Have you ever wondered how these social networking sites have occupied such an important place in our lives? More and more people are using these networking sites to communicate with each other every day. The simple reason is these networking sites offer an easy and effortless way to be in touch as well as share and exchange your ideas with each other.
On considering the ever growing popularity and the benefits of these social networking sites, there would be no exaggeration if we say that these sites are soon going to dominate our lives in near future. Social networking sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Friendster and MySpace have already become too much popular among the masses and are soon going to build special a niche for people who share common interests and passions.
Whereas social networking sites such as Twitter, Stumbleupon, Reddit and LinkedIn are more professionally related and help the business men promote their businesses. It has brought drastic changes in our routine life. Everything has a positive and negative side. Similarly, the social networking sites are also made up of their set of pros and cons.
So whether these social networking sites are truly an effective, efficient and safe medium for communication or not and whether we should be using these sites to the extent that we are using or not is an open ended question, which I would like to take up.
Advantages Of Social Networking Sites:-
So let’s first look into the bright side of these social networking sites and how these are helping or benefiting us in our daily life:
Good medium of communication:-
They offer an easy and effortless way to communicate with friends, family and others with whom due to time and distance constraints we otherwise are not able to get in touch with or communicate.
Build and expand connections:-
We all have a circle of friends and acquaintances which we come across in different walks of life. These people too have their own network of friends and acquaintances. Now what social networking sites do is to help build a web of connections by connecting all these people through a common platform. Some of these connections can definitely prove valuable in the walk of life both professionally and personally.
Build and promote businesses by engaging with others:-
These networking sites can also be used as a tool or a medium to promote your business, blog or some special skill and service. With the help of these sites you can easily give and receive valuable business intelligence and feedback on institutional services. There are so many smart professionals who are making a good use of these networking sites to raise their visibility, get noticed, tell about their company, service, and get more clients through marketing their products.
Provide a learning platform:-
Another interesting fact of these networking sites is that they can act as a learning platform for informal learning and support social connections within groups of learners and with those involved in the support of learning. In fact any organization can avail the benefits of these social networks for learning and training purposes and not just those involved in working with students.
Educational Benefits: -
There are various educational benefits of social networking to the students as well. It is up to students to discover the potential educational benefits for themselves from interacting and communicating with others.
Platform for shy people to express their feelings:-
Enables shy people to express their feelings, ideas and viewpoints more openly and confidently who otherwise find it difficult to express themselves openly in a face to face environment or situations.
Unlimited and easy access to information and services:-
Social networking sites provide an easy and unlimited access to information and services for any group, organization or individual who would like to learn either about some new application, use of some tool or service, the latest news etc.
Social networking sites thus by virtue of these above mentioned points have not only made themselves popular among people and spread smiles all over the world but have also turned the world into a small place where everyone can easily stay connected.
Disadvantages of Social Networking Sites:-
However, while these social networking sites are loaded with goodies, they have a dark side too. So one need to be aware of the dangers associated with the use of these social networking sites and must be really careful while using these networking sites to stay secure and safe.
Security is one of the topmost area of concern. Since social networking sites allow you to display your personal information such as name, location, and email address, security becomes a key issue of concern. There are some anti social elements who can misuse this information in the garb of some fake identity.
Wastage of time and effort:-
Social networking sites by their very nature are meant for regular and frequent communication, fun, entertainment, business activities etc. However, if you are not the kind of a person who is active enough to remain updated on these networking sites, such websites are nothing but a sheer wastage of time for you.
Increased incidence of cyber crime:-
One of the major pitfalls of these social networks is that they increased the incidence of cyber crime to an unimaginable proportion. Although many sites and organizations do employ certain measures to check these breaches of security and incidences of harassment, cyber-stalking, online scams, and identity theft to an absolute minimum, still there are loopholes even in the best security systems.
Another major problem with these networking sites is the rising identity theft which is increasing day by day due to the ease and access of internet technology and the increase in personal data found on social networking sites.
Loss of touch from the real world and emotions
Many times, while using these social networking sites for personal and professional purposes one gets so absorbed in the virtual world that he/she loses touch with the real world around him. Children tend to forget their parents, while parents tend to ignore their kids while getting addicted to the use of these social networking sites. This can prove to be detrimental to strong family bonds and relations.
Loss of productivity at workplace
The productivity of an individual and the organization as a whole is bound to suffer when the employees of the company invest even just about half an hour from their usual working hours using these social networking sites. Thus social networking sites can have a negative impact in the workplace, for both employers for employees and future employees.
How to Play Safe:-
Thus you see these social networking sites are like a two edged sword which although are of great help to us, they can also put our life and business in danger if we happen to be careless in our use of these networking sites. You must be therefore careful in the use of these websites if you truly want benefit from them either for fun, communication or business.
So the best way to use these social networking sites both for business and personal use is to be cautious while providing your complete identity information online such as your cell phone number, home address, class schedule, social plans, etc. Get as much information as possible before you add anyone as friend or joining any community. You never know if these people might be using some fake identity or be involved in some illegal activity which could destroy your image.