Social Networking Service is termed to any sites, service or platform which works for building up social networks or relations amidst people who share the same set of interests, real-life connections or activities. A social network depicts individual profiles of various people with their credentials such as date of birth, interests, occupations, friends, pictures and other activities. Most of these networks are based online and help the users to interact and avail the benefits of the service on the internet for example e-mail, instant messaging, Facebook and Twitter. At times, the online community series are also referred as social networking services but on a closer analysis it can be said that social networking services are focussed on providing individual-focussed services to millions of people online and community network services are focussed on providing these services to a particular group (Parr, 2010).
Now there is a broad range of social services available on the internet and some of them are:-
- Social networking apps specifically made for teens
- Social networking sites for finding the right business partner
- SNS’s for finding your perfect life partner
- SNS’s for searching your dream job and employees
- SNS's for sharing data related to business and massive files
Many other social networking sites are available on the internet which can be accessed by users for free, and all they have to do is get themselves registered.
It is true that everything has got two sides of the coin, and similarly usage of social networking sites has both pros and cons and in the next sections, we would be discussing both of them. Let us first start with the pros of SNS's
Social networks have brought the world much closer and people can interact with people across the globe and share ideas, visions, business, education and many other things via social networking sites. Around a decade ago, it was still easy to count the number of SNS's available for people around the world but now, in present time, the number of SNS's is increasing rapidly and are giving competition to one another on the number of services which they provide users. SNS's have grown the business area for various companies, created opportunities for online outsourcing firms, created awareness regarding various falsehoods around the globe and many more things. Let us discuss all these in detail.
a. The increased rate of prosecution due to the usage of social media
For example, in the year 2001, when the Vancouver Canucks lost their cup, the fans came on streets for rioting but the smart police department of Vancouver police took the help of social media for tracking and tagging people who were involved in the entire fiasco and were able to recover the trophy along with the accused thieves.
Similarly, in South East Asia, people in countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been able to demonstrate their protest against an absolute wrong deed of any powerful or corrupt minister through the usage of SNS's and justice has been done in many if not all the cases (Migrator, 2012).
b. New creations of social connections due to social networks
It is proven by the statistics that more than 70% of the adults use the SNS’s for contacting and being in touch with their relatives and family members whereas more than 57% of teens tend to make new friends with the help of social media networking sites.
In today's world, people have not got enough time to communicate face to face and understand each other's emotions. Hence social sites give them enough time and space for talking and reading people at whatever time of the day and at whatever place they are.
c. The performance of students has been affected for good due to social networking
Talk about pros and cons of the internet and social networking sites and how can one forget about the impact these sites have had on an integral part of our society i.e. school students and teachers. As per statistics from several surveys, it has been found out that 50% of the student using internet take help of SNS's for reaching out pupils and talk about their daily class course, home works and several other things. More than 59% of students use social networking sites for discussing instructive topics
d. The quality of life has increased several folds
Look at the number of health groups made on networking sites such as Whatsapp, Facebook and the number of people using these groups and the information in them for improving their lifestyle, talking about health issues and in critical conditions refer doctor who would be perfect for that occasion and problem (Jessica, 2016).
e. It has created job opportunities for a lot of people, and they can sustain a healthy lifestyle
All thanks to social networking sites as it has promoted internships, jobs (part-time and full-time) to some people and SNS's such as LinkedIn are used by job recruiters to recruit the suitable employees. Some online outsourcing ventures have opened up and desk jobs have been redefined into work from home jobs due to which even the employees can spend more time with their families.
It is right that social networking and the Internet has revolutionised the manner in which we communicated with our near and dear once, business colleagues and other people in our life. Unfortunately, there are certain disadvantages of social networking also and people tend to fall in the luring trap of the virtual world and forget their real life personalities, duties and act as someone they never were and will be. Hence, creating a void between their actual self and the virtual self-portrayed on social media which leads to depression, anxiety and an impatient nature (Staff, 2014).
Now let us talk about some of the major cons of the social media on our society:-
a. Social media and news
A current news reader gathers more than 27% of the news from the social networking sites which are only 1% less than the printed newspapers for which the figures are at 28%. This percentage is much greater than 18.8% of the radios and totally outclasses other sources of news which sit at a diminishing figure of 6%.
b. Lots of fake and inappropriate content
As the internet and SNS's have risen, people have started investing more and more time on the internet and so have people started investing time on the web by opening websites and writing blogs. Most of these blogs are supposed to be an account of personal experiences but slowly, these blogs have turned into mills of rumours, which spread inappropriate or wrong information to the readers. People tend to accept this information just because they are on the internet. This at times can have a disastrous impact on someone' health or approach towards particular lifestyle or maybe even worse.
c. Students spending excessive time on the internet and social sites
Just in the prior sections, we had been talking about the benefit which social networking sites have been providing to the education institutions and children and here we are to accept the sad fact, what was supposed to be an aid for students has turned out to be the cause of degeneration in a certain section of students (James, 2010).
For a matter of fact, a student using social networking sites have an average GPA's of 3.06 whereas the non-users of these places have an average GPA around 3.8, and even a drastic stats is available for tests in which students using social sites tend to score 20% less than their counterparts.
d. Social media sites and lost productivity due to them
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are one of the main reasons for the loss of productivity at workplaces, and people tend to waste time on these applications rather than working on their assigned tasks.
e. People being more shy and dubious when contacting face to face
Social networking sites have led to a lack of family time in many households and individuals tend to waste time on SNS's instead of spending time with family or work on productive things.
As per a survey, lack of communication amidst family members rose from 8% in 2000 to 32% in 2011.
Moreover, people tend to lose confidence when they are to face a larger audience because social networking sites have accustomed them to talking at individual levels or behind the curtains.
Real life examples
Logan Sachon, who is the Cofounder of the Billfold, wrote in an edition of NY Magazine on Mar. 8, 2016 opinion piece under the title "In Defense of Social Media."
There is a girl named Alice, who is 17 years old and she was able to meet her best friend through Twitter. Before meeting her, she used to remain lonely and always felt perplexed and de-motivated towards her life as no one around her had ever tried to be friends with her. It was only through Twitter that she was able to contact a girl who faced similar problems and they were able to share their feelings. This made her feel that she was not alone facing this problem and hence, later on, she was able to communicate with different people in her school and contact some people on Twitter. She had deepest of conversations with them and could understand and express her thoughts to them (N.D., 2016).
Hence, it can be said that actual relations are also formed on SNS's, and they can also be nourished on the internet and such relations can be pillars for you or anyone else in life. Virtual or social media life is not just a ghetto nor is it the second world with different dimensions. It is just a beautiful expansion of our little world right from our bedroom.
Lindsay Williams, who is a freelance writer, blogger and an editor wrote an article for a Relevant Magazine titled "6ways in which social media is ruining our friendships" dated Dec. 29, 2015. The report is available on relevantmagazine.com (N.D., 2016):
She says that whether we believe it or not but social networking sites have had a toll on our friendships and relationships. Merely liking a picture on Instagram of Facebook does not mean that we are close to that friend, it takes time for a genuine friendship to build up and preferable that is to be done face-to-face.
SNS's leads us to think that people on our list or the ones with whom we talk daily are our support system or pillars for life but in actual life, these are just virtual numbers displayed on a social networking site and nothing more. On social sites, we do not put our dirty pictures, dirty rooms or de-shaped body pictures, all we put over there are few special moments of a day and we never share our emotions when we were sad. Real friends are the once who have seen the worst side and conditions and then stayed with us. They are not the once who are with us only because of the number of followers which we have or the number of likes which we get.
We get so engrossed in telling our stories in the most interesting and impressive manner that we have forgotten to see what stories other people are reciprocating. It is easy for each one of us to have me-focus due to the tactics used by social networking providers but it is tough to share your personal space when any of our fellows, is in trouble because we have always been so busy in crafting our little imaginary world.
IN the end, it can be aid that different people can have different perception regarding the usage, benefit and damage which social media does to our society.
For many social media, networking has been life changing, and they have created a little space of happiness for themselves, and they are content with it.
On the other hand, we have a particular set of people who are highly frustrated because of the over usage of social networking sites and the number of coins which it has on our society.
Hence, it can be said that we have got our lives, and it is upon ourselves to decide our path. We can use social networking sites for our benefit and limit its usage and keep ourselves happy and content in the real lives instead of the virtual world. It is important to bear in mind that excessive use of anything leads to carnage and doom. So, be wise and use social networking sites for your benefit and for the interest of the society or else time will come when we would just be able to repent over our earlier decisions.
We will have thousands of followers but no friends; we will have hundreds of likes in our pictures but no one to appreciate our disgusting faces and moods; we will have a number of friend requests but no one in real life to come and approach us and offer a good face to face chat.
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