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Social Networking has been around long enough to consider the positives and

negatives that it provides to society. Use recent events to discuss cases from
the last 2 years.
Social Media is defined as The online platforms and tools that people use to
share opinions, experiences, insights, perceptions and various media, including
photos, videos and music, with each other.1 In other words, Social Media is a
multi faceted electronic tool used for publishing and accessing information for
the purpose of social interaction. It is often characterised by its high level of
accessibility and low monetary cost to users. Similarly, social networking is a
specific aspect of social media as a whole, referring to the use of the social
media sites and applications. Social media and networking has undeniably
revolutionised the way in which we live indefinitely. However, within the last
two years social networking has shown to have both benefitted and hindered
its users and greater society. Social networking has changed the way we make,
keep and interact with our friends and acquaintances. Similarly, both large
corporations and small businesses have benefitted from the large audiences
and specific groups social networking has either created or brought together.
News and information has also been greatly affected by individuals increased
connections with one another. Both are more freely available through Facebook
and Twitter and are updated in an instant, allowing for the fastest news
possible for millions. Information in the form of knowledge has also benefitted
from Wikipedia and the various other information Wikis. From these
examples it can be seen that Social Networking has been a great asset to its
users. On the other hand however, Social Networking has also shown to be
quite detrimental to society through many ways. Some experts have argued
that Social Networking may have improved our relationships online at the cost
of interpersonal relationships in real life. Social Networking has also raised the
significant issue of the privacy of the individual in the age of information in
which we live. The use of social networking by employers to hire or reject
workers, or even fire existing ones is controversial. Various extremists groups
have also used social media for the very negative purposes of recruitment and
radicalisation.
Social networking, because of its very nature, has revolutionised the
Friendships we have. An adamant user of any social network will maintain that
it is easier to make and keep friends. Social network users no longer have to
arrange for face to face meetings or conversations. Such users may now plan
meetings with their friends, family or work associates through their social
networking sites. These sites increase the available times and places in which
meetings can occur. Individuals need only have internet access to meet each
other and chat through the Facebook messenger application, or a video group
conversation through Google plus. Rather than having to meet in real
1 [Mansour, M. ISYS 100 Information Technology and Society Pearson]

locations, which involves planning times which a suitable for all participants in
locations which may be accessible, people can plan to meet at times that are
suitable for all in the comfort of their own homes. The tyranny of distance is
too now no longer an obstacle. Family or friends in distant countries are easily
kept in contact with directly, through Skype or Facebook messenger, or
indirectly through blog sites such as Tumblr, Blogger or Instagram. These
aforementioned sites has also allowed like minded people to meet and connect
with one another through the existence of social public sites such as Facebook,
Twitter but also forums and blog spots dedicated to interests. This in particular
allows for individuals of unique interests outside of the mainstream media to
connect with one another. These niche groups allow for niche marketing
specifically targeted and tailored to them. The internet, but more specifically
social networking, has been a great benefit to both consumers of niche
products and the businesses themselves.
Social networking has led to the creation of Social Commerce, which is the
delivery of E-commerce activities and transactions through social networks
and/or via Web 2.0 software.2 In other words, Social commerce is the online
buying and selling of products and services through the medium of social
networks. Users of social networks can communicate about certain goods and
services online, where to find these goods and services to purchase, and
advice on the product from other users as well as trusted experts. Social
commerce is especially prevalent in online fashion and shopping as fashion
trends are constantly changing and debated. Examples of social commerce
include peer to peer sales platforms such as Ebay, Gumtree or Amazon. Users
of these sites can experience direct communication between buyer and seller
ensuring the transaction is beneficial to both parties. Applications such as Yelp
or Kaboodle allow users to provide and view recommendations to others,
allowing for unique businesses or venues to gain a wider customer base than
they would otherwise receive from word of mouth alone. Similarly, the
ironically named website Fashism allowed for the online community to
connect through chat sessions with other users or friends about fashion topics,
provide feedback or even recommend sizing options in clothing. The Benefits of
social commerce has proven to be numerous and invaluable to both customers
and vendors alike. Customers now have lower prices through group buying and
special deals. Complaints by customers are viewable in the public sphere
through applications like Yelp or company Facebook pages, leading to better
assistance from the vendor and customer service. Additionally, customers can
easily find recommendations or assistance through other social network users.
Despite these examples, the greatest benefit to customers is the ease of
access associated with online transactions, individuals can now purchase
almost any good or service in an instant from the comfort of their own home.
2 [Mansour, M. ISYS 100 Information Technology and Society Pearson]

For example, BBC news and CNN have close to 100,000,000 combined
followers on both Facebook and Twitter and both news sites regularly upload
breaking news to their viewers. A recent survey by CNN has shown that people
in the United States receive around 61% of their daily news intake from the
Internet. This is more than any other source, such as radio which is 54%, or
physical newspapers, which is around 50% and declining. Television is
currently the only media outlet with higher viewership than the internet. The
CNN survey suggests that social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and
YouTube ensure that news is a more tangible experience for its users as they
can now share news articles and comment on other people's posts.

Negatives
Social networking has shown increasingly negative effects on the interpersonal
relationships of its users. Experts maintain that users of social networking wish
to fulfil social needs, but are often left disappointed as these relationships do
not provide the depth that people require and experience in reality.
[Since the development of social networking there has been a significant
decrease in personal, real life interactions between people and friends. Experts
conclude that this will have a detrimental impact on an individuals mental
health, as real as more and more social media platforms have been introduced
with the threat of cyber-bullying and online sexual predators being more
prevalent.] [Ukpe, Kufre. "The Impact of Social Media on Technology" (PDF).
Afe Babalola University.]

Extremist groups such as ISIS have used social networking sites to raise funds
and promote their beliefs. The group has even produced an online magazine as
a method of recruiting followers and eventually new fighters. Similarly, other
terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are using social networking
to recruit and radicalise followers and it has proven to be quite effective. In
early 2015 four teenagers from Canada flew from the City of Montreal to
Turkey in an effort to join the Islamist group. It is believed that the teenagers
were first influenced by ISIS social media and were soon in contact with
recruiters which organised for them to travel to Northern Iraq. An Application
available on Google Play called the Dawn of Glad Tidings keeps followers up
to date on news about ISIS. Hundreds of users around the world have signed
up for the Application, which once downloaded will post tweets and hash-tags
to your account that are in support of ISIS. As the Civil war in the Northern

region of Iraq progressed, tweets in support of their efforts reached a high of


40,000 a day.

privacy -> employment: A 2014 survey of recruiters found that 93% of them
check candidates' social media postings. [Susie Poppick for Money Magazine
(September 5, 2014). "10 Social Media Blunders That Cost a Millennial a Job
or Worse.]