- Internet & the Web
A List of Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking
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
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
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.
- Reliance on social media can lead to being exposed to "fake news" and other misleading sources of knowledge.
- Some psychologists have expressed concerns about people forming superficial virtual relationships rather than real life ones. This especially applies to young people, who are still developing social skills.
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
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?
© 2011 Paul Goodman