Anyone who thinks social networking is a twenty-first century phenomenon should revisit the nineties when chat rooms and online communities thrived. The present day social network or social media is an unstoppable and organic evolution of the same. The fact that social networking has been a game changer and empowering in many ways is indisputable. But there are advantages and disadvantages of social networking. Cutting through the hoopla, let us conduct an objective assessment of social networking.
Advantages of Social Networking
1. Social networking offers universal connectivity.
Never before, no technology or avenue has brought the entire world together on one platform. Social networking has redefined globalization. It has transcended geographical boundaries, international borders, religious and cultural differences and has given a voice to everyone with a computer or mobile phone and access to internet.
2. Helps to reconnect.
Social networking can help one reconnect with old friends, find new friends, find a date or the forever elusive soul mate, a new job or a new business partner, a new market, prospective customers, a fan base, some informational help or advice, to share common interests or to just speak one’s mind.
3. Allows information sharing in real time.
Regardless of where one is, what one’s identity is or what one does in life, social networking is a platform meant for any and sundry and staying connected and indulging in online activities together has never been easier or simpler. Social networking has developed a new society where all you need is an id and you can be yourself, without any ethnic, religious, national or cultural identity.
4. Social networking is a boon for business.
Companies can advertise their products or services. Branding has become easier and more cost effective. Interacting with fans or consumers on a large scale has become possible. From marketing to customer service, companies can cater to their customers.
Disadvantages of Social Networking
1. Leads to increasing isolation.
Those who believe that social networking has made us isolated or recluse are hyping up the adverse effect. People had already started becoming physically distanced from one another and that is why social networks became popular in the first place. But it is true that social network is further worsening the isolation. Real interactions are becoming scarcer.
2. Further amplifies existing evils.
Social networking has worsened certain existing evils and those have become more potent. Online bullying, abuse, hate mongering, explicit discrimination and many such vices have become amplified. Kids are exposed to undesirable content. There have been countless reports of crimes having been initiated or facilitated by social networking.
3. Leads to a lack of privacy.
Social networking leads to lack of privacy; people are more vulnerable to corporate agendas and nefarious activities like identity or financial theft. Also, it is a waste of time in many ways.