but when you make a mistake in front of hundreds or thousands of you online audience, most of them will know! 2. Using social media for marketing and advertising could be more time consumingthan companies expect. 3. In order to get social medias full effect, you need to understand how it works,when and how to use it and which channels to focus on depending on your end goal of using social media. 4. Social media can have a negative influence on worker productivity. Employees may waste valuable time using social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. They can also use social media to attack the companys reputation! 5. When social media is used excessively or in the wrong way, it could have serious detrimental outcomes on both mental and even physical health of individuals.

5 Must-know Advantages of Social Media:


1. When using social media for marketing products, social media could be easily utilized to create cost effective strategies and campaigns that can create viral results. 2. Social media has the power to drive traffic to your website, blog, articles, etc. 3. Social media is able to bring people together, especially when promoting global products or cause-related campaigns and ideas since it allows people from the different geographical location to meet at a single point and express their views. 4. Social media could be the spark you are looking for to attract attention to your site, product or service. It could also be used

to further build loyalty and long-term relations with your audience. 5. Social media marketing could always be a fun and creative method of doing business.

This paper aims to discuss the negative impacts that social networking sites pose on todays media savy generation. It is apart of my study for the unit Internet Communications and Social Networks and fits into the social networking stream. A social networking site can be defined as an online service that is based around the building and reflecting of social relations among individuals with common interests or social ties (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). Social networking sites such as Friendster, Linkedin, Spoke, Face book, MySpace and Twitter all vary slightly, yet the one main feature they have is that they enable users to create a profile within the website to represent themselves and allows uses to interact through email, instant messaging and other integrated communication channels within the site (Papacharissi, 2009). The popularity and growth of social networking sites over the past five years has been colossal, as many people from all over the world join up to this social phenomenon for varied reasons. Today, there are more than 500 million active users on face book and users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on this social networking site (Facebook, 2011). As the technology of Web 2.0 improves and advances, social networking sites have an even bigger impact on society and human relationships, both positive and negative. This paper argues that social networking sites have a negative influence on children, teenagers and adults, increase the ease and prominence of cyber bullying, increase personal

insecurities and feed addictions and weaken strong personal ties. This paper also argues that social networks create distraction and decrease productivity and profits within the workplace and can also can jeopardise a companys reputation. Social networks also increase the ease of identity theft and bring to light other privacy issues as well as lead to an overall decrease in our face to face social skills and confidence. This paper will demonstrate that social networking sites do cause more harm than good. Identity Theft Identity theft is a huge problem in todays society and has come about as a result of the rapid expansion and availability of internet technology and the increase in personal data found on social networking sites. In fact A total of 806,000 Australians aged 15 years and over were victims of at least one incident of personal fraud in or identity theft in 2008 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008).Sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter facilate identity theft in two mains ways. The first being is that sites encourage you to edit your profile this includes adding your interests, full name, where you live, who your top friends are, your email address and even personal details like your phone number an relationship status. Users share a variety of information about themselves on their Facebook profiles, including photos, contact information, and tastes in movies and books.(Jones & Soltren, 2005). This information disclosure causes a huge problem as the more information you have on your profile the easier it is for identity thieves to verify themselves as being you. The second main issue is the privacy settings on these social networking sites also help faccilate personal fraud. Whilst there are built in features that allow users to change their privacy settings and not allow other users to

view such personal details, these settings are never default, so that users are usually unaware how much information they are sharing not only with their friends, but with the rest of the world By default, profiles on Friendster and Tribe.net are crawled by search engines, making them visible to anyone, regardless of whether or not the viewer has an account (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). A general lack of awareness amongst users and the fact that digital identity can be easily hacked makes social networking sites a hub for identity theft which results in unwanted legal hassles, loss of money and years of trying to re-establish a victims credit and good name (Acquisti & Gross, 2006). This is why it is important for users of social network systems to be aware of the value of the data they are making available online and of the ways that is can pote3nitally be used (Donath & Boyd 2004). Furthermore another privacy issue that social networking sites face is that they encourage users to overshare very private information that can easily be used against them. For example the location based social networking site Foursquare encourages users to check in at various locations to win points and earn badges and discounts. However these check ins are in real time and essentially users notify others where they are, but more importantly when they arent home. For strangers and thieves this is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of such knowledge and rob someones house while they are out. A web site called Please rob me has been set up to raise awareness about over-sharing and highlights these kinds of privacy issues that social networks create Location based services also raise myriads of privacy issues due to the ability to collect, store, use and disclose the locations of users. (Anuar & Gretzel, 2010). In this respect social networks like these pose serious privacy concerns.

Cyber bullying Cyber bullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies (Webster, n.d), mediums such as, emails, mobile phone text messages, phone calls, internet chat rooms, instant messaging and most importantly and recently, social networking websites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo (Webster, n.d). Whilst cyber bullying is not physical its emotional and psychological effects are devastating for the victim and can often lead to suicide and depression (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010). Cyber bulling in terms of social networks is a huge issue as more than 50% of American teenagers aged from 12 to 17 use social networking sites (Hall, 2010). Online bullying is often seen as the easy way out. Social Networking sites act as a platform where bullies can say things they might not usually say to someone in person, anonymity and less physical proximity act as a wall between the bully and the victim, none the less, the words or rumours that are shared are still just as hurtful. Bullies often feel more confident online and they can contact their victims any time, anywhere, day or night, not just in the school yard (Smith et al., 2008). For example in 2009 a 14 year old girl committed suicide as a direct result of cyber bulling. The daughters mother spoke out in an ABC news report and explained that Friday night she was on the internet and told me about some message that had come through, and she wanted to die because of the message. I laid in bed with her and we discussed it for about an hour and she left me fairly happy. I can guarantee you if she didnt go on the internet Friday night shed be alive today. (Dikeos, 2009). Additionally another well know case of cyber bulling that resulted in suicide was the case of Megan Meier who was constantly teased

tormented and riven to her death from intense cyber bulling. 13 year old Megan began receiving nasty messages from a boy after a few weeks of an online flirtation with him, via her MySpace account, ending with one that suggested the world would be a better place without her. Megan, believing she had been rejected by Josh, committed suicide in her home.Times Topics, Megan Meier. (2011). The sad part was that Josh was just a fictional character, created by a mother of one of Megans former friends. These two case studies bring to light the fact that cyber bulling is a massive problem that is not only exists all over the world, but is only made possible by the use of social networking sites. Without such platforms for bullies to target their victims the rate of teen suicide and depression would most likely drop. Groups on facebook can be created to make fun of or abuse particular people or ideas. On facebook I found groups titled I hate Kevin Rudd and on their wall things like F**k you Kevin! and I cant believe they let this di***ead become foreign minister. Also a recent incident that was covered on the news showed the negative comments towards babies and their parents over facebook surrounding the Bonds Baby Search. Some comments under a photos said A child only a mother could love and another baby was called an ugly duckling (Cute baby competition turns ugly, 2011). Comments like these are spiteful not only to the babies, but for their parents as well. This in itself is another form of cyber bullying that has been made possible via the increased use of social networking sites. It is clear that social networking sites aid in the prominence of cyber bulling which is just one of the negative impacts that social working sites has on society today.

The weakening of strong ties & isolation The way we communicate with our peers and with strangers over the internet is changing. Another negative impact that social networks have on our relationships is the fact that whilst they might strengthen our weak ties we have with acquaintances and people we dont see often, they are in fact weakening our strong ties and also bring about physical social isolation. The term social networking misleads people into believing they are being social, Facebook isnt considered a social network but more a public phone book or search engine. Contact is minimal and impersonal (Carr, 2010).The news feed feature on facebook and twitter keeps us in the loop with everything that our close friends and family are doing. Why would one call their friend to ask them what they got up to on the weekend, when clearly all they have to do is look at their news feed and find all the details along with pictures entailing their lives. Traditionally we would regularly call each other, or go out of the way to catch up. Nowadays the urge to contact each other over the phone or even face to face isnt as important because we feel like we are still connected via social networks ( Thomas, 2007). This idea of constantly being connected is awful in the way that personal interactions between friends are more superficial than they were before Facebook and other social networking sites. Users are also more likely to let more time pass between face to face encounters because they still feel like they are in contact as they constantly have tabs on all of their friends. A case study that was done in America revealed that twenty-five percent of the respondents in the 2004 survey appear to have no close ties, up from ten percent in 1984. Additionally a similar study amongst college student found that 1 in 7 say that social networking sites increase feelings of isolation

(Katonda News Network, 2010) As well as Nearly 70% report reading posts from someone close to them that seemed like a cry for emotional help, and while most students would offer support in some way, fewer than half would make a personal visit (Katonda News Network , 2010). It is clear that the rise of social networks has increased social and emotional isolation and diluted the strength our human relationships. Workplace interference Social networking sites can have a negative impact in the workplace, for both employers for employees and future employees. They create distraction, decrease productivity, cost companies money, can jeopardise a companys reputation and legal liability and for those users who dont have their profiles set to private can often result in unemployment. If every employee in a 50-strong workforce spent 30 minutes on a social networking site every day, that would work out to a loss of 6,500 hours of productivity in one year! (Kelleher, 2009).Social networking sites can also be damaging for prospective employees looking for work ,as facebook and MySpace are fantastic resources for companies as they offer revealing information about a candidates true colours. Several profiles often contain awkward and embarrassing information that job seekers would not want their future managers to know about themselves. According to a new study conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com, 45 percent of employers questioned are using social networks to screen job candidates (Wortham, 2009)..Moreover, there have been many instances where personal status updates or blog posts have hurt or damaged a companies reputation, thus seeing many employees loose their jobs over mindless updates that they didnt think twice about. For

example in 2010, Jaguar ambassador and swimmer Stephanie Rice tweeted Suck on that f**gots, (Robertson, 2010) after a rugby game the Wallabies had won. Many twitter users and public figures referred to it as a gay slur and even after a public apology, Jaguar Australia general manager Kevin Goult announced that Jaguar Australia today terminated its relationship with Stephanie Rice, who has been an ambassador for the Jaguar brand in Australia since the start of 2010.(Robertson, 2010). Another fine example of one employee who damaged his reputation before he even stared at his new job was a Cisco employee who tweeted Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty pay check against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work It wasnt long before Tim Levad, a channel partner advocate for Cisco Alert, shared this open response, Who is the hiring manager. Im sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.( Popkin, 2009)It is clear that social networking sites can have a damaging effect on not only employees but the companies themselves. Users are unfortunately unaware that everything they post on their profile is public information and even if your profile is set to private your boss or work colleagues may still be fronted with this information at some stage in the future. As social networking sites become more popular by the day, the rise of negative social effects within our society also greaten. We have and will see further instances of cyber bullying; more cases of identity theft and additional privacy breaches. We will also see our strong relationships diluted to a more superficial and convenient type of relationship. We will continue to see a further decrease in productivity within workplace and also more instances of companys reputations

and names being brought into disrepute. Social networking sites have had a huge negative impact on our mental and social health and will continue to do so into the future. It is also now evident that social networking sites facilitate all these problems, and without them they would cease to exist. Therefore it is undeniably true that Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and the like do in fact cause more harm than good.

References: Acquisti, A & R, Gross.(2006).Imagined Communities: Awareness, Information Sharing, and Privacy on the Facebook. Retrieved from: http://www.springerlink.com/content/gx00n8nh88252822/ Anuar, F & U, Gretzel. (2010). Privacy Concerns in the Context of Location-Based Services for Tourism.Retrieved from http://ertr.tamu.edu/attachments/3150_enter2011_submission_78_fin al.pdf Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). CRIME: Personal fraud, Nearly $1 billion dollars lost to PersonalFraud in Australia. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/4500.0~2008~Ma in+Features~Crime?OpenDocument Boyd, d., & Ellison, N. (2007). Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1).

Carr, A. (2010). Users of Facebooks Social Network Are Mostly AntiSocial Retrieved fromhttp://www.fastcompany.com/1638333/shockerusers-of-facebooks-social-network-are-mostly-anti-social Cute baby competition turns ugly. (2011, March 3). Retrieved from: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/8946214/cute-babycompetition-turns-ugly/ Dikeos. T. ( 2009, July 23) Teens death highlights cyber bullying trend. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/07/23/2633775.htm Donath, J., & boyd, d. (2004). Public Displays of Connection. BT Technology Journal, 22(4), 71-82.DRAFT . Retrieved from http://smg.media.mit.edu/papers/Donath/socialnetdisplay.draft.pdf Facebook. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics , 2011. Hall, S. (2010). Problems with Social Networking and Teens. Retrieved fromhttp://www.life123.com/parenting/tweens-teens/socialnetworking/issues-with-teens-and-social-networking.shtml Hart, L. (2010), The Negative Impact of Social Networking on Relationships. Retrieved from http://wordofpie.com/2010/06/21/the-negative-impact-ofsocial-networking-on-relationships/ Hinduja, S & J, Patchin. (2010). Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide Archives of Suicide Research. Retrieved from:

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a92472 2304 Jones, H & J Soltren. (2005) Facebook: Threats to Privacy. Retrieved from http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?hl=en&q=facebook+privacy+per sonal+information+&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_ylo=&as_vis=0 Katonda News Network . (2010). Social Networking Sites Increase Feelings Of Isolation? .Retrieved from http://www.katonda.com/news/08/2010/1996 Kelleher, D (2009). 5 Problems with Social Networking in the Workplace-Information Management SpecialReports. Retrieved from: http://www.informationmanagement.com/specialreports/2009_165/so cial_networking_media-10016208-1.html Papacharissi, Z. (2009) The virtual geographies of social networks: a comparative analysis of Facebook,LinkedIn and ASmallWorld. New Media and Society. Vol 11(1&2). Popkin, H. (2009) Twitter gets you fired in 140 characters or less. Retrieved from http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/29796962/ns/todaytoday_tech/ Robertson, J.(2010) Stephanie Rice loses sponsor Jaguar after anti-gay tweet Retrieved from http://www.news.com.au/business/stephanierice-loses-sponsor-jaguar-after-anti-gay-tweet/story-e6frfm1i1225915098261

Smith, P., Mahdavi, J., Carvalo, M., Fisher, S., Russell, S., Tippet, N. (2008).Cyberbullying: its nature and impact in secondary school pupils Retrieved from:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.14697610.2007.01846.x/full Thomas, J. (2007). Social Networking Sites Effect on Relationships Among College Students RetrievedFrom: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/393599/social_networking_ sites_effect_on_relationships.html?cat=41 Times Topics, Megan Meier. (2011) Retrieved fromhttp://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/m/ megan_meier/index.html Webster, C. (n.d). What is Cyberbullying?. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cyberbullying.info/resources/downloads/ChrisWebster _WhatIsCyberbullying.pdf Wortham, J. (2009). More Employers Use Social Networks to Check Out Applicant.Retrieved from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/more-employers-usesocial-networks-to-check-out-applicants/

Over the last couple of days a growing number of articles have been catching my eye which appear to have all originated from a debate in the House of Lords created by neuroscientist Lady Greenfield. Her comments suggest that social networking sites have a negative impact on our brains, especially in younger people which causes shortened attention spans, encourages instant gratification and make young people more self-centred, resulting with an inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity. While most articles are reporting on this news without passing much comment there others which are sensationalising this information but are social networks really to blame for this change in behaviour? The description of shortened attention spans and instant gratification has been used many times to describe the lives of people in the western world with every thing from TV consumption to meals have evolved that allows us to receive it when and where we want it. This change in our behaviour is not a new realisation with everybody from scientists, to the media as well as consumers aware of how time poor our lives have become resulting in a change in our behaviours to become more self centred with weakened connections between friends and loved ones. So while social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Bebo might be making this change more apparent they may actually be a way of bring us back together as a community. Despite this I still believe that especially young people need to have developed social skills face to face in an offline environment for this to be the case. People who have no other experience of real life and live solely through their online worlds will naturally be distanced from reality.

Community networking has been looked at by far too many expert as a blessing. They see each new friend or follower as a possible user. But too often they let their efforts stop with that initial connection. A great number fail to realize just how detrimental community networking can be to one's success when not used correctly. How can something so unifying and so easy to use do more harm than good? If you are wondering about that question, then you either haven't been using community media long, or you haven't been using it correctly. Because to agree how to make it work for you, you have to agree first how it can work against you. First of all, community networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can make online expert lazy. They can see their follower count or list of friends rise, every now and then by a hundred or more per day, and they think that success is inevitable. Meanwhile, they look at how sales and revenue are coming along, and they are shocked to discover they are worse off than before. The reason for this is that they forget that community networking affiliations are very basic, and that turning these individuals into buyers requires one to develop a deeper affiliation. Secondly, community networking sites create a lot of noise. There are hundreds of millions of people across the world using these each day. A great number have 100 to 1,000 friends. With all that noise, it can be very difficult to looking one's message heard, and as a result, you looking drowned out in the static. Instead of making community networking a numbers game, it is better to surround yourself with a smaller group of people, who are actually solid contacts. People, who will help you spread your message, service, or merchandise to the world. Thirdly, community networking takes away time from one's site or blog, the real online sales tool. People looking so caught up playing community media games or checking on what other people are doing that they forget to be productive with the site that truly represents them. Instead of getting sucked in, it is better to work on content. Make it compelling and give people a reason to looking off the community networking pages and on to your own personal site. There is a lot less noise there than on a place that has more than 500 million users. When people are at your site, they will actually hear what you want them to hear. The more that you agree about the pitfall of community networking and how it can actually do more harm than good, the more effective you will be when you use it. Keep that in mind the next time you looking excited about a new follower or friend.