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Being a part of the world where communication is the most valuable power and sometimes even weapon, one cannot stay away from the process of sharing information. Today, when social networks develop their own space and time, Facebook plays a significant role in people’s lives, providing a possibility to be connected with anyone on this planet, to share opinions and reflections about various events, and, of course, to share the personal information. Networks as an instrument of communication are quite new technology; therefore, many issues such as the positive and negative impact on personality and personal time distribution still need to be investigated more carefully. Jeff Jarvis emphasizes positive intentions of those who share information via the Internet, posting pictures, reflections, and personal facts on their profiles on social networks, while Lori Andrews indicates a significant negative characteristic of Facebook that concludes in the collection of personal data and its sale to the advertising companies which get incredible profits.
Summary of Jarvis
The basic idea of Jarvis’s article consists of the statement that social networks provide a chance for everyone to be public. In other words, with a help of the Internet, people can realize their desire to be socially active, to have their voice which would be recognized and admitted. According to Jarvis, social networks in general and Facebook particularly are the new faces of well-known forums, meetings, etc. One of the major issues of Facebook is that one does not need to go out to meet people; one can do it being in a comfortable environment of one’s home. Jarvis indicates that “sharing is a choice”; thus, everyone is responsible for the information one provides.
This issue includes two types of information: personal data that may be used without one’s permission and information such as news, facts, opinions that should be correct, should not contain pornography, should not confront ethnic and racial conflicts, etc. Social networks do not force people; it is always a personal choice. Besides, according to Jarvis, social networks provide the companies a possibility to share information about their products, to promote brands, and, therefore, to get more profits. In the case of governments, citizens can get a chance to get information fast. However, the author indicates that governments should learn how to share information about their work, making it “open by default and secret by necessity”, while today they are “secret by default and open by force”. For Jarvis, although there are risks to privacy and intellectual property, social networks contain many positive characteristics that allow people to communicate freely and to be socially active.
Summary of Andrews
Despite Jarvis, Andrews emphasizes the negative qualities of Facebook, including the abuse of personal data in order of commercial profits. The author indicates that by collecting information about 845 million users, Facebook sells ad space to companies that can choose key information about users and use it to get more profitable results of sales. If Jarvis considers this issue as a positive method of promotion of products, Andrews claims that Facebook uses people. Andrews provides examples of how information can be used against people. Government agents search tax evader’s income on Facebook and MySpace. Moreover, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services check personal photos to confirm family relationships. There were several cases when someone had been fired because one’s manager checked one’s social network profile. Additionally, one’s presentation during an interview and employer’s impressions are not the key aspects that can cause one’s acceptance. Today, the common method for employers or even the key one is to check the social network profiles of possible employees. Thus, according to Andrews, being a part of social networking, people are not free. They face the problem of over-commercialization where all personal information is systematized and used in order of commercial profits.
My opinion on the issue
The ideas of both authors are well-grounded and argumentative. I agree with Jarvis that it is a personal choice of everyone what information to share and everyone is responsible for this action. However, on the other hand, I see the negative sides of social networks. Perhaps, relaxing environment causes people’s neglect of safety when they share personal data online, forgetting that each personal picture can be stolen and used anywhere. Although Facebook provides the possibility to close some of the information from strangers, at the same time, the company cannot guarantee that one’s account would be always in safety. There were many situations when accounts were hacked or stolen. Therefore, it is impossible to be 100% sure that personal information posted on Facebook will not be used by strangers or even criminal elements. On the other hand, it is difficult to overestimate the impact of social networks on our life. Facebook can be considered as a highly productive instrument of connection between people and the public channel where everyone can express and manifest themselves. Today, such phrases as “You can Google it” and “I’ve Facebooked you” become the symbols of the epoch. Having their positive and negative sides, social networks are an inseparable part of modern life; we just have to develop more productive measures of their control.