Social networking came about when social media sites such as Myspace and LinkedIn were launched in 2003. After that came Facebook in 2004, Bebo in 2005, then Twitter in 2006. Today the list goes on with there now being a countless number of social media sites. Most social media sites allow people to connect with friends, families, colleagues and various companies and also allow some to get to know new people, which can then form new friendships. Social media sites generally allow people to share information with others and post pictures that they may want others to see. Messages can be sent publically, where those you are connected to can see what you have to say, and messages can also be sent privately where you can send a direct message to either one person or a set amount of individuals, maybe a group or a forum. There have also been many social media sites that have been very photographical based. Such sites are Pinterest, which started out in 2009 and was launched in 2010 and Instagram, which was also launched in 2010. Pinterest allows users to “Pin” pictures and photographs on created picture boards which then other people can see. You can follow other boards or users and then “like” other people’s pictures or boards. Instagram allows its users to post pictures and videos onto the site and also allows them to edit pictures to how the user wants them to look. Today there are so many different social media sites and what you can do on them depends on what social media site it is. Social media sites allow you to upload photos, videos and communicate with others through public and personal messaging. Many social networking sites will allow users to interlink all of their social networking sites together, so whichever one that they are using will allow them to post something out, which will then be posted to each social media site. This makes the social networking even bigger and allows even more people to view what is being said or what material has been posted out.
Using Social Media for Personal Use
Social media is great for personal use. If you have friends or family that are overseas or you are away on holiday or even travelling yourself, then social media is a great way to stay in communication with the people you are socially connected with. Instead of having to repeat that conversation with a number of friends, people can now say what they want and have it seen by all the people they wanted to tell. Pictures can be uploaded onto sites where the friends, family and followers can feel free to have a look at these pictures, they can then “like” or comment on particular pictures. For those who may be abroad whether it be travelling or just on holiday, can upload pictures through a smart phone onto a social media site, to show friends and family what they are up to. Gone are the days where you had to wait for your friend or family member to come home and show you what they have been up to through pictures, or have a postcard sent to you to see what the town or city looks like that they are staying in, now you can see everything straight away through social media. Through other sites such as Skype, you can have a video conversation where you can see who you want to talk to and they can show you through a video what they are up to, pictures can also be sent directly through Skype as well as personal messages. Sites like this are ideal if the person is staying where they can get free Internet and Wi-Fi, otherwise the site may be free to use but the mobile providers may charge for data usage.
Using Social Media for Business Use
Social media can be used in business use by being able to share information through a social media site such as photographs and documents and meetings can also be organised and arranged. Skype allows businesses to have free video conference calls from anywhere across the world, which makes it easier when you may have clients that are in a different country to where the business is primarily based.
Some businesses are able to advertise through social media, not just through a physical advert but also through posting pictures and information on the latest products and services that they provide. Businesses can also ask customers what they think, create surveys and even advertise job posts for anyone who may be interested in joining that particular company. A data base can also be created through social media as you can get information such as emails through social networking sites which will allow future communication with newsletters and advertisements. LinkedIn, which started out in 2002 and launched in 2003, is one of the best social media sites for businesses. LinkedIn allows users to upload information about themselves and have an online CV and professional profile, with information about what job roles they have previously had and also the job role that they are looking to apply for. They can then connect to former colleagues, managers, friends and various companies that can then view their profile. With this site, jobs can be advertised and users can apply for jobs directly through the site. The businesses that may be advertising the job posts can then look up the candidates that have applied and can see what roles they have previously had. This is a good way to see if candidates are applicable for the job role and would take out a lot of time where before a candidate would have to physically send off a CV and await for a response.
Advantages of Social Media
Social media is a great way for people to stay in communication with each other. Social media is also a free service for people to use so that they if they have friends and family that are in a different country or they are abroad themselves, they no longer have to pay extensive phone bills to get in touch with them and stay connected. Social media is great for those that may be on holiday, traveling or working abroad as people can share photographs through social networking sites. People can also write blogs about what they have been up to and upload these on to various social media sites so that friends and family can read what they have been up to and also see the pictures that they have taken. Social media allows users to permanently stay connected with others and information posted can be instantly viewed. Social media is a great marketing tool for businesses to use. Business can be gained through social media sites and you can be connected to many customers online and show them what new products and services you can provide. If businesses want to spread news fast then it’s great to put it on social media sites, this way many users have a better chance of seeing it than through news sent through an email. Many emails are dismissed or not seen, whereas on social media sites, news will show up on many user’s homepage.
Disadvantages of Social Media
Social media can also have its disadvantages. Bullying can be quite serious on social media, especially between school children, this is known as viral bullying. A lot of information can’t automatically be deleted either, so if things are being said about a certain person or discriminating pictures are being uploaded of them, they have no way of personally taking this information down. It is up to the person that is uploading the data to remove it. Many social networking sites will allow you to report other users that they may consider to be offensive, but it may take a while for the social networking site to get back to you, therefore the viral bullying will carry on. There are many cases of people using a different identity to their real selves, this can be very serious for sites that allow people to become friends and sometimes meetings are arranged and the person you think you have become friends with turns out to be someone completely different. There has also been cases of stolen identity, where someone has managed to get hold of another person’s personal information and photographs and is either posing as that person with the exact same name or is using that persons pictures to be someone else. Social media can also be a disadvantage by the way that news can spread really quickly and sometimes this can be bad news for certain people and businesses. Again there is no control over this, once it has been posted it can then be shared to millions of people and social media users across the world.
Social Media as a Whole
Overall, used in the correct manor, social media is a good thing for many users. It is good for personal use as it allows people to connect to friends and family and keep in touch over a longer period of time than before when people would simply lose touch. Social media is also a good marketing tool for many businesses. It lets businesses advertise to many customers and the general public through posting pictures and information of products and services. Customers can also “like”, “share” or “retweet” this information which will then be passed on to the friends and followers. Social media is a great way for everyone to stay connected and for people to socially network with others.