Human beings like interacting with others therefore, they constantly search for ways through which they create and maintain relationships. Due to advancements in technology and the widespread use of the internet, many people have found social networking to be a crucial mode of interaction. Social networking is the collection of people into various groups who besides having common interests, also have similar likes and dislikes.
It can also be defined as the creation of groups of people who want to share information and build relationships as it occurs in local villages and communities because many people access the internet. It should be noted that, though social networking is possible and can easily be done in schools, villages, and workplaces, it is rampant on the internet. This is the case because unlike in the villages and schools where people might not want to share their information or personal views with one another, the internet has millions of people who are ready to share information (Niciejewska 17).
This is also boosted by the fact that the internet covers a relatively wide area and people want to get firsthand information from all parts of the world and therefore, find it more productive to network online. Social networking is very essential in the modern world because of its advantages which include enabling ease and the first flow of information. However, it also has side effects including time-wasting when for example employees spend working hours chatting online instead of working.
Advantages of Social Networking
Social networking is common in the world today and it is practically impossible for any person to say that the world can do without networking at any level. It is practiced from professional aspects to personal lives and by the old, the middle-aged and the young generation alike. It has become more a way of life than it is a technological aspect of how people spend their leisure time which was the initial intention.
First of all, social networking has decreased the costs of getting in touch with people because the social networking sites that people use are mostly free. People seated in the comfort of their private rooms can easily communicate with different people on different continents within a minute at a cost that is lower compared to other forms of communication for example phone communication.
Along with that, business people can easily learn the likes and dislikes as well as other behaviors of their target markets thus carrying research at no cost and this enables them in designing their products according to the consumers’ needs. Social networking can also be used by companies to increase their market share.
Niciejewska says, “according to the globalization process the Japanese companies have realized that they can raise their profits by opening their networks to new markets outside Japan” (18). In addition to that, people can easily advertise their goods and services on social networking media for a negligible cost when they are networking (Rosenbloom 431).
Additionally, social networking helps in building the confidence of people to various brands and businesses because information about the commodity or business can be accessed easily. This is highly advantageous to business people who want to create a good rapport with their customers so that they can maintain them for future purposes. Customers feel more confident if they interact with the business people both on professional and personal grounds and this makes them feel at ease.
It should also be noted that it is easy to get correct and objective information from the customers whom one interacts with both on professional and personal grounds than those with whom one interacts with on business reasons only (Smith and ze 338). Social networking has really improved the way people can offer after sale service since even if people are very far apart communication is easy and one can easily find his or her customers. As Rosenbloom puts it, “businesses from very large to the very small can put up Web sites and/or social networking site with ecommerce capabilities and deal with customers literally half a world away or just across town (431).
Moreover; social networking sites like facebook, twitter and others have increased the connections among people today, which have been advantageous ultimately. Many of the connections that started in the social networking sites have ended in face-to-face meetings and made longtime friends who help each other in many aspects of live.
In addition to that, social networking has increased the flow of knowledge from one person to another. Scientists, sociologists and people from other professions have been able to get information through the social networking sites therefore increasing their knowledge base besides communicating their theories (Raje 76). This would have been impossible in other circumstances and some theories developed would have ended up being isolated and irrelevant.
In conjunction with that, social networking has also changed the way education is conducted and improved the interactions between teachers and students. Students have joined several social networking sites and teachers have embraced this technology therefore making learning process more accommodating. This is characterized by extended classroom discussions, assignments, test and quizzes that are found online today and which can be retrieved all day round thus making learning material easily accessible.
Relationships between parents and teachers have also been boosted by social networking sites whereby teachers and parents can communicate without having to meet face-to-face (Niciejewska 18). This not only saves time but also increases the chances of communication between teachers and parents who rarely have a face-to-face communication.
Social networking has also been used by various organizations to seek support from the masses. It can be noted that recently, various political parties have successfully used social networking in their campaigns because it is cheap and reaches a large number of people at the same time.
Furthermore, social networking has been used by various groups to connect people seeking employment with the available employment opportunities, thus increasing the employment rates in the community (Mason and Frank 7). This is common among college students who have come up with social networking sites where the alumni give information to final year students about the employment opportunities that are available at the given time.
Unfortunately, despite the immense importance of social networking in the lives of people it also has some few negative effects. Social networking sites like facebook and twitter require that people provide their information concerning their age, gender, location and other important information. This information most of the times reach people who are not known to the provider of information. Others use the information on social networking sites without the consent of the concerned people for their benefits (Harwood 64).
Additionally, social networking sites have become addictive because people use every single minute of their free time either chatting in the social networking sites or trying to get new friends. This leads to various behavioral changes in people for example making some people antisocial because they are consumed by the networking sites all the time and do not have time to socialize with their immediate neighbors. The time spent on social networking sites by people has been increasing exponentially since the discovery of the sites (DasGupta 159).
This means that people have reduced the time spent on other economic activities like work to concentrate on social networking. As a result, the time people spend on work has reduced and this has led to loss of a lot of productive time thus, reducing efficiency in working places. This has made some organizations to prohibit their employees from visiting social networking sites during working hours.
When people are networking online, it is difficult to authenticate the information that they provide. Consequently, people have used the lack of security on the internet to their advantage by giving false information about themselves to unsuspecting people in the social networking sites. Children are also at risk of being misused especially by sexual predators because they can easily access the children’s information from online sites and lure them into meeting face-to-face. Social networking sites also make people to feel connected with the world while in actual sense they are not which increases the feeling of loneliness (Bradburne 193).
Effects of social networking
Social networking practically drives the lives of people in the modern world and has been incorporated in the lives of people. Business people have found it worthy to use social networking sites for advertisement and after sale services thus improving their profits (Niciejewska 18).
Also, social networking sites have improved communication among people thus enhancing cohesiveness which is important in boosting peace and coexistence among people from various cultural groups. It can also be noted that education has also benefited from the social networking sites which have provided easy ways of accessing learning materials.
Communication is an important aspect of human lives and this has been enhanced by the social networking which not only increases speed but also reduces costs of communication. With the wake of globalization, it is important that people keep in touch with what is happening in their surrounding and this includes other parts of the world (Rosenbloom 430).
Information can be transmitted faster and to more people through social networking than any other form of communication which increases the importance of social networking. Advantages of social networking exceed the disadvantages by far thus boosting the importance of social networking in today’s life.
Social networking is an inevitable aspect of human life because of the way that it has been incorporated in the day-to-day activities of people. People meet, connect, learn and do their business through social networking sites. With the advancement in technology, the importance of social networking is increasing as days go by making it part of people’s lives. It should however be noted that the negative effects of social networking can be managed and should not therefore be used as a basis of discouraging social networking.
Bradburne, Alan. Practical Rails Social Networking Sites. New York: Apress, 2007. Print.
DasGupta, Subhasish. Social Computing: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications. Hershey: Idea Group, 2009. Print.
Harwood, Mike. Security Strategies in Web Applications and Social Networking. Burlington: Jones and Bartlett, 2010. Print.
Mason, Robin, and Frank Rennie. E-Learning and Social Networking Handbook: Resources for Higher Education. London: Routledge, 2008. Print.
Niciejewska, Katharina. The Influence of Social Networks in Japanese Business-Kairetsu as a Japanese Network. Munchen: GRIN Verlag, 2007. Print.
Raje, Fiona. Negotiating the Transport System: User Contexts, Experiences and Needs. Farnham: Ashgate Publishers, 2007. Print.
Rosenbloom, Bert. Marketing Channels. Hoboken: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Smith, Peter, and Ze Zook. Marketing Communications: Integrating Offline and Online with Social Media. London: Kogan Page Publishers, 2011. Print.