Online Social Networking - Advantages and Disadvantages
It's a small world!
Do you remember a time when you spoke to a complete stranger and then through conversation came to know that you both knew a common person? At which time either of you would exclaim "Oh! It's a small world!".
Well, I am sure you will agree with me when I say today that it indeed IS a small world, thanks to social networking through the internet. Of course the internet itself had made the world a very small place a long time ago but at that time (I guess!) we were still connecting with other human beings through the telephone or meeting them in person. Once the online social networking bug bit us there has been no looking back! Today I can connect with anyone who shares a common interest with me sitting on my chair, in the comfort of my home using the various social networking websites available at my disposal - Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr, Pinterest and many many more.
We do connect with other people using our phones these days, however, we mostly do so using the social media apps available rather than actually making a phone call!
Finally, coming back to why I started writing this hub in the first place - why use social media at all? Are there any advantages? Or is it completely an intrusion of one's privacy?
Let's look at some 'wows'...
1. Stay in touch
Excellent way to keep in touch with friends and family.You can also make friends with people halfway around the world without ever having to meet up for a cup of coffee or a drink!
2. Can help you land your dream job!
Today almost all employers search for potential candidates through professional networking websites.They prefer it if you have an online profile so that they can go through it and get an insight into your past career, the type of connections you have, what your past co workers and managers have to say about you etc. For example, LinkedIn has a recommendation section where you can ask your past co workers or managers to recommend your work. A recruiter going through your profile would be interested in reading these recommendations to get a better notion as to how suitable you are for the job at hand.
3. Receive first hand information
This is rather interesting...
Recently I read this article in a travel magazine about how this guy traveled through Miami, Florida using Twitter on his cellphone. Whenever he wanted some information on what to do, where to eat etc. he would tweet and promptly get a reply from someone eating at that restaurant right at that moment! Now that's what you call receiving first hand information!
4. See a picture/watch a video before you travel
Travel has never been this easy, thanks to social networking. While you are making your itinerary you can visit any of the photo sharing sites like Flickr, Shutterfly, Snapfish to see what your place of visit would look like or just go to YouTube and watch a video.
Here's a walking tour of Paris, France on YouTube
HubPages is also a form of social network...
I would not restrict social networking to Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. What I am doing on HubPages is also a form of social networking. I am sharing my thoughts with everyone, people who read them are sharing their opinions through their comments, I am in turn also reading others' hubs and sharing my opinions with them.
This is almost like the food chain! I am just a small spider somewhere in the world wide web trying to share my thoughts with millions of other spiders elsewhere in the web. And at the same time I am trying to reap monetary benefits from all my networking activity.
But it's not all rosy out there. There are some ill effects. Here are some 'boos'...
1. Can be used for unwanted stuff
Some people take advantage of the anonymity the internet can provide and resort to writing about or uploading unnecessary content (for example pornography). But I am glad that websites like HubPages and YouTube keep the filth out. Else it would be a menace for people who are actually interested in sharing knowledge. And sites like Facebook have enough privacy settings to keep out the unwanted stuff.
2. Don't share too much personal information
How much you want to reveal about yourself on the internet is finally up to you and I would advise you to check the sanctity of any website before you go ahead and divulge all your details. Also, you must be very careful about any photographs that you upload of yourself on the internet, I don't think I have to tell you about photo morphing.
3. Keep your professional life away from personal social sites
Try not to be too vocal about what you don't like about your job, your boss or your colleagues on social networking sites. Certainly doesn't help you in any way! On the contrary it could land you in a lot of trouble.
4. Stick to mostly sharing general info
Try to keep all wall posts, tweets, blogs, discussions more general with a view to share information with others only. On a public forum or website avoid making racist comments, jokes etc.
5. Don't friend strangers on social sites
Online social networking is very popular among teenagers today and I have read about many criminal incidents which have occurred due to overexposed networking. We should avoid contacting strangers on websites like Facebook where most of us share a lot of intimate information between friends and family.
To sum it up, I would say that take advantage of all the good things online social networking has to offer but be careful while using it.
- Google CEO Exposes Dark Side of Social Networking - PCWorld Business Center
Google CEO Eric Schmidt puts the concept of online privacy in the spotlight once again by suggesting that users change their name and erase their identity to avoid their digital past.
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