The internet has grown into a vast net of services and applications that entertains and serves as a work aid for millions users around the world. The development of information and communication technologies have created a new era called the virtual generation. The recent years have seen flowering of new sites known as social networks. Social network sites can be defined as web based services that normally allows individuals to construct a public or semi public profile within a bounded system. A social network is based on an ideology of sharing and advanced technology of Web 2.0 whose main function is the creation and exchange of information and content generated by users. It is the collective involvement of users which makes its existence possible (Boyd and Ellison 2). The higher the degree of social presence in medium, the higher the sociability of medium therefore a social network is a means of communication in which individuals create, organize, and manage web content and other information Moreover, the web-based services articulate the list of other users with whom they share a connection. Furthermore, the social networks views and traverse their list of connections and those that are made by others within the system (Lytras 70).
Currently social networking sites have formed a great deal for highly valued internet companies. This is very possible because people are using almost all the available social networks. Owing to this widespread adoption, it does not surprise to find out that social networking site have impacted people’s ways of living and socializing. Online social networks focus mainly on building and reflecting social relationship amongst people who share activities and interests. Majority of the social networks allows the users to maintain their personal profiles. The sites encourages people share their personal experience with others through videos, music, and other media. Among the most common and popular social networks these days are LinkedIn, MySpace, Friendster, Twitter, Blogger, Foursquare, and Facebook (myconvergence.com 51).
Currently there are numerous social networking sites that are operating. Some of them are operating and popular in some countries while others are popular in all over the world. Facebook was createdin 2004 and in eightyearsit had reachedover 800million users, making it themost widely usednetworkin the world. At a time when social networks such as Facebook are a big part of our lives and are very useful, their use can lead to detrimental side effects and be dangerous for society. Facebook is considered a social network with a wide market as well as several customers in the all world. When compared to the other social networks the rate at which the social network gained popularity since its invention is extremely high. From the start facebook company faced some competition from some sites (Smith and Treadaway 30). Twitter is another social network site that is considered much more limited when compared with facebook. Twitter allows the users to operate with up to one hundred and forty characters when they are messaging other users of the social network. Using twitter is very simple. The users of this social network can get an authentic time updates from the fellow users including mundane events. The straightforwardness of twitter has improved its growth and attractiveness internationally (Smith and Treadaway 30).
Foursquare is also a social network site which can allow people in very different geographical settings to divide up some information by checking in their accounts through text messages. Many people consider LinkedIn as the fourth modern social networking site. It is the most part popular social network for business. LinkedIn can be controlled easily and since its launch LinkedIn has collected business network of more than forty million users (Smith and Treadaway 30). YouTube is also a social networking site popular for video viewing. The site was acquired by Google in 2006. Users of this social network can establish profiles and upload their videos (Smith and Treadaway 30).
Usefulness of social networks
The usefulness of social networks can be seen in the way it influences people’s life and business world.
Many people using social networks note that there are many benefits that it produces to the users and the society. This is because they normally produce positive influence on the way of life (Gupta and Sharman 248).
Usefulness in people’s life
Social networks haveforthe firstgoalisto communicate andinteract with others.
Can be used in schools
Students andteachersare connectedto a better accessto information
Usefulness in the business world
Social network sites are very useful in business world because they help in content creation, immediacy, noise level, identifying weak links,customer relationships, customer engagement, share of insights, collaboration, answers, melding of worlds, job posting, connectivity, and convenience.
A lot of people all over the world have the desire to share information about their businesses to their potential customers and this has been done through the social media. Any information shared in the social network spreads virally. This has lead to the adoption by several companies to enable them analyze the responds for the purposes of running the companies. In simple terms, the use of social media acts like loudspeaker to the company (Smith and Treadaway 16).
Immediacy is here to stay
Social media networking gives people the privilege to respond immediately to any information coming from the company. They tend share it with friends and their colleagues as well as the general public. People getting the information are aroused and these trigger the sense of immediacy (Smith and Treadaway 17).
The use of social network enables those using the social networking to publishers their own information. More often than not, the marketers of the company are in a good position to get direct responds and start analyzing it. The more the company posts questions to seek opinion from the public through these social networking, the more the customers react and more the noises are being raised and this will allow the company act from that point of view as well as make indispensable modification (Smith and Treadaway 17).
Identifying weak signals:
Using mainstream methods while marketing the company’s products is doomed to fail because they do not identify the weak signals of the company. The use social networking tools identify. This is because there is always a direct links with customers thus the chance to correct and make positive adjustments.
Social media enables the staff and customers to stay in touch with the company. This is very beneficial because the company does not need to advertise for their products through the traditional way as result of this the company can save some money and time that they could have been used in the mainstream ways (Wankel et al., 228).
One of the major benefits of social media is that it enhances convenience to those who are using the company site because they can access it any time they want. Some companies have lied down simple procedures when registering to their sites. By being a member of the company in the social site anybody can reservations wherever they want in any place they are (Wankel et al., 228).
The use of social networks like LinkedIn can be helpful to the company because they are not going for the traditional media like newspaper to advertise for job as they can just post it their website. Interested applicants lock into the site make their applications. This saves the applicant a lot of the time and also the company. It is a very simple process.
Some company employees stay online within the company website to receive answers that comes from customers who are registered members of the company. The consumers can also answer questions that are asked by the company. The company can then select the best answers and can be used to improve the company production.
Melding of worlds:
The use of social network can tempt its users so much that they cannot stay without; this addiction can bring good news to the companies using it because they know that most of the time consumers are online and they can now make advertisement of their products.
Use of social media pushes for more collaboration between the company employees and the company management. Staff can post their views, ideas and thoughts in the company website suggesting how better the company can be run. As a result of this the management can analyze the suggestions and pick those that they consider more appealing and that can help change the image of the company and its products (Evans and McKee 21).
Share of insights:
The company can process the ideas they receive from the customers and they can transform into useful information and use them to run the businesses of the company (Evans and McKee 32).
This is where customers are deeply engaged with the company in the fact they can rate, commend and recommend on the company performance. The company management can now use the pieces of information they collect to improve its product to the level that it can attract the best commends and get the highest rate (Evans and McKee 32).
Using social networking sites enables the customers to become an integral part of the company. They can collect more information from other people who may not be customers to the company and present them to the company management who can in turn make an attempt to reach those perceived to be non customers and bring them into the company. Customer relationship is very crucial because it always increases the customer base thus expanding the company indirectly (Evans and McKee 40).
How Social media are dangerous?
Social networking can be dangerous to individual lives, companies and the society.
A real danger in people’s life
Loss of privacy is on the rise amongst web rights activists due to the fact that currently more users sign up so that they can share their experiences with the world. If a most important exploit is increasingly found which may allow every individual to see whatever thing being posted or stated on any media site, it will definitely have massive repercussion for the network’s excellent status and the users (icare consulting para. 6).
Piracy and identity theft
It is widely believecd that social Networking sites not only act as a means to stealing personal information but it is also a way of scattering gossip, abuse and harmful misinformation. Folks are not capable of checking for anything that maybe happening to their photos and videos, apart from checking them by user reports and voting. It simply means that if an embarrassing photo taken at a social gathering is posted, the people in the photo maybe having no information that their status is being damaged. They may not discover until may be when it has reached mammoth audience and may have debilitated their status faultily. It has been realized that employers are nowadays checking their potential employees and employees’ facebook pages for their habits, opinions and extra subjects which may make them review whether to hire or make them continue with their employment. This means that individual information leaks are all the more hazardous (icare consulting para. 5).
Dangers of social network to companies
Not all individuals are members of the social network:
The use of social network discourages customers and the members of staff that have not registered themselves to the social sites of that particular company thus limiting them from day to day activities of the company (varajao 215).
Poor control of the respondents:
It clear that most companies do not respond appropriately to the feedback they get from customers. Some take it as jokes while others do not make an attempt of responding to them, this demoralizes those using the site impacting negatively to the company (varajao 215)
It Alters the usual control procedures:
The use of social media changes completely the way the company collects, records and analyzes its data therefore making it difficult for the company to control its usual procedures. The problem continues and the company will be forced to adapt to the new methods which is time consuming (varajao 215).
The use of social media is short term method of passing certain information from the company to its customers because others may not be available in the site when such information is delivered thus making them miss it and prompting for the use of the traditional media which can have a longer lifespan (Pride et al 453).
High costs and timeliness:
Advertisement made by the company through use social media may not reach the right people at the right time making the campaign unsuccessful. To re-advertise, the company will use a lot of money thus with poor timing the process can be very expensive (Pride et al 453).
Inability to target specific demographic groups:
Social network tools are not for specific people, any time a company resorts to the use of social media they need to be sure of passing general information otherwise they can be mistaken thus hampering the company reputation (Pride et al 453).
Measures taken against dangers that are exposed by social networks
The internet regulation is considered to be in its regulation is still in its formative years due to the fact that the legal system has not yet been able to hold on the speedy changes in the technology.Majority of people are connected to one social network or another. For a number of them, it is a prerequisite and for remaining ones, it is a huge source of income. Through facebook, people are ready to make public information that could not have been shared to the public on an online audience who seem to be so large to be estimated. The use of social media tools results to a loss of private information on a scale that was not previously thought to be possible (icare consulting para. 1).
Due to the pressure from ten privacy groups, Facebook Company decided to restore some privacy settings and since then, the company methods of running privacy have changed because its general strategic course has become very open. These changes have hard-pressed users to share their information further far and wide. The company has also changed some information like several demographic information and friends to be public just by default. Facebook has the responsibility to advance the greater social good because corporate social responsibility is a generally accepted practice which facebook has to embrace. I believe that there are enough talented employees in the facebook to efficiently deal with the problem; therefore it is worthwhile that the company takes an ethical approach to privacy.
The development of information and communication technologies have created a new era called the virtual generation. In recent yearswe haveseen a floweringof new sites called as social networks, for keeping intouch with friendsbutalsoto meet oldacquaintances. This is very possible because everyone who uses the internet is a member one or more social networking site. A social network is based on an ideology of sharing and advanced technology of Web 2.0 whose main function is the creation and exchange of information and content generated by users. It is the collective involvement of users which makes its existence possible.
Social network sites are very useful in business world because they help in content creation, immediacy, noise level, identifying weak links,customer relationships, customer engagement, share of insights, collaboration, answers, melding of worlds, job posting, connectivity, and convenience. A social network is a means of communication in which individuals create, organize, and manage web content and other information. The new technical means are used to share pictures or videos, be immediately in contact with friends, play, and any other activities. Social networks are also used in the professional field and are increasingly a major asset for companies. The internet regulation is considered to be in its regulation is still in its formative years due to the fact that the legal system has not yet been able to hold on the speedy changes in the technology.Majority of people are connected to one social network or another. Due to the pressure from ten privacy groups, Facebook Company decided to restore some privacy settings and since then, the company methods of running privacy have changed because its general strategic course has become very open.