Social networking sites are gaining popularities of late with almost everyone subscribing to one or another. These sites have bridged boundaries making communication effective like never before; one can easily connect with friends and grow their social circle by sending out invites to potential friends. Gradually, one creates a substantial social relationships base at a relatively lower overhead costs. It is through these social relations created on the sites that have influenced a number of political processes where there have attempts to advance political actions. Charitable organizations are also using social networking sites targeting young people, who tend to have massive followers, to spread their call for support. However, more emphasis appears to be put on the advantages realized by the political processes and charities. Therefore, there is a need to examine both negative and positive impacts of such sites to find if they benefit.
People are continually using social networking sites to convey political actions, a shift from the traditional use of connecting with friends. Such political course of actions targets the youth who command massive groups of friends and given the trust and common consensus these young people have about the future. This unity has the potential to trigger reforms and guarantee freedom in powerful political institutions across the world as witnessed in the Arab Spring unrest of last year. Politicians and their campaigners are using these sites to garner for votes by often befriending, updating their activities and luring voters with attractive promises. However, such sites have also been used maliciously to portray a political opponent in the wrong way and given the speed with which communication on social site spreads, it may be too late to correct. It is even difficult to ascertain legitimacy on such sites and may dent a blow on any political career.
Charitable organizations are increasingly using social networking sites to engage the youth, most of whom are college students willing to volunteer to make their resumes attractive, in their activities; there is an increase in staff at no cost leading to fast service delivery. They also engage people through the sites to help convey their undertakings thereby attracting people of goodwill to donate funds. However, such donations normally done online, expose ones account details to fraud where hackers might still from people’s bank accounts ; this may dent an organization’s reputation especially if one believes it stole from him. Also, fraudsters have taken advantage of social networking sites to masquerade as well known charity organizations to con unsuspecting individuals of money.
It is not clear if political institutions and charities truly benefit from social networking sites. In any institution, legitimate public reputation is most beneficial, but if the institutions use such sites without caution, the intended purpose may backfire. This may force them to either wind up shop or spend substantial amount of money to restore their legitimate public image. Therefore, political institutions and charitable organizations must be prepared for whatever outcome of using social networking sites.