Social Networking: Meaning, Advantages, and Disadvantages
Introduction: Social networking has become an inseparable part of our life! Not even a single day passes away without our checking pages of sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.! So let us why not hold for a second and understand what actually social networking is and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Social Networking – Meaning
Social networking is a virtual communication process that mainly comprises user interaction with various other users, especially people with similar interests. However, this is a very crisp definition of social networking, but it clearly describes the reason of popularity for various social networking sites and social networking apps.
Social networking can also be described as an easy communication phenomenon in which people exchange their views, opinions, thoughts and information on a common platform provided to them by the online world.
The major features of social networking include the following:
Social Networking – Features
- Social Network of people – Just as this term suggests, social networking is the social network of people where every member can chat with other users of his/her own choice. The worldwide network of people helps users connect in an easy, efficient and simple way.
- Sharing of Information between people – Be it the social networking sites or apps, the major reason why they are used is the sharing of information! Be it the exam info, friend’s info, political info or any other type of information, it can be shared with numerous people in moments through social networking. Social network users can also share images, files and content with each other.
- Online Platform for people who Share Similar Interests – Another important feature of social networking is that it provides a platform to users where they can find people who have similar interests. The simple User Interface (UI) makes it much easier to make friends, share and collect information.
- Electronic Communication – Social networking is a process of electronic communication where you can communicate with other users with the help of messages, tweets, chat or emails. For example, a piece of info can be shared via clicking the share, tag or email button provided on many social networking sites.
- Submitting & Sharing Links – Another feature which makes social networking highly popular is the privilege of allowing users to submit and share links of their choice. Apart from the general interaction, this link strategy is vastly used by many marketers, sellers and businessmen.
- Social Communication – Social networking sites are actually platforms for mass communication. This is why so many politicians worldwide are active on social sites today!
- Opinion through Content &Voting, Call-to-Action – Social networking helps you express and opine with the help of easy options like ‘voting’, ‘like’, ‘dislike’, etc. These Call-to-Action buttons are quite easy to use and help users in expressing themselves in just few seconds!
- Provides an Online Identity – When you register yourself at any social networking site, you are provided to choose a username for yourself. You can explain what you like & dislike, what are your interests and other personal info that you want to share with others. Thus, you get a personal identity. Also, you can choose with whom you want to share this personal info of yours!
- Good Search Facility – Searching for a long lost friend? Searching for a job? Searching for a business partner? Well, searching and finding suitable options for the same is another appealing feature of social networking sites.
- Real Time Updates – Who doesn’t love to share images of being standing at Times Square to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Well, social networking sites allow you to update your real time status by posting latest info and images on where you are and what you are doing!
Advantages of Social Networking
- Connect with friends and families – Find friends and family members. Add them, send message to them and stay connected with them! Social networking always helps you stay connected!
- Share photos and information with friends – With the help of social sites and apps, you can share any info, content, image, file or photograph with your friends, any time or anywhere!
- Find people who share similar interests – It always feels good to talk with people who share interests like us! And, social networks help you find such people in just few clicks! Also, you can find many groups or communities that are based on people with similar interests. By being a part of such groups, you too can participate in the ongoing chats or discussions.
- Business promotion, branding and expansion – Today, social networking sites are not only confined to communication. They have become super-hit places to promote and expand your business. Social sites help you display your products, brands, offers, etc through your personal account and hence, promoting business becomes very easy and fast!
- Boosts ecommerce and online websites: Aids in attracting traffic – Websites can really benefit a lot by using social networking sites in a correct way. Much of targeted users and traffic can be attracted with the help of these sites.
- Gain and share information with others – Social sites help you get info on almost every subject. What actually matters is that whether you have selected the right group/community or not!
- Express opinions – You can express your opinions and thoughts on any post/link posted by others. Thus, social networking sites allow you to express your opinions.
- Cost Effective – Have you ever given it a thought that how much does it take in physical promotion of businesses OR in finding the target audience? Well, promoting, marketing, and expanding businesses through social networks are very cost effective ways!
- Educate consumers – You can also educate and connect with the consumers with the help of these social platforms. You easily get to explain your products/brand on these platforms. In addition, you can clarify your consumers’ doubts on these platforms easily.
- Social identity – Social networking sites help users, including common users, businesspeople, entrepreneurs and others, build a strong social identity.
Disadvantages of Social Networking
- Fake and incorrect information sharing – Social networking sites can create panic when fake and wrong information is shared upon them. Some people might use these busy virtual platforms to create panic and tension.
- Innocent people fall easy prey of false schemes – Many times, the fake companies or people can attract some innocent or inexperienced users towards false schemes. Hence, social networking sites should be used carefully.
- Lacks emotional connect – No matter, how happy and content we feel while using these sites, but the truth is that these social sites lack that emotional connect which we need in physical. Therefore, these sites lack the pleasure that we actually feel in meeting our friends or family.
- Increased Threats – Some people can use these sites for sending illegal or offensive messages that can create tension in various communities.
- Misuse of Freedom – The freedom of expression on social networking sites can be misused by many unwanted elements in the form of prank and harmful jokes, bullying, invasion on users’ privacy, etc.
- Increased communication gap – Another disadvantage of social networking sites is that they are indirectly responsible for continuously increasing communication gap among family members. Be it teens or adults; everyone is so busy in these social sites chatting that they hardly find time to communicate with each other.
- Wastage of time, energy, and money – Using too much of these sites invites wastage of time, energy and money. The same time can be used for doing so many other tasks that turn out to be fruitful in many senses. Spending limited time on these sites is one thing and spending hours, is altogether a different thing!
- Threats to Privacy -It is suggested that members of various social networking sites should use these online platforms carefully. They should not share their personal information with anyone unless they are completely assured about the same.
- Web Addiction – Chatting and sharing thoughts, information, etc. on social sites seems interesting, but excess of everything is bad! Hence, social sites when used excessively give rise to the problem of web addiction.
Social networking sites have really made this world a smaller place! All of us should use them cleverly and intelligently. In addition, we should always remember that spending some time on these sites is all right, but we should never become addicted to these sites. If used this way, social networking sites will help us achieve good results both personally and professionally! The best way to use these sites is to set an objective that why you actually want to use these sites!