Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Social Networking

Social Networks can be very powerful tools, but they are only worth what you make of them. In fact, that statement is applicable to the Internet as a whole. You can spend your days blogging about local politics, researching topics that interest you, shopping, talking to friends, or simply watching videos of cats in silly situations.

When it comes to Social Networks, they can be used simply as a way to keep in touch with friends and family or a place to play online games. On the other end of the spectrum, are personal blogs and a platform to promote yourself or your business. No matter how you use SNs, the benefits are apparent. There's no easier way to keep in touch, and even see, so many people. I'm able to see what my family in Florida and Texas are doing, including pictures, when I only get to see them in person once a year or even less. With regards to the business aspect, there is no cheaper, easier and more efficient way to reach your target audience than through the internet/social networks.

Now, having said all that, it's not as if everything is gumdrops and rainbows when it comes to this subject. Along with the debatable issues (from the Freakonomics Blog) including less face-to-face interaction, and the fact that it is becoming increasinly difficult to "disconnect", there is certainly a more sinister side.

One part of that sinister side are Gossip Sites (Chronicle of Higher Education). These sites are basically a platform for personal attacks from behind the shroud of anonymity that is the internet. Many a reputation has been tarnished and many more will be thanks to these sorts of sites.

The even darker side of Social Networks consists of stalkers and child predators. Between the (near) anonymity and the ease of access to photos and chat rooms, it has never been easier for a certain sect of society to partake in these deviant acts. Obviously, stalkers and pedophiles are not new to society. They have been around as long as humankind has, and while we will never completely eradicate these people from the earth, we can become more educated and actively educate the younger generations in ways to avoid becoming a victim. Much like when a parent tells their child not to take candy from strangers, parents of the 20th Century will need to imprint the same fear, except now the candy is digital.


  1. I never heard of gossip sites but this is interesting. I never knew that even those exist where people can post anonymously to attack the reputation of maybe famous people.

  2. SN is a great tool to use but it depends how you use it. I heard about the gossip sites from few friends but never looked into it.

  3. I think one of our assign reading mentions about the gossip sites. I don't think it as ethical.

  4. There are all sorts of social networking sites. I fear that soon every site on the internet will be a social networking site.

  5. Well as you said there are many positive sides to this and the fact of the matter is that if people are careful and know what they are doing on the internet, it'll turn out to be fine. I agree about 20th century parents telling their children, "don't talk to strangers, that includes online".