Meaning of Social Networking
Social Networking refers to connecting with people socially, either through those that you already know or by meeting new ones.
In today’s world, a lot of global networking happens via the internet and is called Online Social Networking.
Social networking in a local sense is the set of connections that you have in the place of your residence, i.e. your neighbours, your work colleagues, and your daily contacts.
One’s social network in the traditional way consists of one’s family, the extended family and friends. The importance of these arises in the times of celebrations like weddings, other festivals.
Friends and acquaintances
Practically, one’s social network consists of close friends [from school, neighbourhood, college, etc.], professional contacts and your daily acquaintances.
Virtual vs Real
In the last decade, virtual networking via social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, etc. has replaced the real-life social networking to a great extent. So for all practical purposes, Online Social Networking has become synonymous with Social Networking.
Advantages of Social Networking
- A good social network satisfies a basic human need for social acceptance and approval.
- Your social network is usually your support system in the times of need.
- Your social network plays a vital role in determining and shaping your daily life-style.
- A social network, is a primary means of sharing a lot of helpful information on a daily basis.
- At times your social network is a source of sharing some privileged but vital information that is otherwise unavailable.
- Many people meet their future Spouses through their network.
- With social networking sites this has become much easier.
- Your social network exposes you to different human behaviours and widens your outlook.
- In competitive or sports situations, you can depend on your social network for encouragement.
- Being a part of a happy and dynamic social network is seen to increase longevity.
- A good social life is very important for emotional and psychological health.
- While moving to a new neighbourhood or country, it is important to develop a new social network to help in your transition.
- Your social network can be a good source of unique work opportunities suitable for your requirements.
- Through online social networking sites like Facebook, you can build a global social network.
- Online social networking can be very helpful in emergency situations e.g. medical, legal, etc.
Disadvantages of Social Networking
- It is important to stay in the good books of the opinion leaders of your network.
- The same network can be a source of negative propaganda about you.
- Rumours are easy to spread in a network, if people don’t take enough precautions to verify the facts.
- Every social network has its set of informal rules that you need to follow.
- In online social networking, you don’t always have control over the information shared publicly, particularly if somebody does it on your behalf.
- In professional networking sites, you can get misled by illusory online presence created by some people. This can even be a source of fraud.
- Every social network, physical or online, has its own lifestyle and behavioural parameters. These can be a source of peer-pressure and stress.
- With online social networking websites, connecting with unknown and irrelevant contacts can become an obsession or even an addiction.
- Social networks can become a means of manipulating weaker or vulnerable members to psychological or emotional pressures.
- Often your status in life compels you to have a certain size of a network, as is the case with celebrities, which may adversely affect your social life.
- In foreign countries, it becomes mandatory to expand your network to the local population. This can sometimes be challenging due to sociocultural barriers.
- Online social networking has an addictive potential and this can become counter-productive for your real-world social life.
- Online social networking has invaded into our personal lives and our privacy is at risk. It is vital to be cautious of this.
- Miscommunication is a common problem in online social networking. Moreover, it is difficult to retract or delete such miscommunication.
- Anti-social elements can use online social networks to spread fake messages.
With changing lifestyles, urbanization and globalization, social behaviours have seen a considerable change over time. In every form and shape, social networking is vital for emotional and psychological health. Whether in the real or virtual world, you should value your relationships. Though on the lop-side it is also important to be aware of the addictive potential of online social networking.