With the rapid change and growth in technology in society today, it is important to be aware of such advances and take advantage where possible. For example, over the last few years, social networking has become increasingly popular. Overtime, it has become the way the 21st century communicates.
In this social networking industry, there are many big market player social sites. Namely, Facebook, MXit, Twitter, MySpace and Skype are a few of the really influential sites to date. The use thereof, whether it is of a personal or professional nature, if used correctly, it can generate great satisfaction and if not, it can have just as many drawbacks. When used smartly, however, a great deal of benefits can be enjoyed.
On a personal aspect, social networks link people with the same interests, goals, and backgrounds. It forms as a means to reconnect with friends and family and build and maintain relationships. As mentioned previously, certain rights are relinquished once information is published on such sites. This is when the privacy and security start becoming an issue.
Privacy and security is a great concern when it comes to social networking. There have been numerous cases of fraud and all sorts of crimes committed thanks to information gained from these sites. It is therefore imperative to be cautious when deciding what to share, as soon as the information is uploaded, it is at the disposal of the global community. On some social networking sites, privacy and security settings can be adjusted to limit who has access to what. (Facebook is an example of such a site, and will be discussed further later) This serves as a means to try and control and manage the misuse of information.
Another reason that makes it important to be conscious of what one posts on these sites is that, as of late, many recruitment agencies and prospective employers sometimes look to profiles on social networking sites during screening of prospective employees. Which is why it is important that profiles on such sites are a fair representation of who you are and it is how you want to be perceived both personally and professionally.
A scientific description of a social network is described as a networking theory consisting of nodes and ties, where node are the users of the social network and ties being the lines that connect them. But generally, a social network is a structure made up of individuals or groups which are connected by either friendship, common interests, likes and dislikes, hobbies, beliefs and values. It is a wide range of interdependencies.
Social networking requires a great deal of information about the user to be shared with anyone who has access to the network. It does therefore make the user susceptible the misuse of this information by other parties as, as soon as the information is posted on a social networking site, all rights to the content are relinquished, which is one of the drawbacks of social networking.
Social networks are online services, therefore a website is needed to process them and these websites are called social sites. They all serve a similar purpose which is communication. But the differences come in on the controls or operations and the type of technology used. Some of these sites are termed traditional social sites because they do not restrict anyone irrespective of age, gender, interests and beliefs. The membership is always open.
These social sites vary and are utilized for many purposes, both personally and professionally. Professionally, a network used by many organizations especially those with clients and partners distributed all over the world is Skype. Skype uses a technique called voice over controlled protocol (VOIP) and one has to have access to a computer that has a web camera to utilize it because it is a live video conversation where users can see each other through the monitor of a computer. In the corporate world this technology is widely used as a way to communicate with other members in an executive support system whereby the members of an organization share ideas and solve problems using this technology.
Whatever issue that needs to be dealt with or vital decisions that need to be made, say to find the best model to minimize costs and maximize profits, this network would be used. The communication will take place via live video conferencing using Skype and it is convenient and economical compared to other forms of communication. Skyping does not require a lot of administration, all one has to have is a web camera and internet access. It is not only used by organizations, but by also broadcast media, like on talk shows if an interviewee cannot make the venue of the show, Skype is used to conduct the interview.
Social networking sites that have gained enormous popularity in society and enjoy the largest and most active networks is Facebook. The phenomenon that it is Facebook has revolutionized the way in which people connect and interact with one another online. Facebook allows the user to create a personal page in which information about them is published and available for all those the user has accepted into their network to view. The great thing about Facebook is that the user has control over who they interact with, with having the option to either accept or decline friend requests. It also allows the user to access more information about the other people they are communicating with within the network. Staying true to its main aim of connecting people and paving the way for easier and faster communication, another advantage about using Facebook is that it recommends people one may know.
With so much information that is floating within the network, Facebook has made the provision to try and protect their users by offering a privacy option, whereby users can alter or filter the information they want other users to know about them and one can decide who you want to open your personal information to. The social impact of such social networks is undeniable, like many social networking sites it may have a dual function, a professional and personal one.
There are actually a few trends on how people connect to these social networks. It may be through tagging. This is where one connects to a social site and joins a group with persons with common interests. For example, say you are a comedy fan, when you enter the network you browse through the variety of comedy groups, find the one that interests you, one can tag themselves in.
One can also connect via content sharing this is just like tagging, but one who connects via content sharing does not only have the intentions to tag themselves in a group, but sharing of articles, music, videos, photos, recipes etc. The whole reason behind content sharing for other users to assess or critic whatever one is sharing with the fellow users. For example Foodspotting is a content sharing site where users can share their preferred dishes and recipes. And there is the other site called Gotryiton where users connect to the international community seeking for fashion advice.
Furthermore some people can connect via activities. These are dating sites online whereby users share information on how they would like an ideal relationship to be, and then a social site such as Hookups will match the user’s common interests, and activities. So these kind of sites are technologically advanced in such a way that once they spot users with common interests they make sure that one gets the profile of the other including contacts exchange, then it is up to the hooked up couple to take a step further.
Moreover some people may connect via location. There is a well-known social site that specifically connects users via location called Meetmoi, whereby a user just enters gender and whether you are looking for a male or female, and the age range you are looking for, and finally the most important of this social site, ones address. For example one might be a man seeking for women with an age range of 25 to 30 and ones address. Once the site has all this information it is probable that it connects you to the nearest person you specified you wanted. The users will be notified via e-mail or SMS when the site finds you someone nearer and the same notification is basically used by most social sites.
Lastly, people connect via algorithms. This is where intellects connect to these sites to exchange models or calculations on how to solve various problems. There is an algorithmic site called Hunch, on it there is a tab where one goes through the proposed questions that requires users who are mathematically inclined to answer them, if they propose correct models they get attached to another tab. This is how effective social sites can be, but as much as users enjoy the advantages, there are also drawbacks.
To some other people social networking is no longer a hobby, but a lifestyle, and to others it has become a profession. When one is a beginner in any social network, they might connect for just a short period of time, because there is a limitation of one can actually do when they are beginners. But as you get used to it, as you explore the features, you find more people with common interests. Social networking now defines what and who you are. social networking is no longer is no longer what you would do in your spare time, but what you spend all your time on and this habit easily becomes ones addiction. For people who indulge themselves in social networks business purposes, this is a habit that brings them fruitful results.
It is clear that social networking has indeed revolutionized the way we communicate and that it plays an integral role in the global village that has been created over the years. It has changed the way some do business and only a few years into this phenomenon, the limits to where social networking can take the world as a whole is boundless.
Disclaimer: None of the content in this post is referenced and may be incorrect. Furthermore some information cannot be found through Google