Essay on Social Networking Sites Uses and Abuses

Social Networking Sites is a Web server that allows Internet users to register themselves to create a personal profile and communicate with selected others. One can personalise one’s space on this site in different ways using personal information, interests, graphics, etc. to give an idea of oneself to other people. These Social Network Websites are more and more quoted as new sources of our life including happiness, depression, addiction, and new forms of the social and political life of democracy.

When we talk of friendship in the column ‘friend’ in these sites, we define a link that the users have with others, after a reciprocal agreement. This allows so-called ‘friends’ to have access to some part of the profile with personal information. Some people tend to think that ‘friend’ in real life has an aspect that is embedded in the private sphere of the individual, with references to reciprocity, trust and strong empathy to the other. In these sites, we use the summary statement of personal feelings using culturally approved terminology, and consequently, the real personal touch is lost in between. A teenager faces serious problems in understanding the distinction between virtual and real friendship. However, it has been observed that most people use these media to stay connected with the people that they are already acquainted within the Facebook conversation.

There are several types of social networking sites, such as—Facebook, My Space, Twitter, Flickr, Blog, Digg, etc. Some of them are professionally oriented, for example, LinkedIn, Viadeo or Xing. Their aim is to create a set of relationship and feedbacks to help both the flexibility of employers and the employees who can forward their resume as well as ask for recommendations from their ex-employers through these sites. There are some others that are interest-oriented, for example, Flickr, a Nobi, deviant Art, Live Journal. Here users are usually linked by common interests like photography, digital arts, writings, etc. Then there are social-oriented networking, for example, Facebook, Orkut, My Space, Badoo, Netlog, Blog, Friendster or twitter. With these sites, one can trace the activities of one’s friends, chat, have a look at their profile, share pictures with others, link music, post articles or videos and comment on people’s profiles.

There is another important aspect of the networking site, that is, political networking. By this site, one can supervise some political action and demonstrate political-oriented e-mailing. It can have a positive outcome where one can fight against corruption (e.g. India Against Corruption movement led by Anna Hazare and his team). It can have negative impacts as well, like the incident in the recent past when a large number of people of Northeastern India, who live in Bangalore, were threatened to leave the city through the socio-political website and bulk SMS services, even by imposing fake photos of earthquakes of some other places. Such ethnic threats could spread like fire through these media where people are all inter-connected to one another. Consequently, Some motivated incidents posted to such media could adversely affect a lot of people who are part of this electronic network.

The exponential growth of the popularity of social networking sites indicates that more and more people are attracted to such sites for both personal and professional purposes. It is true that there are uses and abuses of such media. Nonetheless, it depends on who used it how. Technology itself is neither good nor bad. It is the intention of the user that will determine whether it will fetch good or bad results.