I can still remember the days when I first started getting hooked into Social Networking. It started during the last years of my grade school, but heightened during my high school years, and so on. At that time, using a personal computer meant only for school projects using word processing applications and a few entertainment purposes through offline games, but when internet connection started to get the attention of many, even those who were not tech-savvy, they too embraced the benefits of connecting people online through Social Networking.
In the current age of liking, reacting and commenting on Facebook posts, back then, people sent “testimonials” on Friendster. You visit a friend’s (or soon to be friend’s) profile and write testimonials for that person. Through that, you can get to know a lot of people through an interconnection of friends or a group of friends of friends. And just like the major social networking site Facebook, you can also upload photo albums and memories. But undoubtedly its best feature was the ability to customize your own Friendster profile page and add a lot of media, like music, flashy background, and even embedded videos.
Although it did not grew as famous as Friendster, it was still notable during its time. Initially meant as a Friendster clone, it added more features and introduced simplicity over its MySpace profile screens.
Everyone can agree on how Facebook has provided impact on our daily lives. Began as a web portal to connect all the college students of Harvard University in the US, it expanded to connecting people all over the world.
Advantages of Social Networking
- World Wide Connectivity
During Grade School, I remember we had a project to write letters to our teacher and send them through mail. It took almost two weeks for our teacher to receive my letter even though our home addresses are only in the city! That’s why I cannot just imagine how long a letter can arrive if it is sent overseas… Luckily though, with the advancement of social media, such hindrances are now not anymore observed.
- Commonality of Interest
It is human nature to look for other people with the same interest, hobbies, likes and even dislikes to connect and (maybe) build a relationship. Through social networking, we can now share, like and comment on these interests.
- Real-Time Information Sharing
Facebook Live, instant messaging, posting of current updates, are just among the most popular and convenient ways of sharing real-time information nowadays. It has helped millions of people around the world connect with each other, sharing the happy, sad, frustrating, and even the heartbreaking moments of our lives.
- Targeted Advertising
Because of the onset of Social Networking, what we see in classified ads popping out or being displayed in our Timelines or screens are a result of Targeted Advertising, where business owners market their products for a specific group of people based on their interests.
- Increased News Cycle Speed
Weather updates, recent news, current local stock exchange, and even the latest gossips around town, can be received now in the fastest time possible.
Disadvantages of Social Networking
“A joke among friends is one thing, but a joke with the world at-large is much different.”
- Cyber-bullying and Crime Against Children
Creating the most buzz among current social issues, many countries are formulating regulations on the prevention of cyber bullying.
- Risk of Fraud and Identity Theft
The information you post on the Internet is available to almost anyone who is clever enough to access it.
- Time Waster
Let me tell a personal experience on this, I’m sure everyone can relate.
I check my social networking account almost every time I get a hold of my phone (or even when I do not hold my phone for a few minutes). I start my day checking notifications and new updates, and I check it again before I go to sleep. I also check it even when I should not to, like when in class or having a meeting (Sorry).
- Corporate Invasion of Privacy
One of the mentioned advantage above, Targeted Advertising, can also lead to corporations invading your privacy and sell personal information especially when there is ill intention.
Social Networking is a revolutionary idea with a very bright future especially in the field of IT professionals who continue to do research and develop exciting new software applications.
The opportunities provided by this medium not only give help to organizations to better their practices, but also to all levels of our society, especially to the family.
With the help of Social Networking, organizations can advertise and families can communicate in a more efficient way.