Is Social Networking Good for Society?

Last Updated: 29 Mar 2021
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Is Social Networking Good for Society? With various ongoing debates about why social networking may be bad for society, I have found it to be a positive resource. Social networking comes in many forms. It comes in the form of facebook, twitter, and even professional forums such as Linkedin. In such a fast-paced world, I find social networking to be an invaluable way of sharing ideas and interests that allow me to remain engaged.

Although some may debate that social networking takes away from face to face and/or quality interactions, I have found it to be an invaluable tool in building community and networks. In fact, I believe it has given us a more effective way of communicating and engaging with one another especially in our fast-paced society. If I am on a work assignment that requires me to keep abreast of current events, one of my favorite tools to use is twitter. I find it to be a quick news feed and I usually learn about news first from there before learning it from the mainstream media such as television or radio.

On a professional level, I have found Linkedin to be highly valuable. It has given me the ability to connect with prospective clients or sponsors that otherwise may have never been possible. And of course facebook has been the staple for me as for many in helping us remain engaged and to keep abreast of graduations, weddings, births or other special events regarding our family and friends. Social media continues to make strides to make communication more accessible and easier for all of us.

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Just this week Mark Zuckerberg, founder of facebook, has announced that it is now offering a Graph Search function in order for the user to have the ability to run queries from one’s network of friends. It allows users to run queries in order to find commonalities or other areas of interest within friend networks. Twitter has allowed many in suppressed countries to organize and make their voices heard to the point of overthrowing oppressive government leaders. Here at home many have opted to use facebook or twitter to raise awareness for their special causes and obtain signatures for legislation they are hoping to pass.

On a more critical note, there have been cases where people have found an organ donor match or long lost loved one using social network sites. The deaf and mute have found a voice via their use of twitter and facebook and it has giving them a platform to be on par with the rest of the world. For the elderly, it has given them the ability to remain connected with loved ones. It has given them a way of remaining engaged and a way of overcoming obstacles of face to face interactions especially if they are experiencing physical limitations (Lu, 2011).

For those who have been concerned about their online image, they can take control by taking advantage of the resource Linkedin. There you can list professional achievements, build a professional rolodex, and ask for recommendations for visibility on your online profile. Various career sites have mentioned that prospective employers place as much value on Linkedin recommendations as they do on traditional references. It is also thrilling to see that social networking has provided a platform for online learning.

It is because of this invaluable resource that many, including myself, now have the opportunity of completing a formal education that otherwise may have been an impossible dream. Yet with all of these positive aspects of social networking, there are many who oppose the idea of it and for their own personal reasons. Michael Bugeja, director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University, has written a book entitled Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age. According to his book, one of Bugeja’s main objections to online social networking is the business models.

He argues that the main goal of online social networking is to generate revenue through their ads, not to build a community experience. Another one of his concerns is that online social networking, in particular facebook, can lend itself to creating addiction (Jayson, 2009). But according to Nancy Bayam, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, “There is not compelling evidence that spending time on social networking sites and expanding our social circles damages the close relationships we have.

People think that if you’re hanging out on Facebook, you’re not having quality face-to-face time. That is not supported” (Jayson, 2009). Also, in a study conducted by Robert Kraut, a professor of human computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, in the journal Information, Communication & Society showed that for those who communicated online with someone they knew, experienced a reduction in depression (as cited in Jayson, 2009).

Furthermore, Barry Wellman who is a sociologist at the University of Toronto stated, “The mythology we have is that people used to spend whole days hanging around community – like the bar at Cheers. They didn’t. They stayed home. If we switch from television to social networking sites, it’s a switch toward sociability-not away from it” (Jayson, 2009). Some oppose facebook because they believe it is a superficial means of communication. Others oppose it due to the cyber bullying and cyber stalking stories they hear in the news. Others fear it due to a feeling that it leads to an invasion of privacy or identity theft.

Some may oppose twitter because they don’t understand how there could be any value of sending messages at 140 characters per tweet. Other critics have the preconceived notion that the time people spend in front of a computer on social sites is time taken away from other positive aspects in life such as exercising or attending events in person. As you can see there are many reasons why critics of social networking believe it is bad for our society, yet the powerful effects of online social interaction seem to outweigh what can be misconceptions or fears.

Sharon Jayson, the author of the article published in USA Today entitled “Flocking behavior lands on social networking sites” (Jayson, 2009) finds that social networking influences human behavior regardless of it occurring face to face or online. In her article she quotes Claude Fischer, a sociology professor at University of California-Berkeley, “Those of us who study social networks believe they matter – that things do spread along social networks. ” She adds that Nicholas Christakis, a physician and Harvard University sociologist states, “In many ways, human beings behave like flocks of birds or schools of fish. She shares the observations by James Fowler, a social scientist at the University of California-San Diego, and Christakis, “Whether they’re face-to-face or virtual social networks influence human behavior and shape everything from finance to the way people vote. ” Since it is human nature to belong to a group, one can see how “joining” twitter, facebook or Linkedin groups is a natural part of our human behavior. Some experts state that studying the long-term effects of social networking is still in its early stages since this form of interaction is relatively ew. However, there are experts who are already disclosing positive findings from various studies. Scientific American Mind (as cited in Jayson, 2009) discloses that “social support and social networking offer benefits, from additional resilience to greater life satisfaction to reducing the risk of health problems. ” Apparently, other studies in recent years have found that in a large group the feeling of belonging to a larger group was beneficial for stroke victims in their recovery, and another benefit was that of improving memory.

A major benefit is that of helping to boost a feeling of well-being. Christakis and Fowler conducted a study based off of the Framingham Heart Study with a group consisting of 5,124 adults within a network of 12,067 people from Framingham, Massachusetts. Their findings indicated that participants had an average of 10. 4 ties to others and totaled 53,228 ties (as cited in Jayson, 2009). The results of this study are telling in that they demonstrate the community building that has taken place via these social sites.

With a all of the hustle and bustle and stresses of the world, achieving a feeling of well-being is priceless. Note The Australian Psychological Society in 2010 conducted a survey that disclosed some interesting findings. Participants stated some of the reasons they used social network sites were to check up on their kids, receive event invitations, and for business, promotional and professional networking purposes. Surprisingly, more than 50% of the participants stated they felt they would lose touch with friends if they were not actively using a social network site.

Some participants valued the use of social network sites especially if they had issues with being shy or for matters related to the heart. Nearly 80% had a date with someone they had met online and 82% had formed an intimate relationship with someone they had met online. The use of social network sites have also proved to be effective in the political arena. There was a telling study conducted by Matthew James Kushin, Department of Communication-Utah Valley University and Masahiro Yamamoto, from The Edward R.

Murrow College of Communications-Washington State University. It analyzed the online media use by college students for political purposes during the 2008 election. Facebook users could express themselves politically in various ways such as by making online donations, encouraging their friends to vote, and posting graphics or status updates expressing political attitudes and opinions. Twitter and blogs were used by candidates and voters alike to comment on social and political issues, share information, and encourage participation. - Kushin and Yamamoto, 2010

Twitter has proved to be such an effective means of communication for political activists that it is banned in China. Ai Weiwei a Chinese activist explains that in China twitter is used differently compared to other countries. In China 140 characters lends itself to writing a novel. This allows activists to share deeper ideas as they relate to democracy and freedom (Ladhani, 2011). All in all, there appears to be a consensus among experts in the social studies, communications, and other relative fields who have discovered that there are many benefits that come from social networking, even if it is via a computer.

As Christakis said, “So many things we normally think of as individualistic - like what our body size is, or what we think about a political topic, or whether we are happy - are actually collective phenomena” (Jayson, 2009). In conclusion, social networking sites have in fact given us additional tools to nurture our relationships, build community and professional networks. It has provided an avenue for people in the world including those in oppressive countries, to have a voice and create positive change on important political matters.

In essence, it has provided an equal platform where regardless if you are someone who has a physical or social impediment, you can remain engaged and be heard, even in this fast-paced world.


  1. APS National psychology week survey 2010, The Australian Psychological Society, Retrieved January 18, 2013 from http://www. psychology. org. au Bugeja, M. (2005).
  2. Interpersonal divide: The search for community in a technological age. Retrieved from www. amazon. com Christakis and Fowler (2011).
  3. The surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives. Retrieved from www. amazon. com Jayson, S. (2009, September 28).
  4. Flocking behavior lands on social networking sites. USA Today. Retrieved January 28, 2013 from http://www. usatoday. com Kraut, R. (n. d. ).
  5. Information, Communication & Society. Retrieved from http://www-bcf. usc. edu/~wdutton/ics_journal. html Kushin, M. J. and Yamamoto, M. (2010),
  6. Did social media really matter? College students’ use of online media and political decision making in the 2008 election. Mass Communications and Society, 13, p. 608-630. doi: 10. 1080/15205436. 2010. 16863.
  7. Ladhani, N. (2011). The organizing impact of social networking. Social Policy. Retrieved January 16, 2013 from http://www. socialpolicy. org
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Is Social Networking Good for Society?. (2017, Apr 16). Retrieved from

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