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Social Networking

While Social Networking is expanding everyday all over the world, it is changing our lives for the good and sometimes for the bad. Social Networking offers a variety of ways people communicate with each other. In addition, these sites can pose major threats to individuals through the privacy settings within each of these sites.

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Today in our lives social networking can impact our lives in many different ways. Nowadays, social networking has been taking a big part in our lives especially through the existence of gadgets that help us access programs such as; Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and much more.

Did you know that fifty-four percent of companies prohibit the use of social networking, but fifty-seven percent of employees admit to using social networks during the work time for personal use? And twenty percent of all divorce cases are directly caused by social media. Complaints about inappropriate conversations, or just plain jealousy between couples, end a marriage that could have blossomed into a family tree. People who live in the same household can’t even talk to each other anymore.

Some parents are becoming adapted into the lifestyle of having to “post” something on their child’s social networking page advising the child to come to the kitchen for supper. It seems as though that a person has lost the effectiveness towards their own verbal communication skills. The question that many people around the world ask is: “Does social networking affect our lives? ” Social networking has risen during the past few years as people tend to find social networks more familiar and relying on this with their communication styles.

Social networking first began to develop in 1994 where the first website Geocities was formed so that users are allowed the capability to develop their own websites. Since then I believe that social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace have made users communicate in the way of nonverbal communication where when they communicate verbally they tend to lack on how to communicate with others properly. I believe that social networking makes people act differently since they are allowed to pretend on social networking that they are someone they are not.

By this, it can lead to bullying and bullying can lead to stress and depression. Also the issue of cyber bullying has risen in the past couple of years as the popularity of social networking begins to increase and users tend to be harassed through social media on many different negative concepts. First of all, let’s talk about social networking in general. I think every minute someone is logged on, the further they are becoming unaware of the world. They tend to become addicted to the websites after being logged on for a while. Social networking websites make children and adults incapable of adapting in their own daily routine.

I remember the days when you wanted to impress that special someone, so you got a new haircut. You wanted to make a new friend so you approached them and started a pleasant conversation. In society today you write something funny on Twitter or update your profile picture on Facebook to really seal the deal. Even in our professional life, cyber socializing has evolved to such an extent that posting special pictures online can get you in trouble with your boss. Now businesses even take advantage of social media by tweeting about products and events. Who can draw the line between your professional and social life anymore?

Society has grown dependent on reciprocal communication not only for social interacting but defining one’s social identity. We have reality and the cyber world consisting of social networks like Facebook, Twitter and much more. There are obvious reasons why we get a social network account such as it is much easier to keep in contact with family members, reconnect with old friends or to promote businesses. They can also simply be good fun! Spying on your crush, stalking your favorite celebrities on Twitter so you feel a part of their world or even checking up on an enemy to make sure there life may just be as pathetic as yours.

When one world disappoints us, we tend to shift to the other. I know people that are the most quiet, shy and uninteresting person in real life, but place them in front of a computer and they are hilariously witty, which gives introverted individuals a chance to express themselves. Gaining a new follower, friend request, comment or even your pictures being reposted can really boost your confidence and make you feel wanted thus curing the loneliness effect. However, these websites can also have the complete opposite effect. The use of social networking sites has both positive and negative consequences.

It is amazing how someone can find a long-lost friend through a social networking site, where they can reconnect. In a society where people have become quite mobile and family and friends are often separated, it is convenient to keep in touch through technology. However, in some cases people tend to not look too far with problems associated with social networking sites. There is a debate on where internet addictions are real. To me it appears to be a real problem with, which some people have a difficult time grasping the concept.

Some believe that social networking websites contributed to cheating on a significant other, which often could lead to divorce. People have been fired from their jobs or put under pressure because they use these social networking sites at work or because something is posted on a site that undermined the person’s professional standing. Although divorce and loss of employment are serious issues, perhaps they are not as common as other problems that have the potential to stem from social networking sites. Some websites have shown that people display their narcissistic traits online (Buffardi & Campbell, 2008).

I often tend to wonder whether people use these sites to display their popularity to the world rather than use them as a vehicle to develop meaningful relationships. Social networking websites allow you to post and share personal information. With these sites you can publish personal data, favorite songs and movies, photos and events in your life. The problem with sharing personal evidence is it can put harm on you. Some people do not know what the right information and the wrong information to put on their social networking sites, and decide upon putting all of their information to the world.

Criminals and attackers look for highly personal information. Based on the details of your life that you share, they may be able to guess your passwords and end up impersonating you online to steal your identity. To help in identity theft do not post personal details such as your birth date, home address and identification numbers. Some of the great things about social networking are the ability to quickly and easily interact with other people. The problem is these websites make it easy for attackers to impersonate people you trust. Only accept as friends or contacts people you know.

If you blindly accept any request to join your network, then you really have no privacy protection. Criminals are using your trust of others to attack you. So take into consideration for the future that if a friend’s request seems odd, check to see if it really is your friend that is talking to you and not a criminal that has taken over their account. When in doubt, always call your friend on their phone to make sure. In addition to the information you share organizations hiring new employees or universities reviewing student applications often do background checks on popular social networking sites such as Facebook.

To protect your future outlook do not post any embarrassing information or photos of yourself. If it is something you would not want your boss or mother to see, then do not post it at all. Most social networking sites such as Facebook offer privacy controls. These are settings that you can configure to determine who can and cannot access information on your social networking page. The outcome is to give you the ability to publish private information, and then share that information with only specific people. The problem with most privacy controls is they are complex.

You may think your information is protected, but you may be surprised to learn that others can access it, such as Friends of Friends. Also privacy controls may not work as you expect so in some cases people who are not your friends or even third party applications can still access your information. Finally even once you figure out the privacy options they can change. The best way to protect yourself is to limit the amount of personal information you post. It is best to assume any information you do post will eventually become public, regardless of the privacy controls used.

If you do not want your boss, coworkers or family members to find out you probably should not post it to your social networking site. It can be exhilarating, at least at first, to connect with long-lost friends, says network science expert Steven Strogatz, PhD, a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University. But the downside, he worries, is growing confusion between our weak ties such as people who might be useful in referring us to a good dentist or helping us find a job. The distinction

between genuine friends and acquaintances is becoming blurred. Users are spending time maintaining relationships with people they may not even know face to face. In life it does take a certain amount of time to fully experience complex social emotions, says the lead author, cognitive neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang. Rapid intake of certain information, especially in younger developing brains could have consequences on our morality on how we develop ourselves when we are younger. It could also be a whole new source of unhappiness, says Strogatz.

On Twitter for example the conversations never stop. You start to feel that if you’re not involved in a conversation, you’re missing out. Some people may wonder why we cannot go back to the old days where we connect over a cup of coffee. Social networking has changed the society today for the good and for the bad. We need to come to the conclusion on whether we will allow this to affect our lives for the long term affect. Everything has positive and negative effects. We should become aware of the harmful effects and use these websites accordingly.