Pros and Cons of Social Networking
SOCIAL NETWORKING 2
Are you an online network socialite? Do you Tweet about your Facebook status while listening to music on Pandora? Have your friends noticed that you'll only talk to them 140 characters at a time (Twitter)? Then you've got your finger on the pulse of online social networking -- a big part of Web 2.0. Just a few years ago, the idea of an online social network was revolutionary. While the Web has always provided a way for people to make connections with one another, social networking sites made it easier than ever to find old friends and make new ones. Even connecting with friends, family, and even strangers from all over the world is easy to do. Today, it's rare to find someone who hasn't at least heard of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or one of a hundred other social networks. For novices in the world of social networking, the vast online landscape can be a little intimidating. There are so many options available and each one has its own terms of service or end user license agreement. Even Web veterans may find some of these agreements difficult to understand. There are times when it can feel like you're signing your life away just to get a profile on a Web site. You may not even know why you would want to use such a site in the first place, apart from the fact that everyone else seems to be on it. I've taken on the task to break down some positive and negative aspects of online social networking sites. Before we go much farther, understand that there are a lot of things you should take into consideration before signing up. You should also know that the good tends to outweigh the bad, particularly if you're careful about the way you use these sites. So, let's start off with the pros of social networking sites
SOCIAL NETWORKING 3
Without a doubt, the best reason to join any social networking site is that it lets you make connections with other people. You can use social networking sites to stay up to speed with what your friends are doing. If the social network is popular, you may be able to track down old friends and acquaintances and renew long-forgotten friendships. You can also use these sites to network professionally. Even if you're happy where you are in your career, you might be able to help someone else out. For instance, one friend might mention on his profile that he needs a carpenter to come to his house. You might know someone who's perfect for the job. All you have to do is send a couple of messages and you've helped two friends out at the same time! Many social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook make it easy to organize an event and invite your friends. Some sites allow you to group friends using different criteria, including geographic location. So the next time you plan a group trip to the movies, you can send out a notice to your local friends using a social networking service. Are you an actor, musician or writer? If so, you can use social networking sites to promote your work. Many sites allow users to create special pages for bands or theater companies. You can keep fans informed about everything from your latest single to the next time you'll perform. And social networking sites gives people the opportunity to interact with the artists they admire. Just recently I was able to reunite a lost dog with its owner. I simply “shared” his picture and information with my Facebook “friends” and asked them to share in order to help find the owner.
Perhaps the biggest online social networking drawback is that it makes identity theft easier. In order to create a profile on a social networking site, you have to share some information about yourself. Many sites allow you to decide how much information to share. Some give you options
SOCIAL NETWORKING 4
to hide information like your e-mail address or birthday --