SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES

CAUTION: VISITORS CONSIDER PROFILE A REFLECTION OF PERSONAL CHARACTER

ATIF HASSAN (atif.hassan@dacb.edu.pk)
Aug
 31 - Sep 06, 2009

Social networking is the act of interacting and networking with people in a social online environment by means of a website. Such website is appropriately known as "social networking website".

Social Networking is one of the most popular characteristics of Web 2.0 term, and is a popular online medium among folks of all ages.

It is nearly impossible in this day and age not to know about the "TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award" winning social network, Facebook.

Facebook is a social network site that started out strictly for college students and was available by invitation only. Now, it is a cultural phenomenon stretching across the globe. With more worldwide users than MySpace, Facebook has taken hold as undisputable leader amongst social networking sites.

The network is made up of hundreds of separate networks based around schools, businesses, and regions. Although registration is now open to the public, the site still caters to college and high school demography focusing on networking through groups and social activism.

Profiles allow users to post pictures, comments, and blogs. Additionally, it has some of the best privacy options on the internet. I felt that Facebook really encouraged using the site to foster relationships with people you already know, or friends of friends.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered the educational benefits of social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. The same study found that low-income students in many ways become just as technologically proficient as their counterparts; going against what results from previous studies have suggested.

The study found that, of the students observed, 94 percent used the internet, 82 percent go online at home and 77 percent had a profile on a social networking site. When asked what they learn from using social networking sites, the students listed technology skills as the top lesson, followed by creativity, being open to new or diverse views and communication skills.

Businesses of all types and sizes can greatly benefit from social networking sites in many ways. Small businesses to large businesses alike are looking for ways to work social networking into their business plan and marketing plans.

Social networking has been growing in popularity on the Web for several years now. In recent years, businesses have begun to see how much it can benefit them as well. If you are not currently using social networking for your business, or if you are using it incorrectly, you could be missing out a lot.

A social networking site can be a good way to make connections with people with similar interests and goals. It can be a way to connect with or meet people that a student may not have had the opportunity to meet before including other students, staff, faculty, and even alumni.

Thanks to social networking sites, meeting someone in person has become a thing of the past. "Scraping" has become the new handshake. Making friends and renewing old ones is easy. Thus, meeting people and stay connected with classmates and friends is a major benefit of social networking sites.

Social networking sites offer campus surveys, "party" or event listings, and other information that communicates the "pulse" of a campus culture. Therefore, they provide a great way to understand and stay connected to your campus community as a whole.

Some social networking sites offer advertising to its subscribers. Whether a student creates a party for an upcoming event or pays the money for 10,000 hits for an ad, Facebook is a great way to advertise as a student organization, club, Greek chapter, team, etc.

Most importantly, social networking sites offer students the opportunity to create a positive self-image. The profiles give you a chance to create the image of themselves that you want people to see by putting your best qualities "out there". This shows that you care about you reputation and (to a certain extent) what people your peers, university faculty and administrators, or future employers think about you.

Students are cooking up trouble with university administrators for incriminating and inappropriate information or pictures on their social networking profiles that are in violation of school policy or the code of conduct. (Note: Administrators are not monitoring social networking sites. However, if information or pictures on a student's account that violate policy are brought to their attention or are reported to them, they will follow up and investigate further.)

Students are turned down by employers for jobs, internships, and even interviews because of the information employers are finding out about students on their social networking accounts.

Compromising inappropriate pictures, statements or other information on student social networking accounts can hurt students' chances to gain (or even be considered for) employment. Employers take the images that students are portraying on social networking sites very seriously as a reflection of personal character.