Social Networking for the Betterment of Society Essay Example
Social Networking for the Betterment of Society Essay Example

Social Networking for the Betterment of Society Essay Example

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  • Published: June 6, 2018
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Jackie Turner Professor Bricker English 103 12 December 2011 Social Networking: For the Betterment of Society The concept of networking in the 70's was primarily associated with television. By the 80's, social networking was described as a complex web of connections involving friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and other similar relationships. However, since the mid-90s, social networking has flourished on the World Wide Web and continues to do so presently. Due to its significant expansion and relevance in society, social networking now predominantly occurs on Social Networking Sites (SNS).

Social network sites refer to web-based services that enable individuals to create public or semi-public profiles within a defined system, establish connections with other users, and explore and view their own connections as well as those of others (Boyd and Ellison 211).

In modern times, if you were to ask a teenager for an explanation of social networking, t


hey would likely provide a definition similar to the latter one. Essentially, social media and social network sites have become interchangeable with social networking.

Nevertheless, as the internet evolved, new challenges and risks emerged. By implementing effective strategies to reduce these risks and taking proactive measures, we can fully harness the potential of social networking for the benefit of society.

Social networking has the ability to enhance identity formation, educational outcomes, structural relationships, creativity, and productivity.

According to Christine Rosen, senior editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society, researchers have long been attempting to understand the science of networking and determine the number of intermediate acquaintance links required to connect individuals X and Z. The term "network" is commonly used to describe intentionally connecting with others. Mark Granovetter, a sociologist a

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John Hopkins University, conducted research on networking, focusing on the significance of weak ties. In 1973, he published his renowned paper titled "The Strength of Weak Ties" in the American Journal of Sociology, predating the current internet model. Granovetter's theory suggested that the strength of weak ties lies in the capacity for innovation transferred from one weak tie to another.

The group members, who are strongly connected like family friends and colleagues, are well-informed about private information. However, a weak tie such as a distant family member who is only seen every four years at family reunions, is more likely to provide new and interesting information. In addition, this distant family member is better equipped to spread this new information compared to strong ties because they likely have different social networks. The world of innovation depends on connections among large social networks (Granovetter 202-210), and this is precisely what Social Networking Sites (SNSs) are accomplishing.
SNSs have a wide user base, with 7 out of 10 people being active on SNSs, 9 out of 10 businesses using SNSs, and over 1 billion registered users on at least one SNS site worldwide (Shae 10). Among various SNS platforms, Twitter is particularly effective in embodying Granovetter's theory of weak ties as it heavily relies on content.

Twitter, with its staggering 200 million registered users, was the second most popular social media platform in 2011 (Bennett 2). It attracted over 95.8 million visitors per month that year. One distinctive aspect of Twitter is its maximum message length of 140 characters, enabling users to share content through links from different sources. The site's success relies on having followers, and by default, anyone

can view other users' posts.

Through the ability to search for specific content, individuals can discover posts and share new information with weak connections. Another option is to follow another user based on their provided content, resulting in seeing all of their future content on one's homepage. This site revolutionizes communication by extending scientific research, scholarly topics, and groundbreaking ideas beyond strong connections.

According to McCafferty (19), teenagers spend an average of 24 hours and 54 minutes per month on the web, with half of them visiting MySpace. This accounts for around 28% of their page views and 12% of Facebook’s page views. The prevalence of social networking sites (SNSs) among young people is not well received by older generations, known as digital immigrants. I witnessed this discomfort firsthand when I sat down with my nephew and saw him completely absorbed in playing Pokemon. His parents were extremely concerned about his obsession with the game. However, his father reluctantly admitted that at the same age, he had a similar passion for memorizing all 50 states and their capitals - just like his son's fascination with almost 400 (and growing) characters in Pokemon.

Even though my nephew's father couldn't use editing tools, my nephew had an exceptional memory for characters and knew how to customize the game. By combining creativity with manual dexterity, he found enjoyment in this activity. This clearly shows that unconventional ways of learning and communication shouldn't be dismissed just because they differ from traditional approaches. It is unreasonable to completely ignore social media platforms as a means of communication and expression. However, some institutions are advising students and teachers against using any form of social

networking sites or social media altogether. Many educational establishments have banned SNSs, wikis, and other similar forms of social media.

Using social media tools in the classroom provides significant advantages compared to traditional linear learning methods. According to research conducted by Kerstin Hamann, Philip H. Pollock, and Bruce M. Wilson, students who participated in a web-enhanced class performed better than those in a traditional lecture setting. This study indicates that social media-based courses actively engage students in a unique manner compared to face-to-face classes (Hamann, Pollock, and Wilson 3). It is crucial to teach digital natives the most effective ways of utilizing available tools, especially those they will encounter in their future careers.

Teaching children on outdated donated computers cannot be expected to result in top performers in a job force that relies heavily on social media, e-commerce, and up-to-date operating systems. While digital natives are typically assumed to be proficient in internet usage from birth, Dr. Jakob Nielsen's study reveals a surprising reality. Nielsen conducted a study using various websites, including those related to education, health, news, government, and e-commerce, and found that teenagers had a success rate of 55 percent in completing prescribed tasks, while adults had a success rate of 66 percent.

According to Nielsen, users are proficient in performing repetitive tasks on familiar websites but struggle with usability issues when visiting new websites. It is crucial to recognize the potential risks and consequences, but also important not to overlook the benefits or downplay the complexity of the challenge. The key takeaway from these social applications is that they are not merely reminiscent of Web 1.0 chatrooms; they are adaptable tools. For instance, Wikipedia

is no longer comparable to the Encyclopedia Britannica of the past. Instead, it functions as a "knowledge community" where anonymous readers from around the globe collaborate to edit and improve grammar, style, interpretations, and facts, as explained by Davidson (Davidson 2). The growth of these social applications relies on the involvement of more users.

Despite the burst of the dot. com bubble, numerous online companies have continued to expand, and many new ones have emerged. In 2004, the Web 2.0 summit aimed to identify the specific factors that allowed certain companies to thrive amid the dot.

The topic of discussion at the conference was the failure of some companies during the dot-com bust and the success of other emerging companies. The consensus among the attendees was that a social network structure held the key to these questions. This structure involved creating applications that improve with increased usage, leveraging network effects to attract users and gain valuable insights from them. Reilly and Battelle, the founders of the Web 2.0 summit, emphasize the importance of SNSs in blurring the boundaries between offline and online social interactions. Web 2.

0 is the technical explanation of the web reinvented. The upgraded web has transitioned from a peaceful net of html coding into a vibrant hub of social and collaborative connections through blogs, wikis, SNS, and web applications. In the days of Web 1., social media consisted of web message boards and chat rooms. However, in the era of Web 2.0, social media encompasses paid forms such as internet advertising, PPC-search marketing, mobile advertising, sponsorships, and paid applications. Additionally, social media includes owned platforms like brand and product websites, mobile brand and product

websites, proprietary mobile applications, customer care services, proprietary digital content, and proprietary blogs.

Web 1.0 was quite different. Dell, the third largest producer of PCs, made $6.5 million in sales in 2009 by directly interacting with customers through Twitter (Guglielmo 1). Meanwhile, Nike, a well-known brand globally, adopted social media for the Nike+ campaign also in 2009.

Despite the failure of many corporations to establish genuine social networks within their organizations, Nike has achieved success in this regard. According to Jesse Stollak, the Digital Brand and Innovation Director at Nike, the impact of their revolutionary product on the sports community has been significant. Stollak states, "The Nike+ community has experienced remarkable growth in recent years due to the introduction of new products such as the Nike+ GPS App and Nike+ GPS Sport watch." He further adds that the Nike+ community currently boasts more than 5 million members. To enhance user experience, Nike has introduced new features including the Maps site, which utilizes an extensive database of running routes to offer recommendations. Additionally, the 'cheer me on' functionality in the Nike+ GPS app connects runners with their friends on Facebook, providing them with extra motivation and support.

When runners are exercising, they receive applause along with their music when their friends cheer for them (Swallow 1). These are only a couple of instances demonstrating how the business sector is adopting current social networking techniques, as well as developing their own. These transformations in the business realm are quite impressive and groundbreaking. It involves the utilization of social networking for the improvement of society. Nevertheless, with the benefits that social networking brings, it also presents challenges.

According to the first academic

studies on SNS privacy, it was discovered that social security numbers could be determined by combining publicly listed hometown and date of birth information posted on Carnegie Mellon University users' Facebook profiles (Boyd and Ellison 222). In a separate study, researchers observed that an increasing number of employees were losing their jobs due to sharing sensitive business data and making unprofessional posts on SNSs (Savage 53). This suggests that not all users have been equally educated and informed about the risks associated with SNSs. Social networking, like any tool, can have positive outcomes only if users receive proper education before its use. Unfortunately, a minority of users have utilized social networking as a means to terrorize others.

A growing issue in the United States involves young people and cyberbullying. Cyberbullying, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, refers to the continual harm inflicted through the utilization of computers, cellphones, and other electronic devices (Miller 1). Surprisingly, 21% of individuals aged 11 to 18 who utilize electronic media claim to have experienced cyberbullying. Additionally, cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying on the school playground as the identification of the perpetrator proves to be more challenging. Sgt.

According to Gary Renninger of the Montgomery Country Computer Crimes Unit, uncovering the perpetrator behind cyberbullying is the main challenge in investigating such cases. Renninger emphasizes the importance of resources in this process (Miller 3). While legislation has been enacted in 35 states to address this issue, it remains arduous for the law to address rapidly advancing technology. It is also possible that not all young users have access to the necessary knowledge and awareness. Another troubling issue in the realm of social networking

is predation.

In 2009, MySpace removed around 90,000 individuals who were sexual offenders from its platform. This number is nearly twice the estimate given by MySpace in 2008 (Walker 1). While both MySpace and Facebook have implemented safeguards to protect minors, it is still the responsibility of parents and role models to educate and guide young people on using social media. Looking ahead, social media has the potential to greatly impact how society learns, conducts business, and interacts with one another. Despite the various advantages of social networking, addressing risks through mediation can help overcome numerous challenges. This includes promoting media literacy and providing young minds with the necessary tools for appropriate knowledge and awareness.

Media literacy, according to Rosen (10), encompasses a variety of skills that incorporate critical thinking into the multitude of tasks performed through media. According to Danah Boyd, a graduate student at the University of California Berkeley specializing in social networks, this includes learning social norms, rules, how to interact with others, narrative, personal and group history (Rosen 11). These skills are fundamental to incorporating the use of social media in the classroom and establishing a knowledge base that allows young people to practice vital cyber security in the future. In today's world, where cave drawings have been replaced by reading and writing, there is a renewed sharing of knowledge in a more efficient manner. This is not to suggest that reading and writing are not essential skills; however, social media platforms empower individuals to become producers of media.

The act of sharing creative content fosters the development of essential communication skills and offers individuals the opportunity to nurture their literacy and technological abilities,

while also initiating the formation of identity. According to Christine Rosen, self-portraits served as a means for artists to showcase both their true selves and how they wished to be perceived. They were a valuable tool for self-expression and self-discovery. Rosen suggests that in today's digital age, individuals' personal webpages, Facebook pages, or MySpace pages serve as modern-day self-portraits.

The digital portrait combines music, font, hobbies, and interactive web applications. Young people learn to edit code and modify their self-portrait from a young age. This digital canvas is both revealing and educational for youths, parents, teachers, and mentors. In certain contexts, it serves as a unique and valuable tool for fostering community and promoting critical peer-based social interaction (Boyd and Ellison 217). Social media has the potential to be a groundbreaking tool for improving society. However, it is important to establish goals and guidelines for promoting media literacy and reducing risks. By doing so, social networking can enhance learning, facilitate commerce, and contribute to societal development in more efficient and effective ways.

Work Cited Bauerlein, Mark. The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking. New York: Ed. Jeremy P.

Tarcher. 2011. Print. Bennett, Shea.

According to the article "Social Media Showdown: Top 10 Social Networking Sites of 2011 [Infographic]" published on the website All Twitter by All Media Brands in 2011.

On December 4th, 2011, Danah M. Boyd and Nicole B. Ellison published an article titled "Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship".

"Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13:1 (2007): 210-230. Print.
Granovetter, Mark 'The Strength of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited.' Sociological Theory 1 (1983): 201-233."

Print. Guglielmo, Connie, "Dell Rings Up $6.5 Million

in Sales Using Twitter (Update 2)." Bloomberg, 8 Dec.

The text below should beand unified while keeping the and their contents:

2009. Web. 2 Dec. 2011. Hamann, Kerstin, Philip H.

Pollock, Bruce M. Wilson, "Teaching and Learning Online in Political Science." Business Library. CBS Interactive, 2011.

Web. 2 Dec. 2011. Hampton, Keith. “Social Networking Sites and Our Lives.” Pew Internet.

Pew Internet & American Life Project. 16 Jun. 2011. Web. 9 Nov.

2011. Liang, Belle Ph. D., Meghan Commins, M.A., and Nicole Duffy, M.

A study titled "Using Social Media to Engage Youth: Education, Social Justice, & Humanitarianism" from The Prevention Researcher in 2010 highlights the importance of social media in engaging young people.

Mccafferty, Dennis. "A Brave New Social World."

This is a citation from the Communications of the ACM journal, written by Samantha Miller in July 2011. It can be found on the web, accessed on November 3, 2011.The article titled "Cyberbullying: A Darker Side of Social Networks" by Christine Rosen was published in the American Observer (2011) and spans pages 1-4 in print.

"Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism," an article published in The New Atlantis in the summer of 2007, discusses the impact of technology on society. The article examines the concept of virtual friendship and its association with narcissism. The Center for the Study of Technology and Society is responsible for publishing this piece, which can be accessed online as of December 3rd.

In 2011, Shira Schoenberg wrote an article titled "Social Media Open New Chapter in 2012 Campaign" for Political Intelligence., 4 Nov. 2011. Web.

On November 10, 2011, Erica Swallow wrote an article titled "How Nike Outruns the Social Media Competition" for Mashable. The article

was published by Mashable Social Media on September 23.

The text states the date as "2011" and the words "Web" and "2 Dec. 2011."

Walker, Marlon. "MySpace Removes 90,000 Sex Offenders." Associated Press, 3 Feb. 2009.

Web. 2 Dec. 2011.

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