Social Network – What Exactly Is It?
Social networking is an interaction between individuals in groups, such as small rural communities, neighborhood subdivisions, and so on. While this can be done at school, at workplaces, at local venues, etc., the widespread availability of the Internet has now made social networking an online phenomenon. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. have gained tremendous popularity by connecting people with real interests, backgrounds or relationships. Social networks are said to be the language of the 21st century.
This is the basis of Web 2.0, which refers to the current phase of the World Wide Web where web pages are not static but have an interactive and collaborative character. Different societies and people create social networks in different ways, depending on their goals and orientation. Musicians, comedians and other personalities try to engage their fans in discussions as they develop close ties with their fans, eventually leading to increased sales. Some even invite their fans into the creative process of selecting content or use networking to get feedback on published work. Companies use it to introduce new products, announce and issue statements and press releases. Politicians use these sites to campaign and reach out to potential voters. These are just a few examples among others. Interaction is the key to social networking. Businesses and individuals who use it solely to generate sales without any form of interaction generally find it more difficult to generate sales.
Online social networks have bridged the gap that distance and economic constraints had initially limited. People can now easily get together and share ideas, values, information and knowledge much more easily. This has given rise to wikis, websites that allow almost everyone to edit and add content. An example is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia with about 100,000 active contributors. Another example is queries such as petitions that are shared more easily and spread faster and more widely than if they were offline. And unlike traditional traditional media, online media gives subscribers a voice by allowing them to comment instantly and express their opinions, which facilitates interaction with administrators and other subscribers to the community. The Arab Spring Revolution, which has helped Egyptian citizens to come together, demonstrate and overthrow an oppressive leadership, is a perfect example of interaction between people with similar values.
Facebook is a social networking site that connects mostly friends, co-workers, family and others with whom a connection is shared. It’s about sharing personal opinions, thinking, posting images, and interacting with others like you would with a circle of offline friends. YouTube is a video-only sharing site, while websites like instagram and flickr are only photo sharing sites. Twitter is a website that allows registered users to post messages with a limit of 160 characters, called tweets. The list of social networking sites is endless with LinkedIn for connected professionals, Reddit for sharing compelling stories, etc.
Social networks, however, have some disadvantages. The main one is the question of privacy. The amount of private information requested by social networking sites has given rise to growing concern, which has sometimes helped criminals and dangerous stalkers to collect information about the victims targeted for them. Another concern is child safety and online bullying, which have had a negative impact on growth.
Social networking is a tool that can be extremely beneficial if used properly and avoiding side effects.