Welcome to the Social Networking pros and cons WikiEdit
IT 103 _ 005
October 3, 2012
The Social Networking Advantage
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What’s the recent technology that has students procrastinating and teachers yelling? That’s right social networking sites, this technology has exploded in growth over the last 10 years. These sites have connected users all around the world, allowing friends and family to keep in touch with each other, finding potential love on dating sites, and even finding jobs using social networking. With every new technology there is pros and cons, social networking is no different. Do the benefits of making connections, staying in touch, and business inquires worth the legal, ethical, social and security problems this technology faces?
So what is social networking? A social networking site is a site that allows users to share daily activities, share interests and expand their circle of friends. There are several different types of social networking sites most serve dating, friendship, and business related roles. Social networks allow users to post photos, interests, updates, and so forth on their own profile page. The top dogs of each category are Okcupid for dating, Facebook for friendship and LinkedIn for business.
How did social networking come to be? The very first social networking site was sixdegress.com, it was a site that allowed users to list their friends, family, and acquaintances on a page (a primitive friends list). Sixdegrees.com ran from 1997 to 2001, then Friendster came along in 2002. The big moment for social networking was in 2003 when myspace came into existence.(Boyd, Ellison, 2008) This site set the standard for social networking sites. It drew in users by combining entertainment and customization with the social networking scheme. Bands could upload their music on a page with all their details then link to all their friends or anybody. The common user could put music on their page, set their mood with an emoticon, post on their on page, a friends page, or a group page. Myspace would later be overtaken in popularity by todays giant Facebook.
In 2004 the current beast of social networking came into existence. Facebook started as a social networking site targeted at the college student demographic, but when it became upon to everyone it exploded.(Phillips , 2007) Currently it has 955 million active users. Facebook is the go to social networking site because of ease of use, user base, and personalization. Facebook is very simple to use create a profile and start posting is pretty much all it takes, this really appeals to the older generations looking to stay in touch with their kids/grandkids. Part of the appeal is its user base, let’s face it almost everyone in the younger generation has a Facebook and if you don’t you’re considered an outlier. The place where Facebook succeeds most is personalization, it allows users to “like” music, products, shows, etc and these interests are saved to their profile for others to see.
Social networking has a plethora of benefits, the most obvious one being the social benefit. A user can connect with friends, and meet new ones based on information seen on their profile. In addition to this events can be set up using social networking. A host can set up a page for a event and see who is going and who isn’t, RSVP cards are a thing of the past now. Social networks are a new medium for creative expression. They provide free photo storage, messaging, blogging etc to any user with an account and a connection to the internet. Social networking also assists in major life issues. 60 million Americans received help with major life issues(fining a job, a place to live, buying products, and caring for someone with an illness) (Raine, 2006)
Social networking is also very helpful for educational reasons. 59% of students with access to the Internet report that they use social networking sites to discuss educational topics such as college and career planning, in addition 50% of students report that they use social networks to discuss school assignments.( National School Boards Association, 2009) Social networks also help users learn new technologies as well as keeping users up to date on current technologies.
Legal and Ethical issues
Social networking is not all peaches and cream though, like most technologies it has its legal and ethical issues. A big legal problem that social networking users run into is the posting of third party content, this isn’t really surprising due to the fact most social networks are used for posting content. Using any third party content (photos, videos, songs, etc.) is a punishable offense under the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Section 101, et. seq. This means whenever you post a photo/video/song that is not yours and don’t have permission to use it, you the user are at risk of copyright infringement (Ossian, Miller, Canfield, Paddock , Stone, 2009).The most popular legal issue is the ownership/control of your content. Does the company or the user own the content he or she posts? Facebook’s privacy page states “While you are allowing us to use the information we receive about you, you always own all of your information. Your trust is important to us, which is why we don't share information we receive about you with others unless we have: received your permission, given notice... and removed your name…” (Facebook, 2012)So in effect the user owns all their info, but by agreeing to the terms of service you’re allowing Facebook to use your info as they please. This can be seen by the ads tailored to your info/”likes” on the right hand side of your Facebook page.
Can the content you post be used against you in the court of law? The answer Is yes here is a yahoo article shows how “Accused gang member Melvin Colon had argued in court that investigators violated his constitutional right to privacy when they viewed his Facebook profile via one of his friends' accounts. But US District Judge William Pauley III ruled that Colon's messaged threats and posts about violent acts he committed were not private, and indeed fair game for prosecutors."(Tecca, 2012). This is just one case of many that shows what you post online can come back to haunt you.
Ethical concerns for social networking mostly consist of the use of your information. A trend sweeping employers is to have the applicant log into their Facebook so the employer can preview it or simply just searching their profile. This is very unethical due to the immense discrimination that can take place, yet 56% of employers take part in this practice. (Protalinski, 2012)The next issue is whether or not is it ethical for social networks to use your data/behavior for their own use. The user agrees to the terms of services so in a way a site like Facebook can do whatever they want with your data within the realm of Facebook. This means they can do better product placement, suggest friends, pages, etc. Opponents of this would say Facebook is infringing on your privacy and should let the user make its own decisions. The reality is that you agreed to the terms of services so that defense isn’t applicable.
There are many security concerns when dealing with sites that have a mass of information. One of the most prevalent security concerns is phishing/scamming; this is due to the ease acquiring information on these sites. For instance on Facebook a completely random person friends you, and you accept. This person now has access to all your info that you have listed for them including phone numbers, location, and interests. A user can expect more junk emails and random phone calls if you let unknown people have access your info. Another common security breach occurs with links to other sites. This is very prevalent on Facebook when an account gets hacked the hacker posts a status saying go to this link and so forth. From this link you put in your info and to view some form of media and now they have all your account info. Most of the security concerns for social networking sites fall under scams/phishing due to the ease, it would be much harder for a hacker to take down a site as a whole then use all their info. (Poremba, 2010)
The problem you see day to day with social networking sites is social problems like cyber bullying, social isolation, and verification. Cyber bullying has become a problem with the rise of social networks. A 2009 study found that 17.3% of middle school students have been victims of cyber-bullying. .( Hinduja , Patchin, 2010) This study shows a surprising amount of students have become victims of cyber bullying most likely due to social networks.( Hinduja , Patchin, 2010) This is to almost be expected due to the online persona and the fact many schools don’t know how to handle such affairs. The next issue deals with social isolation. Is social networking just another way to keep kids inside their homes and not go outside? According to a new study from Grunwald Associates LLC teens spend 9 hours a week on social networking sites. One would say this is awful, but according to the same study 59% of students usual social networking to talk education related topics (National School Boards Association, 2009). Another problem is proper identification; a user can make any profile under any name. Sexual predators have been using social networking sites to lure victims. In Feb. 2009, MySpace identified over 90,000 registered sex offenders with profiles on the site.( Zephoria,2009) This is a testament to how easy it is to use social networking for the wrong reasons.
Social networking is a great tool for anyone to use. There are numerous benefits for the common user such as making connections with new friends and reconnecting with olds ones. One can now have a dating profile online and possibly find love that way. An unemployed worker can have his resume on a LinkedIn profile and find a job. All these great things can be accomplished using social networking sites. Like all things social networking has its drawbacks. A user can be sued for using 3rd party content; a user’s data could be used against them or even compromised by a scammer. A user is more likely to face cyber bullying if they are using a social network than one who isn’t. So if there are all these issues why bother using one? Well, the majority of these problems can be avoided using proper precautions and just internet common sense. If you don’t know the people don’t accept their request, if the link looks fishy don’t click on it, and if someone is bullying you block them. For social networking the benefits far out way the possible risks. A user can enjoy more connections with friends and family, making new friend/relationships and keep up to date with technology and news from posts. In conclusion in this day and age it would be silly to not take advantage of social networking sites the numerous benefits of social networking outweigh the easily avoided risks of it.
Scholarly Paper/ Studies
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. (2007). Cyberbullying Research Summary. 1-2. Retrieved from http://www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_and_suicide_research_fact_sheet.pdf.
Provides stat of how 17% middle schoolers are victims of cyber bullying.
National School Boards Association (NSBA) (2007, July). Creating and connecting: Research and guidelines on online social—and educational—networking. www.ila.org. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://www.ila.org/pdf/creatingandconnecting.pdf
Provides stats on how 59% of students talk about educational topics on social networks, 50% of students use social networks to discuss assignments, and how 9 hours is spend browsing social networks.
Ossian, K., Paddock, M., & Stone (2009, May). The Law Firm of Miller Canfield: An International Law Firm. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://www.millercanfield.com/media/article/200120_LEGAL%20ISSUES%20IN%20SOCIAL%20NETWORKING.pdf
Discuses legal problems with social networking including ownership, copyright, and liability.
Phillips, S. (2007, July 24). A brief history of Facebook | Technology | The Guardian. Latest US news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | guardiannews.com | The Guardian. Retrieved October 10, 1, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/jul/25/media.newmedia
Provides a brief history of Facebook, shows dates and order in which it grew as a company.
Poremba , S. (2010, April 7). Five Social Media Security Issues.EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet - News, trends and advice for network managers. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/netsecur/five-social-media-security-issues
Provides information on security problems associated with social networks.
Protalinski, E. (2012, January 16). 56% of employers check applicants' Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter | ZDNet. ZDNet | Technology News, Analysis, Comments and Product Reviews for IT Professionals. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/56-of-employers-check-applicants-facebook-linkedin-twitter/7446
Provides of how 56% of employers check applicants Facebooks.
Rainie, L., Horrigan, J., Wellman, B., & Boase, J. (2006, January 25). The Strength of Internet Ties | Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2006/The-Strength-of-Internet-Ties.com
Shows that 60 million Americans have used to the internet for help with major life decisions.
Tecca, R. (2012, August 16). Facebook court ruling: What you share on Facebook is admissible as evidence | Technology News Blog - Yahoo! News. Yahoo! News - Latest News & Headlines. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/facebook-court-ruling-share-facebook-admissible-evidence-165545087.html
Discusses case of Facebook being used in court of law.
Boyd, D. (2009, February). danah boyd | apophenia » doing the math on MySpace and registered sex offenders. Zephoria. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2009/02/06/doing_the_math.html
Provides stats on sexual predators using social networking sites.
The Facebook Effect with Mark Zuckerberg (2011, July). [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TuFkupUn7k
Interview with founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg about the life of Facebook.
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The Pros And Cons Of Social Media
In our day to day lives we socialize and interact with many different types of people, including family, friends, colleagues, or even complete strangers. Before technology people stayed in contact via regular mail, writing letters, telephone calls and face to face communication. Today the way in which we relate to others is completely different. We use social media for finding romance, seeking employment, or getting advice. This is where social networking and social media come into play. Many people may think that the use of social media is making them more social and more interactive with society. But others question if that is really the case. Is social media making us more or less social? Is it changing the way we interact with people on a daily basis? Is it having a more positive or negative impact on society?
Social media is used by many people, young and old around the world as a way to communicate. Our lives have become so busy that it is difficult to maintain family and social relationships. “They use social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. On these sites users create profiles, communicate with friends and strangers, do research and share thoughts, photos, music, links and more” (Social Networking). With the use of social media you can be friends with all sorts of people without actually seeing or knowing them. “In many ways, social communities are the virtual equivalent of meeting at the general store or at church socials to exchange news and get updated on friends and families” (Cosmato).
The use of social networking has both its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is “an Internet social network can help you connect with other people who share your interest, and find resources to gather and share information” (Carey). “Social networking services expand the pool of people we have the opportunity to meet to near limitless possibilities. We're no longer restricted to or rely on people in our neighborhood, church, or workplace to provide the interaction we desire” (Hoover). Another positive aspect of using social media is that “some people simply find it hard to relate to the people around them. Internet social networks can help people find like-minded individuals and make connections” (Carey). “It has been suggested that shy and socially isolated individuals communicate more on the internet because it provides some protection from anxiety” (Birnie & Horvath). Real-time information sharing is another positive effect of social media. “Many social networking sites incorporate an instant messaging feature, which means you can exchange information in real-time via a chat” (Cosmato). This would be useful in school and business settings. “Another great benefit of social media is that it makes it very easy to organize events”. Social media is useful to people for business reasons, it is helpful for finding employment. Finally perhaps the best reason for social networking is that it is fun (The Pros of Social...
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