1.1 What is social network?
Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features.
• Social media are interactive Web 2.0 Internet-based applications.
• User-generated content, such as text posts or comments, digital photos or videos, and data generated through all online interactions, is the lifeblood of social media.
• Users create service-specific profiles for the website or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization.
• Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals or groups.
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 Defense. 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.
(Carolyn Duffy Marson, 09 Feb 2009)
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. (Walt Howe, 23 August 2016)
2.0 Advantages of social networks
• Connectivity – The first and main advantage of the social media is connectivity. People from anywhere can connect with anyone. Regardless of the location and religion. The beauty of social media is that you can connect with anyone to learn and share your thoughts.
• Education – Social media has a lot of benefits for the students and teachers. It is very easy to educate from others who are experts and professionals via the social media. You can follow anyone to learn from him/her and enhance your knowledge about any field. Regardless of your location and education background you can educate yourself, without paying for it.
• Help – You can share your issues with the community to get help and giddiness. Whether it is helping in term of money or in term of advice, you can get it from the community you are connected with.
• Information and Updates – The main advantage of the social media is that you update yourself from the latest happenings around in the world. Most of the time, Television and print media these days are biased and does not convey the true message. With the help of social media you can get the facts and true information by doing some research.
• Promotion – Whether you have an offline business or online, you can promote your business to the largest audience. The whole world is open for you, and can promote to them. This makes the businesses profitable and less expensive, because most of the expenses made over a business are for advertising and promotion. This can be decreased by constantly and regularly involving on the social media to connect with the right audience.
• Noble Cause – Social media can also be used for the noble causes. For example, to promote an NGO, social welfare activities and donations for the needy people. People are using social media for donation for needy people and it can be a quick way to help such people.
• Awareness – Social media also create awareness and innovate the way people live. It is the social medium which has helped people discover new and innovative stuffs that can enhance personal lives. From farmers to teachers, students to lawyers every individual of the society can benefit from the social media and its awareness factor.
• Helps Govt and Agencies Fight Crime- It is also one of the advantages of the social media that it helps Governments and Security Agencies to spy and catch criminals to fight crime.
• Improves Business Reputation – Just like it can ruin any business reputation, It can also improve business sales and reputation. Positive comments and sharing about a company can help them with sales and goodwill. Since people are free to share whatever they want on the social media, it can impact positively when good words are shared.
• Helps in Building Communities – Since our world has different religions and beliefs. Social media helps in building and participating in the community of own religion and believes to discuss and learn about it. Similarly, people of different communities can connect to discuss and share related stuffs. For example Game lover can join games related communities; car lover can join communities related to cars and so on.
3.0 Disadvantages of social networks
• Cyber bullying – According to a report published by PewCenter.org most of the children have become victims of the cyber bulling over the past. Since anyone can create a fake account and do anything without being traced, it has become quite easy for anyone to bully on the Internet. Threats, intimidation messages and rumors can be sent to the masses to create discomfort and chaos in the society.
• Hacking – Personal data and privacy can easily be hacked and shared on the Internet. This can make financial losses and loss to personal life. Similarly, identity theft is another issue that can give financial losses to anyone by hacking their personal accounts. Several personal twitter and Facebook accounts have been hacked in the past and the hacker had posted materials that have affected the individual’s personal lives. This is one of the dangerous disadvantages of the social media and every user is advised to keep their personal data and accounts safe to avoid such accidents.
• Addiction – The addictive part of the social media is very bad and can disturb personal lives as well. The teenagers are the most affected by the addiction of the social media. They get involved very extensively and are eventually cut off from the society. It can also waste individual time that could have been utilized by productive tasks and activities.
• Fraud and Scams – Several examples are available where individuals have scammed and commit fraud through the social media.
• Security Issues – Now a day’s security agencies have access to people personal accounts. This makes the privacy almost compromised. You never know when you are visited by any investigation officer regarding any issue that you mistakenly or unknowingly discussed over the internet.
• Reputation – Social media can easily ruin someone’s reputation just by creating a false story and spreading across the social media. Similarly businesses can also suffer losses due to bad reputation being conveyed over the social media.
• Cheating and Relationship Issues – Most of the people have used the social media platform to propose and marry each other. However, after some time they turn to be wrong in their decision and part ways. Similarly, couples have cheated each other by showing the fake feelings and incorrect information.
• Health Issues – The excess usage of social media can also have a negative impact on the health. Since exercise is the key to lose weight, most of the people get lazy because of the excessive use of social networking sites. This in result brings disorder in the routine life. This research by discovery will shock you by showing how bad your health can be affected by the use of the social media.
• Social Media causes death – Not just by using it, but by following the stunts and other crazy stuffs that are shared on the internet. For example bikers doing the unnecessary stunts, people doing the jump over the trains and other life threatening stuffs. For example in a video 14 year old from Mumbai was doing stunts on a running train which caused his death. These types of stunts are performed by the teenagers because of the successful stunts made and shared over the social media.
• Glamorizes Drugs and Alcohol – One of the disadvantages of the social media is that people start to follow others who are wealthy or drug addicted and share their views and videos on the web. This eventually inspires others to follow the same and get addicted to the drugs and alcohol.
4.0 Influence on people in the future
4.1 Positive Influence
Apart from the negative aspects of social networks, there are some occasions that they can influence people’s lives positively in the future. One of these influences is that people will obtain more convenient ways of living. Holding meetings and discussion forums using social networks will make time for the busy business-men to spend more time with their family. Online shopping will reduce the time consuming of housewives, when they can do other house chores. Moreover, students can have online learning days where they can interact with people from different parts of the world and share their ideas and debate issues.
The next fact is that social networks will help people to be able to keep in touch with the developing world. This includes sharing latest news, stock share prices and gold prices. Since social networks become available on mobile phones during these days, people will always be informed with the current news of the world.
Last but not least, some experts of social networking want to advance it to the stage of communication where it can replace telephone. So far, social networking sites such as Google, Facebook and Skype became major media for oversea communication. Scientists of social networks believe that they can create new communication technology that could possibly replace mobile phones in the future.
4.2 Negative Influence
Although the social networks can conduct many positive influences, they impose negative ones at the same time. The major drawback is that people may start to lose physical communication and interaction in the real world. For example, two people become best friends online but they do not talk to each other in the real world. Besides, there will be no conversation between partners in the job as the systems are computer control and they can communicate by simply typing some words in chat box.
The second influence is the case of students and children. While students can gain knowledge when they use social networks, they can also face with threats and online hazards. Most people believe that cyber-crime rate will increase in the future as the criminals can manipulate different ways and methods of crimes in such a world with over 300 social networking sites.
On the other hand, there is possibility that people, especially between the age of 15 and 25, will become more addicted to social networks in the future. Moreover, since social networks start to focus their websites on entertainment and business commercials rather than on education, people may spend more of their time on the networks instead of reading or doing physical exercises. Spending over time on social networks is not favorable to health also because when one is using the networks, he or she is doing nothing but sitting in front of a screen or lying on a sofa.
After analyzing all the advantages and disadvantages of social networks, the organizations which specify their interest in social media, came up with several recommendation concerning with the usage of social networks.
• Parents must check their children profile regularly and explain about cybercrimes. This will make children to be familiar with the ways of approaching of cyber predators and parents can take precautions for their children.
• One should not accept friend requests if the person is not an acquaintance in the real world. Besides, one should not share personal information such as address, telephone number and email address in social networking sites.
• if someone is bullied or harassed, he or she should report to the authorities of respective social networking sites and contact police when serious threats are made.
As a communication media social networks has a big role in acting as a mediator of it. But on the practical life we need more time that we spend in the social networking sites so adjusting the time for social communicate and try to avoid it to not to get addicted to it. Proper time management will keep us safe from addicted to the social networks. It is possible to collect more knowledge with the help of social networks by connecting on the knowledge sharing pages or accounts. We can share our thoughts and opinions through social Medias and can share our happiness and sadness with others through it but it can’t help anyone to get ride from a danger. So there are many uses are there with social networks but the most important thing that user need to remember is use it wisely and care about yourself to keep you safe from different social networking problems.