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Social networking has become a major part of society. Even big businesses and celebrities are jumping on the social networking bandwagon. Many people wake up each day and check social websites first thing in the morning instead of reaching for a newspaper. According to Mashable.com, as of June 2010, American Internet users spend more than 22 percent of their online time using a social networking site. Since people are spending such a large amount of time surfing social networks, it is important to point out some of the positive and negative effects that social networking can have on a society.
One of the positive effects is that it helps small business. Social networking can help small businesses in a big way. Traditional mediums such as print magazine ads and radio commercials can cost thousands of dollars that some small businesses just don’t have in a down economy. Social networking allows small business owners to connect with prospects and clients for free, costing nothing but time and energy.
Marketers at small companies can post coupons to Facebook groups or run promotions on Twitter. In addition to generating revenue this way, companies also can get positive and negative feedback directly from consumers. On the other hand, social networking also has its negative impacts which are even more than the positive effects. A negative aspect of social networking is that it can be addictive.
Spending too much time on social networking sites can cause people to lose focus on tasks at work or around the house.
Social networking needs to be used in moderation. If someone is spending so much time on social networks that they are not sleeping enough hours per night or are ignoring friends and family that want to spend time with them in person, social networking can be a serious problem. Social networking sites are putting the worlds of promotion and publication on an equal playing field. Before social networking, much of the publication world and promotion world was dominated by industry leaders and celebrities. Now anyone can create a product, image or brand and find a following online. Ebooks are gaining more respect and popularity thanks to electronic reading devices. In the days before social networking, unknown authors would have to query big publishing houses and hope for a bite. Now anyone who believes in their book can create an ebook on their own and promote it on social websites. Another drawback to social networking is that some users are simply sharing too much information.
People can lose their jobs or a friendship over leaking information on social networks. Even if a user of a social site has her privacy settings on the highest level, their information can still be passed on by someone on their friends list. It doesn’t take much for an angry follower to copy and paste a status or download a picture if they are looking for revenge. Social media networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, should bring you closer to your family and friends. When you find that you turn down plans to go out with people in real life to spend time on a social network, this may indicate a problem. Letting your time online overtake the time you spend with people offline makes people around you feel hurt and neglected. Eventually, your relationships with those near you fail and you become isolated. Social networking also causes loss of sleep or sleeping late. There is a difference between staying up late to finish a task or to check a social network one last time before bed and neglecting sleep so you don’t miss anything new or to keep chatting online.
Connecting with others is a great way to catch up with others or to increase your career network, but allowing it to take over time you need to rest negatively affects your energy levels. Staying up late, or forcing yourself to stay up all night to socialize online, also hurts your mood and may make you short-tempered or easily angered. It also causes loss of time. If the effect of social networking means you lose time while sitting in front of the computer, you may have an addiction to social media. Spending more than an hour on a social networking site, other than for work purposes, and realizing you don’t know how much time has passed is a problem. If you forget to pick up your kids from school or miss appointments because of social media, it is negatively affecting your life.
Using a timer helps keep you from spending too much time online. Loss of money is also a negative effect of social networking. Many companies block social media networking sites, but those that don’t often find their employees lose productivity to such sites. Using Facebook at work could lead to job loss if you miss deadlines and meetings. Posting inappropriate things online about your job may also get you fired. For someone who telecommutes, spending too much time on social networking sites means incomplete projects and less money made at work. If you aren’t able to go a day without visiting your social networking sites, this may indicate an addiction. In conclusion, I hope I have been able to convince and not to confuse you that social networking has done more harm than good to Nigerian youths.
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