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In their quest to integrate with others, people develop various behaviors besides doing different things through which they create and maintain relationships and social networking being one of these. Social networking is the collection of people into various groups who have common interests and sometimes similar likes and dislikes.
It can also be defined as the creation of groups of people who want to share information and help each other in building relationships as it occurs in local villages and communities. It should be noted that, though social networking is possible and can easily be done in schools, villages and workplaces, it is rampant on the internet.
This is the case because unlike in the villages and schools where people might not want to share their information or personal views with one another, the internet has millions and probably billions of people who are ready to share information (Niciejewska 17).
This is also boosted by the fact that internet covers a relatively wide area and people want to get firsthand information from all parts of the world and therefore, find it more interesting to network online. However, though social networking has various advantages like enabling easy and first flow of information, it also has far reaching consequences including consuming time which could have been used for other productive activities.
Advantages of Social Networking
Social networking is a common feature in the world nowadays and it is practically impossible for any person to say that the world can do without networking at any level. It is practiced from professional aspects to personal lives and by the old, the middle aged and the young generation a like. It has become more a way of life than it is a technological aspect of how people spend their leisure time which was the initial intention.
To begin with, social networking has decreased the costs of get in touch with people because the social networking sites that people use are mostly free. People seated in the comfort of their private rooms can easily communicate with different people in different continents within a minute at a cost that could have been used to communicate with one person.
On top of that, business people can easily learn the likes and dislikes as well as other behaviors of their target markets thus carrying a research at no cost and this enables them in designing their products according to the consumers’ need. In addition to that, people can easily advertise their goods and services on the social networking media for a negligible cost when they are networking (Rosenbloom 431).
Additionally, social networking helps in building confidence of people to one another. This is highly advantageous to business people who will want to create a good rapport with their customers so that they can maintain them for future purposes. Customers feel more confident if they interact with the business people both on professional and personal grounds and this makes them feel at easy.
It should also be noted that it is easy to get correct and objective information from the customers whom one interacts with both on professional and personal grounds than those with whom one interacts with on business reasons only (Smith and ze 338). On top of that, social networking has really improved the way people can offer after sale service since even if people are very far apart communication is easy and one can easily find his or her customers.
Moreover; social networking sites like facebook, twitter and others have increased the connections among people nowadays which have been advantageous in the long run. Many of the connections that started in the social networking sites have ended in face to face meetings and made longtime friends who help each other in many aspects of live.
In addition to that, social networking has increased the flow of knowledge from one person to another. Scientists, sociologists and people from other professions have been able to get information through the social networking sites therefore, increasing their knowledge base besides communicating their theories (Raje 76). This would have been impossible in other circumstances and some theories developed would have ended up being isolated and irrelevant.
In conjunction with that, social networking has also changed the way education is conducted and improved the interactions between teachers and students. Students have joined several social networking sites and teachers have embraced this technology therefore, making learning process more accommodating.
Extended classroom discussions, assignments, test and quizzes are found online nowadays and they can be accessed all day round making learning an interesting activity. On top of that, relationships between parents and teachers have been boosted by social networking sites whereby teachers and parents can communicate without having to meet face to face (Niciejewska 18). This not only saves time but also increases the chances of interaction between teachers and parents who most of the times are far apart.
On top of that, social networking has been used by various organizations to seek for support from the masses. It can be noted that nowadays, various political parts have successfully used social networking in their campaigns because it is cheap and reaches a huge number of people at the same time.
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Furthermore, social networking has been used by various groups to connect people seeking for employment with the available employment opportunities, thus increasing the employment rates in the community (Mason and Frank 7). This is common among college students who have even come up with their social networking site where the alumni give information to final year students about the employment opportunities that are available at the given time.
Despite the immense importance of social networking in the lives of people nowadays, it has brought about some very dire consequences which have not only cost people money but have also led to loss of lives. Social networking sites like facebook and twitter require that people provide their information concerning their age, gender, location and other important information.
This information most of the times reach people who are not known to the provider of information. Others use the information on social networking sites without the consent of the concerned people for their benefits (Harwood 64). In addition to that, it has been reported that criminals use social networking site to get information about their targets which has increased crime rates.
Additionally, social networking sites have become addictive and people spend a lot of their time either chatting in the social networking sites or trying to get new friends. This leads to various behavioral changes in a person and end up making people antisocial on personal grounds because they are consumed by the networking sites all the time and do not have time to socialize with their immediate neighbors.
On top of that, the time spent on social networking sites by people has been increasing exponentially since the discovery of the sites (DasGupta 159). This means that people have reduced the time spent on other issues to concentrate on social networking. Among the most affected time is the time people spend on work and this has led to loss of a lot of productive time thus, reducing efficiency in working places. This has made some organizations to prohibit their employees from visiting social networking sites during working hours.
When people are networking online, it is difficult to authenticate the information that they provide. Consequently, people have used this weakness of the internet to their advantage by giving false information about themselves to unsuspecting people in the social networking sites.
On top of that, children are also at risk of being misused especially by sex predators because they can easily access the children’s information from online sites and lure them into meeting face to face. In conjunction with that, the social networking sites make people to feel connected with the world while in actual sense they are not (Bradburne 193).
This has been proofed to increase the feeling of loneliness among people and thus leading to psychological and emotional trauma. In addition to that, there is no limit as to what people can post on the social networking sites and this has been a cause of concern as people have taken advantage of this to post provocative information and pictures which not only cause emotional trauma but also death.
Social networking is an inevitable aspect of human live because of the way that it has been incorporated in the day to day activities of people. People meet, connect, learn and do their business through social networking sites. With the advancement in technology, the importance of social networking is increasing and it is important that people learn how to deal with it given the adverse effects that it can have.
Bradburne, Alan. Practical Rails Social Networking Sites. New York: Apress, 2007. Print.
DasGupta, Subhasish. Social Computing: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications. Hershey: Idea Group, 2009. Print
Harwood, Mike. Security Strategies in Web Applications and Social Networking. Burlington: Jones and Bartlett, 2010. Print.
Mason, Robin, and Frank Rennie. E-Learning and Social Networking Handbook: Resources for Higher Education. London: Routledge, 2008. Print.
Niciejewska, Katharina. The Influence of Social Networks in Japanese Business-Kairetsu as a Japanese Network. Munchen: GRIN Verlag, 2007. Print.
Raje, Fiona. Negotiating the Transport System: User Contexts, Experiences and Needs. Farnham: Ashgate Publishers, 2007. Print.
Rosenbloom, Bert. Marketing Channels. Hoboken: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Smith, Peter, and Ze Zook. Marketing Communications: Integrating Offline and Online with Social Media. London: Kogan Page Publishers, 2011. Print.