Social networking is defined as “an online platform that people use to build connections with other people who share interests, activities, backgrounds…” and more.
Simply put, social networking is a link through which people can be part of a community that can support and encourage them in their commonalities.
A time ago, people could only connect with others when they were a part of a certain crowd, “social clubs”, or knew someone in common. Now, however, social networking defies borders, political and economic barriers, geography, and other circumstances that would have otherwise hindered us from meeting like-minded people. It bridges gaps on societies that would separate us and, instead, brings us together in many different ways that can be either beneficial or non-beneficial.
There are many different types of social networks, all geared towards making communities in different ways. Facebook and Twitter, for example, are social networks that allow you to share your life with friends that you had already met in person or make new friends that share a common interest with you. These sites achieve their goals by making your life more accessible to others through posts on your personal profile; thus, supposedly making it easier for people who have the same ideas or do the same things to find you and befriend you.
Although sites made purely for connecting one person’s life to another make finding and making friends a lot easier, there are a lot of concerns that come with the freedom they offer.
Privacy debates have not stopped since the advent of these social media websites, as it is extremely easy for others to gather your personal information or keep track of your whereabouts through the things you post on your profile. Cyber-bullying has also become a concern on these websites, as some settings allow anyone in the world to message you or comment on your content. Bullies have been known to send threatening or derogatory messages through social media websites and, as these messages are considered private and are not filtered, victims of bullies find it difficult to come forward to expose things that have negative effects on their self-esteem, sense of security, and overall quality of life.
Besides social networks that focus on personal relationships, there are other popular websites that allow you to connect with people on a professional level. LinkedIn, for example, is a popular website in which you input data such as your resume, skills, and show your work interests so that potential employers, employees, and even investors can contact you and conduct business with you.
Sites like these minimize personal touches to your profile and focus almost entirely on subjects connected with your work interests.
There are other types of social networks available, but only the two mentioned above have gained global traction on a significant level.
Time will tell if improvements or changes will continue to make social networking a growing necessity in people’s lives.