“Social Networking that matters is helping people archive their goals. Doing it reliably and repeatability so that over time people have an interest in helping you achieve your goals.” – Seth Godin
1. What is Social Media?
Social media, basically defined as grouping of internet based an application that builds on the ideological and scientific foundations for transforming communication, in to an effective and interactive conversation between different societies and individuals. Social media is one of the easiest means and includes media and social networking sites like face book, twitter, Google+ etc. This is creating lot of boom in the current generation as it is one of the exceptional resources in conveying the information. Using social media will help in improving contacts and thus increases business. Social media may comprise of different forms like magazines, social club, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, micro blogging, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking.
But now the trend of getting information has totally changed as most of them are using internet to acquire information and to meet people. Social media is different from the usual traditional media which include newspapers, television, radio and films etc. This social media is less expensive when compared to the traditional media and is also easily accessible. This is not only used for communicating and interacting with people worldwide but is also one of the best ways to advance in business. Almost 70% of the business is done online because this will reach to the customers/audiences soon, all over the world. This is also one of the biggest pools of information.
2. What are the types of Social Media?
Social media can be categorized in to six types and they are: Joint projects like Wikipedia, blogs like Twitter, content communities like YouTube, social networking sites like Face book, effective game worlds like World of War craft and virtual social worlds like second life. Other than this social media technologies may include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowd sourcing and voice over IP and many more.
Whole of social media is managed using the seven functional building blocks and they are: Identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. Main purpose of using these building blocks is to get better idea on the essential needs of the social media viewers and these building blocks may differ with the type of social media. For example users of LinkedIn mainly focus on identity, reputation and contacts whereas YouTube building blocks are sharing, conversation, groups and reputation.
3. What are the advantages of Social Media?
One of the main advantages of social media is that it reaches millions of people in just a couple of minutes. One thing that is needed for any social media network is associates, as they are the commodity and they create value, not only to the site but also to the society. Some of the benefits are listed below:
► Reach: It is proved that this social media can reach huge audience across the globe. Industrial media uses a nationalized framework for grouping, manufacturing and broadcasting, whereas social media is more decentralized, less hierarchical and renowned by multiple tips of manufacture and service.
► Accessibility: Accessibility for industrial media is governed by government or it may be privately owned. Social media tools will be available to the public at a very low cost or sometimes at free of cost.
► Usability: Social media when compared to the industrial media does not need expertise skills and training, but it only needs the reinterpretation of existing skills. It is very easy to operate and access social media for a person with minimum knowledge of computer operating and one can easily avail the vast services provided by social media. Social media is known for its ease of use.
► Immediacy: Social media is capable of conveying information in just a span of seconds. People or audience can get quick updates on the latest news with just a single click.
► Permanence: Social media can always be altered with comments or suggestions which are provided by the industry experts or the audience. Social media will undergo rigorous change to cope up with the latest technology that is exploring in today’s generation.
Apart from the above mentioned benefits, other benefits are mentioned below:
► A flexible media: Social networking sites like facebook, twitter, google+ help users to find and connect with friends worldwide, easily with a quick process. These will also be helpful in promoting business by increasing contacts. Using these sites is very easy because they are designed in a way to reach the targeted audience and new features and functions are constantly developed so as to make the site more flexible in satisfying user needs. Many famous personalities for example celebrities, business men and famous personalities create their own blogs to promote their business or to express their views. This will make their work easier in reaching huge audience in a very less time.
► Network building at free of cost: When compared to journals and reports, social media will easily connect to the users. This will take less time in reaching the audience whereas the journals, reports will take lot of time as it is a tedious process. Social media also helps in promoting scientific researches which will be very helpful to mankind. Every service rendered by these social networking sites is provided at free of cost for its users.
4. What is the impact of Social Media on youth?
Social media has become a part of everyone’s life that it can’t be ignored. Social media has both positive and negative impact not only on youth but also on elders and children. Let us see some of the positive impacts of social media:
● Positive impacts:
♦ Friends: Making friends has become easier with these social networking sites like facebook, google+ and twitter etc. in olden days it was a bit tough to make friends unless and until one has personal interest of going out and making friends. Later after in the decades of 70’s and 80’s mobile phones helped in connecting and improving conversation with people. And now the exploration of social networking sites sprang up and it has changed the whole idea of making friends once more and forever. We can make unlimited friends worldwide and chat with them without any time limit and even at free of cost. Now a day’s even we can have a video chat which is also available for free of cost. This can be considered as one of the best advantages of having social networking sites. We can connect with friends whom we missed out in out childhood.
♦ Empathy: By connecting with friends through social networking sites we share all of our good and bad experiences with friends. This will improve the relationship between friends and thus creating good bonding. Thus by sharing both good and bad experiences with friends, we will be able to empathize with each other. Sharing one’s experiences with friends will also give mental relaxation.
♦ Rapid communication: Everybody is becoming so busy with their lives that they don’t even have time to communicate with their family members. Our time is getting thinner and thinner with busy work schedule and family commitments. Social networking sites give us a chance to communicate in a speedy and effective manner. Writing in face book, Google+ and twitter will reach as many people as we want just in a span of seconds and with no cost. These sites will allow us to live a life which is unhindered with a small talk.
♦ Be in touch with the world: Not only communicating with friends within the circle but we can also make friends worldwide easily. We can build a network of friends and we can share our ideas, photos and videos through these sites. Through this we can have updated news of friends and family members. We can emphasize our location by using location based services like foursquare and gowalla.
♦ Building relationship and finding a common ground in an open society: We can make a strong relationship with friends and relatives through these sites. This can help foster friendship and more besides strengthen us. Because friend is the only person with whom we can share everything related to our life. Connecting with groups will help in improving one’s own business, thus creating profits. Professional sites like LinkedIn will have many groups based on different criteria. Through LinkedIn people get jobs and some promote their business.
● Negative impacts:
Social media, now a day’s is leaving a negative impact rather being positive. Most of the youth spend lot of time on the internet to visit and check their single or multiple accounts. This will affect students, youth and productivity of work because of the extreme use of technology. The risks of using social media may also include mental health, cyber bulling, texting and revelation to problematical and unlawful content and privacy violations.
♦ Cyber bulling: Usage of social media may create a chance for emotional distress in getting frightening, irritating and degrading communication from another teenager which is called cyber bulling. It’s been proved that cyber bulling will build advanced levels of depression and anxiety for victims and also resulted in youth suicide. Most of the females become victims of this cyber bulling.
♦ Texting: Texting is used to harass people. Using cell phones and social networking sites for instant messaging to threaten, and hassle relationship partners is increasing day by day. One in three teens in relationships has been text messaged up to 30times an hour by a partner to know where they are, what they are doing, or who they are with.
♦ Privacy: Most of the teenagers are not aware of the website policies when setting their profiles and they may not be even aware of disclosing the information to the third parties like the advertisers. Most of the teenagers like to post their information publicly which will affect them when the hackers or people with cruel intension may use their information for wrong purposes.
5. What are the risks associated with Social Media?
The below risks are associated with Social Media:
● People who are spending more time on using these sites to gain information score less, when compared to youth who read books.
● The e-learning concept is booming and most of them prefer to this e-learning rather reading books which costs them more.
● Sitting before a TV or computer for longer time will create health problems and many cases have been reported in this regard.
● Using social networking sites to make friends is not always good because most of them make friendship with a bad intension. This may damage their reputation by adding unknown friends to their list.
● Extreme use of technology makes us more disruptive in life. Most of them get addicted to this, knowing its negative impacts. This may lead to low performance and loss of productivity in workplace as people tend to slink on their accounts.
● And on the other side some people tend to express themselves in a good form which they are not.
● People with cruel intensions target the audience who are irresponsible.
● Information published through this social media may not always be informative and trusted. Most of the times it misleads people with bad ideas and news.
● Most of them use internet or social media for wrong purpose which will affect the entire youth and also kids.
● People who spend long time over the internet show the signs of depression like change in sleeping and food habits, experience swing in moods and change in daily routine.
6. What are the recommendations for better use of Social Media?
The below recommendations can be helpful for better use of Social Media:
► For parents and caretakers: Parents and the caretakers have to alert themselves regarding social media and the means which their teens may use. And they should be aware of the risks to understand and navigate technology.
Family discussions are also one of the recommendations which will help teenagers in avoiding using internet. Parents should be concerned about the online protection and sharing of individual information and photos of their teens, as less sharing of personal information will prevent the risk. Most of the information should be kept private so as to avoid spammers.
► For community: Better resources should be owed to schools, libraries and community organizations, to help them in taking on risk management strategies and to offer education about online security matter. Resources are required for social services and mental health professionals, who job with minors and their families in extending their skill, to online spaces and also work with other members of the society, for identifying at-risk youth and interfere prior to risky performance results in unenthusiastic endings.
► Technological solutions: Internet providers like Google and Yahoo, and social networking sites, like Face book and YouTube, must continue in working with parents and policymakers for creating alertness and chances for privacy defense of youth and to expand technologies which will help teenagers in getting secured.
► Health providers: Medicinal and psychological health suppliers should comprise regular broadcasting to evaluate the risk for depression which considers teenagers social media use. For instance, assessing the time spent in using media as well as online activities or inquisitive about online contacts .Tools must be developed for helping providers engage in these conversations.
► Research Evaluation: continuous research is required on the achievement of social media based involvements, especially those focusing on metropolitan and countryside teenagers from lower middle class families and those with deprived home locations.
Social Network Impact on Youth
Online social media have gained astounding worldwide growth and popularity which has led to attracting attention from variety of researchers globally. Although with time all generations have come to embrace the changes social network has brought about, teenagers and young adults are the most fanatic users of these sites. According to various research studies in the field of online social networks, it has been revealed that these sites are impacting the lives of the youth greatly. When using these sites such as Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, there are both positive and negative effects on the youth.
It is inevitable to ignore the fact that nowadays social network plays an essential role in teenagers’ lives. Most youths are spending at least an hour in these popular social media sites. Generally, 1 out of 7 minutes which are spent online by most of those who can access internet is spent on Facebook according to Shea Bennett. One may ask how spending all that time on the social media sites may have a positive impact on them. Well, social media helps the youth and any other user updated with what is happening around the world, help the teenagers stay connected and interact with each other even if they are many miles apart. This strengthens their relationship even if they finished school and moved to different locations they stay connected and update one another.
In addition, social media sites have provided a platform whereby the youth can create groups and pages based on their common discipline and end up building connections and opportunities for their respective careers by updating various topics to discuss. Youth who have been interviewed they say that social media has become their lifestyle and it makes their lives easier and efficient.
While on one hand social network sites seems to bring people together and connected on the other hand it creates social isolation in regard to BBC News report. As the youth tend to spend many hours on these sites, they rarely have face-to-face interaction. According various studies, scientists’ evaluation determined that social isolation can lead to a host of emotional, psychological, physical and mental problems which include anxiety, depression and somatic complaints among many others.
Other negative effects of social networking various people suggested included encouraging poor spelling and grammar, exposing underage to online predators, allowing spread of misinformation that is perceived as fact, decreasing productivity as those who are supposed to be working spend time in the sites to chat, provide a perfect platform for cyber bullying and providing details that increase risks of identity theft.
Social networking clearly portrays both positive and negative effects on the youth. It is decision of an individual to make whether to continue using the sites or not.