Keywords: advantages of social networking, disadvantages of social networks
Table of Contents
Advantages of Social Networks
Disadvantages of Social Networks
Influence on people in the future
Data Collection and Analysis
This research report has answered the questions i.e. what is social network? What are the advantages and disadvantages of social networks? How social networks will influence on people in the future? The research report will specify in the fields of education and business, which are two of the most important fields in the modern world, as parts of advantages of social networks. On the other hand, the report will highlight the major problems of today world such as online crime and addiction to social networks as primary disadvantages. Besides, there are analyses and predictions concerning with the dominance of social networks and how they will influence on people in the future.
The main reason for choosing this research topic is because my interest lies in that field. Besides, I am intended to specify my study in telecommunication engineering, which is a branch of my major study, electrical engineering, at the University. Internet can be said as the base of telecommunication systems and social networks are extensions of the internet. For all these connections and reasons I chose the topic in the question.
1.1 What is social network?
"A social network is a social structure made up of a set of actors (such as individuals or organizations) and complex set of the dyadic ties between these actors" (Wikipedia.org)
"Social media is any form of online publication or presence that allows end users to engage in multi-directional conversations in or around the content on the website" (OnlineMatters.com)
"Social media and social networking focus on two-way interactions, between the site (or the person running the site) and the people reading or using it" (Salpeter,2011,p.6)
"Two-way interactions" means that comments are allowed in that blog and there could be interactions between the writer and anyone who give comments.
1.2 History of social networks
1.2.1 Evolution of internet
The internet technology was introduced in the 1960s. The forerunner of the modern Internet was called ARPANET and it was created in 1969 by a worked for the Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in the U.S Department of Defence. Basically, they just wanted to build an electronic communication system that could carry military data without disturbance. In 1971, an engineer Ray Tomlinson, invented the first electronic mail (e-mail) program. Twenty years later, in 1991, British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, invented World Wide Web and created Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that establish links.
1.2.2 Development of social networks
Social networks evolved since the internet technology was first developed in the 1960s. One of the first online communities was Usenet, which was created by Duke University graduate students, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis. Usenet was similar to a discussion forum where students can share their opinions and suggestions. In 1984, similar method of online interaction called Bulletin Board System (BBS) was introduced. Later, the emergence of social networks rocketed with the invention of World Wide Web by a British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, in 1991.
One of the most dominant social networks in the history, Friendster, was founded by Jonathan Abrams and launched in 2003. Along with Friendster, LinkedIn and MySpace also become popular in their respective fields. After 2003, the social networks become so popular that, by the time Facebook was launched in 2006, the Internet users had more than two hundred social networks to choose from. Nowadays, Facebook is regarded as the most successful social network with over 1.06 billion monthly active users, 680 million mobile users, more than 50 million pages and 10 million apps. (April, 2013 data)
2. Advantages of social networks
2.1 Education Field
In the survey conducted by Pew Internet Project's research, it showed that 67% of online adults use social networks. This data describes the fact that social networks can be used to improve the education of adults and students since they already have certain influence on the learners.
The main advantage is that students can further explore topics that they are interested in by using online social networking since they may have limited resources and time in school. Apart from that, for adults with unique interests, it is not easy to find friends with same interest to chat or discuss with. However, social networks link these people with the ones with same passion, where they can interact with people from different parts of the world.
On the other hand, teachers can take the advantage of studentsâ„¢ social networking abilities to create discussion forums, class blogs and online teaching. Such collaboration between students and teachers, acting social networks as a medium, can help the students gain opportunities to cover knowledge in a wider area and pursue interest.
Schools also use social networks as an intermediate to keep in touch with students. Certain networks such as Facebook, Moodle, Secondlife, Digg and other networks are often used by teachers to connect with students and to hold out-of-classroom discussions.
So, it is quite obvious that several advantages are observed for the impact of social networks on the education field.
2.2 Business Field
Social networking takes place online where people meet and share ideas, recommendations and experiences. So, it is similar to a non-stopping communication with a broad audience through a variety of platform or sites. This is one of the factor that the organizations are interested in social media since they can get different kinds of suggestions and feedbacks from people.
Many companies use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to connect with customers and prospective clients. This leads to a golden opportunity for job seekers to learn more about the organization and easily connect with people who work there. Job seekers can become acquainted with the ones working, through these social media, and once they achieve strong presence on these networks, it becomes feasible to reach the people with the authority to hire an employee.
Different kinds of social networks convey effective ways to find jobs. One can search about the company in Google by simply typing the name of that company. Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare are excellent social networks to be able to interact with the people who work in the organization. If lucky, one can meet with a recruiting agent and have some conversation and discussions which could increase the chance to get the job. Moreover, one's profile can be distributed on the social networks, which will increase the probability of getting the job. Mariam Salpeter, the founder of Keppie Careers suggests that, "Creating an online presence allows hiring managers, recruiters, colleagues and friends to know more about you, what you offer and what you want. It's a way to draw jobs to you instead of you spending your time searching the jobs" (Salpeter,2011,p.75)
One of the most important thing to point out the impact of social networks on business field is, social media marketing. By acting social networks as stepping stones, social media marketing can gain a lot of benefits including relationship building, brand building, publicity, promotions and so on. So, it can be concluded that social media marketing proposes several opportunities for entrepreneurs, small businesses, midsize companies and large corporations to build their brands and business. (Gunelius,2011)
3. Disadvantages of social networks
Highlighting the benefits of social networks, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t necessarily means that there are no drawbacks in them. Recently, online crime which is also known as Cybercrime, proposes an increasing threat to all the internet users. This includes online sexual exploitation and cyber bullying. One of the main problems to eradicate cybercrime is that it is hard to identify the offender and it is almost impossible to keep full-time surveillance in such a wide network.