A List of Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking

Twitter and Facebook are two of the biggest social networking sites in the world.  They are used by friends and family to communicate as well as by public and private individuals and businesses to promote themselves, and/or associated products.
Twitter and Facebook are two of the biggest social networking sites in the world. They are used by friends and family to communicate as well as by public and private individuals and businesses to promote themselves, and/or associated products.

Over recent years, there has been an explosion in the number of people using social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The figures for people using these sites are staggering. Facebook, for instance, has over 800 million active users, and over a 100 million people use Twitter each day.

Social networking is used by individuals to keep contact with friends and relatives, and for entertainments. It is also used by businesses and various other organizations to promote products, brands, people, events, as well as to disseminate information and update groups of followers with shared interests.

Social networking sites have brought with them many benefits, but also some downsides. I thought it would be instructive to post up a list of advantages and disadvantages of social networking.

The most impactful way consumers can assert their power is to become mindful shoppers, giving their dollars only to socially responsible companies. In today's world of social media and smart phones, this is easy to do.

— Simon Mainwaring
Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites and many people use it to keep in touch with family, friends, and even people they work with.  There are pros and cons to this, when compared to older methods such as personal contact and phone.
Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites and many people use it to keep in touch with family, friends, and even people they work with. There are pros and cons to this, when compared to older methods such as personal contact and phone. | Source

Social media spark a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the democratization of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions, inspire movements, and ignite change.

— Brian Solis

Advantages of Social Networking

  • One of the key advantages of social networking is being able to keep in touch with friends and relatives easily. You can keep up to date with what people are doing and also let them know what is happening in your life with minimal effort (once you have got your account up and running).

  • You can make friends with like-minded people. Social networking makes it easy to make friends online with others who share your particular interests, even if an interest is obscure, or the other people who share the interest live in different parts of the world to you.
  • You can use social networking sites as a source of entertainment when bored, or just for relaxing. Many people use websites like Facebook for a little light relief during a break from work, or when they are unwinding at home.

  • You can find out about events going on. Whether it is a new season of your favorite TV show beginning, a new album release by a band you like, details of the latest bargains at the store, or a local amateur theatre performance featuring one of your friends, you can get all the necessary information via social networking sites.
  • One advantage of social networking that should not be overlooked is that in most cases it is completely free of charge to set up an account and use it.
  • You can also use social networking sites to promote your own website, blog, or group. Many businesses of all sizes use sites like Twitter to promote their products, brand, and services.

There's a danger in the internet and social media. The notion that information is enough, that more and more information is enough, that you don't have to think, you just have to get more information - gets very dangerous.

— Edward de Bono
Social networking is a great way to make friends with like-minded people.  You can form groups with common interests and interact, teach, learn, support, and help each other.
Social networking is a great way to make friends with like-minded people. You can form groups with common interests and interact, teach, learn, support, and help each other. | Source

When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. In a way it’s a transcendent experience: we lose our bodies, our messy feelings, our desires, our fears.

— Zadie Smith

Disadvantages of Social Networking

  • Social networking sites can be used to commit scams, spread computer viruses, or defraud people by stealing their identity.

  • They can also be tremendous time wasters. Whether it is in work or personal time, people can sometimes spend hours on social networking sites without any obvious benefits coming out of their experience.
  • There are privacy issues associated with social networking. It is not always clear who is able to read your profile and personal information. An embarrassing photo of you drunk at a party might be seen by a parent or relative, or unguarded comments made about your workplace might be seen by your boss. It is not always clear how secure the host site is either when it comes to looking after your personal information.

  • These sites can be used for stalking and harassment purposes. It is often possible for unscrupulous people to work out a user’s location and movements from social networking sites, or send them threatening messages anonymously. Younger people can be bullied and not just through words, but with embarrassing photographs and other media too.
  • Spam and unwanted advertising can be a constant problem, especially on sites such as Twitter.
  • There is a sense of "information for information's sake" - that's to say that there is a lot of data and news flying around, but very little depth or learning generated. People are overwhelmed by information, but gain very little.

These days young kids don't have any place to form an epic adventure. It's more often in front of the TV screen or a laptop. That's very hard on them. They're being taught daily unsocial skills. Facebook is an unsocial skill. It's so sad.

— John Lydon
Many of the controversies around social networking have revolved around privacy issues.  It is not always clear who can read and access private information that is posted.  Advertisers and security services sometimes have easy access to posts.
Many of the controversies around social networking have revolved around privacy issues. It is not always clear who can read and access private information that is posted. Advertisers and security services sometimes have easy access to posts. | Source

The viral power of online media has proven how fast creative ideas can be spread and adopted, using tools like cellphones, digital cameras, micro-credit, mobile banking, Facebook, and Twitter. A perfect example? The way the Green Movement in Iran caught fire thanks to social media.

— Tina Brown

What is your favorite social networking site?

See results without voting

© 2011 Paul Goodman

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Comments 10 comments

yui lockhart profile image

yui lockhart 4 years ago from Philippines

I totally agree with this hub of yours. Social networking sites is very helpful when it comes to keeping up with your friends or relatives. Actually, my mom and dad found their elementary, highschool and college classmates thru facebook. But the downside of it, is that your privacy can be exposed. And you can meet people who will not say anything good to you. I have experienced this, that is why, I limit the information I post on the internet. Thanks! great hub


Express10 profile image

Express10 4 years ago from East Coast

I choose not to use social networking sites. I cannot trust these sites because many functions change in a stealthy manner that is meant to provide the most benefit to the company and their advertisers, rather than users. And even the simplest of functions are made to be nearly impossible. Add in the fact that some act as if your information is theirs, and I have been totally turned off. Besides, I enjoy seeing people in person, sharing videos or pictures in person, picking up the phone, etc.


odeisa profile image

odeisa 4 years ago from Anaheim

i want to try to not log in to facebook for 1 month and see how it will change me.


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe

I use Facebook since I live in Europe and my family is in America. It's been a definite advantage, seeing and posting photographs and keeping me in touch with their daily goings-on. I don't post hardly anything personal, however - that is reserved for email! With Big Brother lurking, I only put generic things like weather, music and so on...


deepateresa profile image

deepateresa 4 years ago from Trivandrum, Kerala,India

Yes I do agree with u, these are really of great advantage and on the other side, we may get addicted to it sometimes.

we need to track that - which is more important... Social networking should be for us, not that we should be for social networking.


F.kh morocco 4 years ago

WELL SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES ARE LIKE A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD .THAT IS TO SAY IT HAS PROS AB WELL AS CONS.HOWEVER USERS SHOULD BE ALERT AND CAREFUL OTHERWISE IT MAYBE DANGEROUS


Sonu 4 years ago

Facebook is good service


paradigmsearch profile image

paradigmsearch 3 years ago from USA

And might as well toss Pinterest into that mix.


Torrs13 profile image

Torrs13 2 years ago from California

My family and friends are spread out all over the country so it's nice to be able to connect with them via Facebook or other social media sites. Unfortunately, I feel like there are a lot of fake people on Facebook and I also feel like it can hurt relationships if it is relied upon. There are so many statuses I see that I wish would be kept private!


Carl Neumann profile image

Carl Neumann 2 months ago from Cebu, Philippines

Thanks for a very interesting hub! I would like to add one more point on the advantages side, which is maybe not so well known, but absolutely significant. Social media is a great communication tool following disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. I was in the Philippines during and after Supertyphoon Haiyan devastated large regions of the country, and almost all of the private relief efforts were coordinated through Facebook. People set up groups to exchange information, ask for help, and guide relief efforts to specific regions. I had always been a Facebook sceptic before that, but that experience opened my eyes to the huge benefits FB provides in the form of sophisticated communication and networking tools.

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