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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