By Swaruparani Sahu:
It’s the 21st century and the world has changed a lot in so many years. We can see changes taking place all around us be it socially, politically, culturally or economically. And one of the most important things which have successfully connected these elements is the internet with the help of which social networking is possible. Everyone from teenagers to the elderly can be seen connecting on social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. The concept of social networking has already faced a lot of criticism through charges that it affects young minds adversely and that the chances of being abused in the cyber world gets doubled. But in my view such networking has brought along positive changes too, in the lives of people. There was a time when to be in contact, people used to depend upon their phones or it was necessary to meet in person since there was no other way one could know about the other. But now social networking has given a platform where one can stay in touch with a friend or relative even when he/she is a thousand miles away. With the help of messengers like Skype and Yahoo one can make free calls to distant acquaintances which comes cheap and easy and most of the time, free.
Social networking has helped connect the globe together and has provided a platform where people belonging to various cultural and regional diversities can express their views and ideas on common interests. Academically also social networking has helped students with leaps and bounds. The fact that I have got a chance to express myself through online media proves the point, which was never possible before. Elders usually complain that social networking confines one to indoors and the life outside the network gets badly affected but it in a way helps an individual to show his/her creativity to socialize with people and develop skills which is not easily possible otherwise.
We can easily find out various governmental offices promoting themselves on social networking sites and no doubt it has given them a lot of popularity and a common medium to spread their concerns.
Now most of us do not use the internet to interact with some shadowy user name where we pretend to be someone we’re not. Ok, maybe people on Second Life do. But sites like Facebook and Twitter are more about extending your real identity and relationships online. That’s what makes them so useful while reconnecting with an old friend; passively staying in touch with people you care about but don’t have the time to call everyday.
Online social networking is not just good in terms of connecting and growing your personal network and business. It’s also becoming a great form of entertainment. Instead of sitting mindlessly drooling in front of the television, people now see connecting, creating content and communicating with one another in non-traditional forms, as a type of entertainment.
Social networking sites allow people to create new relationships and reconnect with friends and family. Increased communication, even online, strengthens relationships. Social networking sites allow for creative expression in a new medium. They provide free messaging, blogging, photo storage, games, event invitations, and many other services to anyone with access to a computer and the Internet. Social networking sites bring people with common interests together, offer exposure to new ideas from around the world, and lower inhibitions to overcome social anxiety. Internet users have larger social networks than non-users, and using social networking sites to maintain those relationships facilitates more face-to-face interaction. Internet users are augmenting their offline social networks, not replacing them.
Social media sites are expanding from general interest to more specific uses that benefit society. For example, sites have been created for medical purposes such as dealing with life altering diseases, alcoholism, drug addiction, weight loss, and autism. Social networking sites with a specific focus help introduce people to others who are dealing with similar issues and provide information, contacts, peer support, and encouragement. Nowadays the big companies have specialists on human resources that search for profiles in these social networking sites to recruit new collaborators. If you’re looking for a job you can create a profile and you might be discovered and recruited by a company. You can describe your capabilities and publish some of your works – and with a little luck you can find a job. If you have a business or site you need to promote you can do it by creating a business profile on some of these networks. You can load images, your logo, etc. into your profile and it will be visible for your virtual friends and all the users who visit your profile. You can also put topics on groups related to your business and establish new contacts that can lead to sales, subscriptions or anything else.
Therefore folks everything has its pros and cons and listing out so many advantages social networking for me is not so bad after all!