Social Networking Explored ~

INTRODUCTION: 

Mankind is now living and breathing the digital age. We are surrounded by the greatest technology and discovering more. Our future is full of flying cars, discovering life on other planets and of course teleporting where we want. I chose the topic of social networking to be my Year 8 ALJ project because this idea got me interested because I am a citizen of the younger generation and I wanted to explore deeper into the world of social networking online. During this learning journey I hope to learn what triggers us consumers to be tricked to join in this virtual world, the risks we are taking online, debate whether this application should be used or not and will these networks have an impact on our future anytime soon.

Technology is at our fingertips and soon will be our main focus for developing humanity’s future. I am now in a period of adolescence and currently the trends in this generation right now are to be connected with everyone especially using social media. Almost everyone I known either has email, Facebook, Twitter and whatever is somehow connected to internet as a form of communication. I wanted to investigate this purely out of curiosity and interest.

Social Networking is defined to be a grouping of individuals in specific groups like small virtual communities or neighbourhoods. Although social networking is possible in person, especially in universities, work places and high schools it seems to be most popular online. When it comes to online social networking, websites are most often used rather than software. Websites like Facebook and such are known as social sites, these websites function like online communities consisting of individuals. Depending on the website, many users in one of these online communities have the opportunity to share thoughts from politics, religion, opinions or hobbies.

We can virtually do anything on these websites. It is very interesting, they, meaning the social websites have tools which never seem to leave us alone. Once we log off or visit another website, they follow us secretly being disguised as a share button so we constantly have these social links by our side wherever and whenever to share, upload or do anything which makes it that much more addictive. Anyway, this project is a reflection on the learning I am sharing with you, during this journey I hope this will be as interesting for you as it was for me.

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SNE: What sort of impacts does networking have in store for us?

SOCIAL NETWORKING EXPLORED

 WHAT SORT OF IMPACTS DOES NETWORKING HAVE IN STORE FOR US?

 

Social networking is part of the social media world which has the power to redefine, revolutionize and have a massive impact on the world. Since social networking apps have been introduced to be on phones and other mobile devices, it has been more convenient, of course there are obvious reasons why this is a great tool for us to use, but for the younger generation is it more likely to be more of a distraction or should this be used in schools throughout the world. In my opinion, social networking will continue to grow and grow no matter what. Already it has been a big impact on education. The Horizon reports states, many colleges are beginning to make their own social networking sites specifically for them. Most social networks school related are closed to the public and are secretive only to the school and student body, most of these social networks created are small names, rather than the big names like Facebook and Twitter etc. In a recent study, this year Experian Hitwise has released some new statistics about the use of social networks around us. It is found in the world, not the U.S. but Brazil and Singapore are the leading countries for overall social networking use, while the U.S. is following behind. Hitwise also measured the length of time of the average user’s social network session around the world. Singapore spends around 38 minutes and 46 seconds per session and surprisingly us as Kiwis use 30 minutes and 31 seconds in one session with Australia trailing behind at 26 minutes and 27 seconds. With all these statistics in our heads what are the possible impacts this might lead to in our lives?

 

WRITTEN WORD

 

Already social networking and the social media has already affected the way we speak and write. They have had an effect on our written communication and oral communication. Email, SMS and types of social networking have already made irreversible changes to we write but that is not to say we write in the “social” way. Those of us who are used to the “old way” are likely to switch back and forth when appropriate.

 

The social web has changed the written word in a few key ways:

 

-Writing is now more concise, brief.

 

When Twitter had first announced of their 140 character limit, most of thought how to conduct something meaningful and significant in 20-35 words. We now realize Twitter was is encouraging and pushing us to get to the main point of what we are trying to say.’

-Use of different spelling and abbreviations

 

The younger generation are still speaking English but taking a different approach in spelling. Many parents don’t really understand this foreign language when their teenager sends them a text saying “TTYL” or “BRB”. People who are communicating either in SMS or social networks are not certainly spelling them incorrectly. To young teens it is just something instant and like they grew up with being introduced to pop culture is like a reaction more than a response.

 

TEENAGERS

 

Teenagers are often the ones who adapt to the new, trendy, technology savvy lifestyles easiest. Apparently, social sites are having a great impact on their lives but what is worrying parents, relatives or members of the community are the addiction to these sites teens maybe suffering from. Facebook Addiction Disorder or known as FAD is a growing phenomenon or any addiction disorder to these social sites can be deadly and comes with a price. Teens with this disorder feel they “can’t resist” the urge to check their Facebook/ Twitter messages. Hilarie Cash of the restart internet addiction recovery program in Seattle, US, says we get hooked on Facebook because we want reinforcement that we belong and matter to other people. “When you log onto Facebook, you’re hit with an unpredictable reward of wall posts and messages from your friends that release endorphins (opium like chemicals made in the brain. They contribute to a person’s sense of well being) to the brain and gets you hooked,” she says. Staggering facts like 61% of people under 25 have to check in on Facebook at least once a day or 48% of people update Facebook and/or Twitter after they go to bed definitely alerts how addictive social sites can be to anyone, teens especially.

 

There warning signs of Facebook Addiction or any online addiction is:

 

->  Loss of sleep (being woken by messages during the night)

-> Feeling anxious when unable to check your Facebook daily

-> Giving up usual or other activities in favour of logging onto Facebook

-> Schoolwork suffering due to too much time spent on Facebook and not enough time on study

à More online Facebook friends than actual friends

-> Neglecting friends and family

-> Lying to your parents/teachers about how much time you spend on Facebook

-> Spending more time on than you intended online

-> Thinking about Facebook all of the time

-> Anxiety or depression

ENTERTAINMENT

 

Social Networks are “platforms for self expression”

 

-Music

 

MySpace is the social networking site where musical artists today are getting their “big break”. These musicians have access to all their fans on the world without having to go on tour or spend money on recording and selling a demo. Musicians can easily post their music, blogs, information about merchandise and upcoming shows. Posting music on networking sties helps make the musician’s music go “viral”. The number of users of MySpace increase by 250,000 daily, which is a promising number of new music enthusiasts. Purevolume and Stolen Mix tape are other websites for independent musicians, easy and efficient ways to share their information and spreading the word about their music. Both of these websites have different tools which can be useful when needed but both have the same intention, to interact and network with the audience about their music.

 

-Movies

 

Music is not the only one in the spotlight in the entertainment industry, MySpace again has young filmmakers to get their independent videos on the internet while allowing feedback and comments from other filmmakers and the audience. Having the opportunity to communicate with other filmmakers can make it easier for the video off and running. Also, most of the movie previews on the television you see give you a MySpace link to that particular movie, an example is www.myspace.com/2012. Having a link to newly released movies gives Internet users access to movie reviews, soundtracks, plot summaries and trailers.  YouTube is another big name, it is widely used, popular social networking website where anyone can share videos with public or users. Statistics say ever minute YouTube uploads 24 hours worth of video, and get more than 2 billion views a day.

 

-Photography

 

From amateurs to professional photographers the social networking world opens with wide arms. From Flickr, iStockphoto and Photobucket are platforms which welcome new photos to be uploaded and get the chance to gain yet again feedback and comments is great help to shape the photographer. These photos then can be shared with other social networking site and may become viral as well.

 

-Books

 

Last but not least are good-old books. A networking website which is full of recommendations for whatever genre of book you are looking for is goodreads. Goodreads allows people to what their friends and fellow readers are reading, keep up with what you already have read, books you would like to read, find book reviews, and make reading “fun again.” Since the eReader became available in early 2007 it was not known very well but recently it became more popular by already passing traditional book sales. It is a tablet which has been introduced in world as an eReader. The consumer can buy virtual books and read from just the tablet with no fuss or hassle. The world is developing rapidly from already replacing books with computers and the with internet being a large resource in our world today, humanity will definitely have a modern and more sophisticated future ahead.

 

 

COMMUNICATION

 

What has changed and had the most impact in the world is definitely communication. The real impacts of the social world I think is much more revealing than before in businesses and personal communication. Somehow, telling the world personal things and exploring other blogs, Facebook and Twitter is socially acceptable in many inner circles. There is no right or wrong answer about how to speak or not. For better or for worse, with live in a world full of communication and we will eventually learn this new language of speaking.

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SNE: Are social networks our friend or foe? ~

SOCIAL NETWORKING EXPLORED

ARE SOCIAL NETWORKS OUR FRIEND OR FOE?

 

To be or not to be, that is the question. When it comes to young teens and their social media habits, the outcomes are both have positives and obviously negatives.

PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS

Exposing teens to social media can serve them to be fast learners but is also associated with some psychological disorders.

Findings mentioned in this section was part of the effects of social media at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention, were all selected from recent research by Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D., psychology professor at California State University.

For teens, social networking is like “training wheels for life” Rosen told The Huffington Post. They post information and see how others react to it, learning as they go. One major benefit out of this is that social networking can help shy teens become more comfortable and outgoing.

 

“Everyone knows whatever you write is public, but because there’s a screen in front of you, you feel somewhat anonymous,” says Rosen. Sites which include Facebook and Twitter can also have a positive impact on young adults’ lives by helping them be more understanding. Research shows people who are more involved with activities on these websites – more status updates, more photo uploads and more “likes” can also display more virtual understanding. For example, if someone posts he or she had a difficult day, and you post a comment saying, “Call me if you need anything,” you have just displayed virtual empathy. Even better, Rosen’s basic research suggests this could also translate into empathy in the real world.

But of course where there are positives, there are negatives. Among other findings, Rosen discovered a relationship between heavy social media usage and narcissism in teens. Narcissism is characteristic all of us have from a less to a greater degree. It is part of your personality when you are selfish and think about yourself before others, but as a disorder Narcissism is a mental illness and is part of the person’s everyday character. Also in Rosen’s other findings, students who frequently checked their Facebook during study sessions end up with lower grades.

Narcissism is not the only social media related disorder out there. Disorders can vary from UTL(Unrequited Twitter Love) an emotional state where the user is be obsessed and being crushed if no one retweets, likes or comments your brilliant update and wailing “Why hasn’t anyone retweeted me?” Obsessive/Compulsive News Feed Checking, the desire to constantly be checking your newsfeed or Twitter stream to see what everyone else is doing or make sure you did not miss out on something important. Commentitis, the condition when you feel required to post meaningless comments on updates, tweets or blog posts e.g. “agreed” or “I LOVE JUSTIN BEIBER” just to show that you are paying attention to them or looking for attention yourself.  Finally, lets not forget FAD which I have written about earlier about teenagers and how addictive social sites can be.

CYBER BULLYING AND ONLINE SAFETY

Trends around us are evolving, bullying is nothing new to school or the youth culture, and from the old days of bullies harassing others on the playground is now taken on a new approach. Now in this century things have taken to a new level by the not so new term cyber bullying. This is definitely something parents don’t want to happen to their kids and we certainly don’t like the feeling of it. Feeling threatened just by walking into the school gates before and now fearing using social sites and popular mobile devices where it is supposed to be safe, but feeling hopeless and just thinking we just have to live with this all of our lives.

Statistics show us particularly social networking sites have been growing fast, and so are the cyber bullying incidents originating from them. Experts believe that they will soon overtake chat rooms as the top source of cyber bullying world wide. According to some extensive research on middle school students and teenagers online, the fastest growing problems within the real world of cyber bullying includes;

–         Stealing a user’s name and password to a website and then using their profile to post rumours, gossip or other damaging information.

–         Altering photographs using Photoshop or other editing software to humiliate the individual.

–         Recording or screen shotting the individual’s conversations without the individual’s consent or knowledge, and then posting it online.

–         Using websites and blogs to post hurtful, embarrassing information about the individual.

–         Victims of cyber bullying often experience a drop in grades, decreased self esteem and symptoms of depression.

So far, it is not looking very good for social networking use. These were two of the many reasons why social networks should not be used. While on the other hand, there are positives. The following are reasons why social networks can be beneficial to our use.

RECRUITMENT

 

For all those looking for a job, this is an interesting piece of information you would maybe like to know. Networking and recruitment Is one of the many factors of the social media which is here to stay. Networking is considered one the many important components of job searching.  The use of social and professional networking websites could enhance your career or boost your job search. Many social websites have opportunities for their users some way or somehow linked to job searches. It is said 60% or some report higher percentages, of all jobs are found through social networking. This is jaw dropping, generating contacts consisting of family, friends, neighbours, college alumni, and people in associations, anyone who might have information or job leads. Contact anyone you know, you might be surprised with the results you will get.

In this situation, formal networking works just as well. Going to a business social or meeting event, you will find many other participants have the same goals as you do and will be glad to exchange business cards. There is also the old fashioned way, using the internet to network. Visit discussion boards like the Job Search Forum to network with career professionals and other job seekers.

 

MARKETING/ADVERTISEMENTS

 

Social network advertising is described as a form of online marketing that focuses on social networking websites. One of the major benefits from advertising on social networking site is that advertisers can take the advantage of the user’s demographic information and target their advertisements properly. There have been many claims that social network advertising will revolutionize the online advertising market. The most famous, founder of Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that “For the last hundred years media has pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be part of the conversation” There is no doubt social networking marketing is a significant way to reach consumers, but the market is far from being mature.

When companies or products join any social networking website, users can have the opportunity to interact with product or company, by liking a page, posting a comment or sharing anything with them. This interaction will feel personal to users because of their previous experiences before with social networking interactions. Depending on the websites, the application lets users “retweet” meaning posting the product of company over and over again repeatedly or commenting, therefore promoting the product and reaching more people. Through social networking websites, products/companies can have conversations and interactions with individual followers. This personal interaction can still have a feeling of loyalty into followers and potential costumers.  

So far social networking has already had a massive impact on events. In 2010, a Facebook campaign was in a form of a petition. Users virtually sign to have actress Betty White as the host of the show Saturday Night Live. Once signed, users forwarded or retweeted it to others. The petition went viral and on May 8, 2010, Betty White hosted SNL.

 

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SNE: Who or What gets us to join/sign on? ~

SOCIAL NETWORKING EXPLORED

WHO OR WHAT GETS US TO JOIN/SIGN ON?

 

Social Networking is growing as a trend as the years go by. Just years ago, a small percentage of us used this trend and now it has become quite popular as we and technology kept evolving further, like in the last two years the amount of users on Facebook have quadrupled in South Korea since in January 2010 from as little as 400,000 to a whopping 1,800,000.

While researching this question, not many results did come up. A survey I created indicates most people both join these websites because they do not want to get left out because it was so popular to communicate on Facebook or because a friend convinced them and got them into it. The reasons vary but are along the same lines. While answering this question another inquiry slithered into my mind. What was the motive for users to join these networks in the first place?

Well, the number one reason for joining a social network is because of identity says Shama Hyder Kabani, author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing. For nonprofits and organizations, most people join social networks to showcase their identity, second to build relationships and following behind is to belong to a community. Users do not join because of community, it is often backwards.

When we like a page on Facebook, answer a question on Quora, recommend something on LinkedIn or tweet something on Twitter, we do these things not because of community because of identity. Really social networks about me, me, me!

Although this is about identity there is a paradox about it as well. Most organizations and institutions do not allow employees to display their personal identity. Organizations would rather have employees show their institutional identity. Bosses would often want their personal identities under lock and key.

At work, users would often put their institutional personality forward. In organizations, we hide away our social life as a matter of bureaucratic survival. The casual, free spirited expression of our real identity is considered inappropriate in 1` showcases why social networks are so popular. They are free spirited, spontaneous, dynamic and most importantly informal.

 

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SNE: How do we known we are safe online? ~

SOCIAL NETWORKING EXPLORED

HOW DO WE KNOW WE ARE SAFE ONLINE?

 

In New Zealand alone, 79% of New Zealanders use Facebook as a source of communication, 90% of 15-24 year olds use this but it is a known fact that 350 million users world wide are under aged. So with all of these minors online is it really safe for their use? On the agenda that worries most parents is definitely the safety of their young ones online. It is known users have to be 13 years and older to make an account on network sites like Facebook, but statistics show that there are more than 350 million underage users have opportunity to access these types of networks at their fingertips. Tweeting, status updates and posting photos seem harmless unless you know what you are doing and simultaneously being cautious. Online we have a sense of being safe, but how safe?

Websites like MySpace and Facebook are leading social networks which are constantly being used so it is important to deal with some safety issues especially since underage users are online. MySpace has become very proactive employing their own filtering software and with more than a third of their large staff are dedicated to checking for offensive photo postings and underage contributors. But inappropriate content does slip through and contributions that some parents consider unpleasant are everywhere. So what are the big names doing about this to make this safer for young teens?  

Facebook is the second biggest largest network in the world and is also getting to be very proactive. Facebook has reached out to an attorney general in agreement to improve their control to protect minors for inappropriate content on their website. Facebook’s new safety standards will include new improvements like to carry out new technology to protect young users from sexual predators, cooperating with local law enforcement, adding safety tools for all users and also providing educational and safety resources. The following are the agreements Facebook has made and agreed to fulfil:

-Maintaining and updating a list of pornographic sites and cutting any links that they may have to Facebook.

-Increasing efforts to remove cyber bullying, pedophilia, and incest groups and individuals off of the Facebook site.

-Removing any inappropriate images and content found within the site.

-Displaying the safety tips when using the Facebook website and requiring under age children to affirm and agree that they have read the Facebook safety tips before they sign up to use the website.

-Thoroughly check into users that have requested to change their age. The requests will be logged and only a single request will be allowed to change an age to above or below eighteen years of age.

-Companies offering services such as “widgets” to implement and enforce the Facebook safety and privacy guidelines.

-Limiting specific ads for age restricted products like alcohol or tobacco to users who are old enough to purchase them.

-Removing profiles and not allowing any registered sex offenders to use the Facebook network.

-Allowing parents the opportunity by giving them tools to remove their underage child’s profile from the web site completely.

-Restricting users over the age of eighteen and not allowing them to seek users under the age of eighteen. There have also been also limits on specific searches made.

Raising the safety standards for Facebook has been a milestone the network as well for social network safety and has brought Facebook success for both adults and young adolescents, knowing we are being protected from predators, scammers, hackers or whatever is out there is very reassuring.

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SNE: Conclusion ~

 

SOCIAL NETOWRKING EXPLORED

CONCLUSION

          

 

Social networking is a labyrinth full of pros, cons and interesting facts along the way. I have gained new knowledge since this project started. Users need to beware of dangers lurking whilst online, but networks can be trusted by networks doing it’s best to protect us and everyone online. Although there are positives and negatives, this application has brought many people together either from using it as another medium of communication to friends and loved or just belonging to a community.  

On this journey, I have quite a few times I was surprised, amazed or gasping as I encountered new facts and knowledge I did not have before. Yeah sure, mostly everyone knows about what’s out there and just carries out through life like they do not have any care in the world although to some, this topic can be very boring and just a bad excuse to research about. To be honest before the few weeks I started researching about this topic I would have said” We already known about online safety and cyber bullying and all that stuff we learnt during class.” Now thinking back, I would say I was ignorant.  With this new knowledge I hope to share it with a new blog. This blog I hope will inform others with my knowledge as use a resource further on.  The social age will definitely keep evolving no matter what and everything will keep changing for better or worse. Hopefully, humans in future will still be as strong as we are now, still communicating face to face and not to be completely relying on technology as the only source of communication.  Our world is beautiful and this learning journey has made me realise this social world has some flaws but as well as benefits, to also be cautious and have common sense. This has definitely let me into a new perspective of the world. Sanguinely, you can see this as well when you read my project

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Social Media Statistics and Facts 2010- Video

Social Media Statistics and Facts 2011- Video

Social Networking Statistics 2011- Video

Social Media Revolution- Video

Dolly Magazine Page 68-67 Addicted to Facebook

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