Social networking risks and benefits

Social networking sites are platforms or sites that provide users with a means of interaction over the internet. Examples of such sites include face book, MySpace, friendster, blogger, and twitter among others. Social networking sites have helped increase effective communication, flow of information thus empowering the people. Although these social networks have not gone without criticism their benefits outweigh the criticism raised against them thus an important tool to society as they provide a platform for self expression, interaction and debate which are beneficial to the users. These social networking sites have many benefits and risk that one need to know before using them (Aleman, Martinez & Katherine, 2009).

In the corporate sector social networking sites help ease the work of creating brand awareness whereby they introduce their products, give information about them and thus are able create awareness of their products thus increasing on business growth through these social networks. It aids advertising as sellers can easily connect with their target customers through social sites. However, social networking sites have been used to attack companies’ data bases. For instance, according to (Prensky, 2001), although Middle East provides great opportunities for companies to benefit from social media it’s crucial to set proper  media strategy to avoid any potential risks that can be harmful to companies  reputation.

Social networking sites make it possible for people to connect with those they share common interests across political, economic and geographic boarders (Prensky, 2001). They   promote self expression thus promoting personal freedom. However these uncensored means of expression have resulted to cyber bullying for example rebel group’s use these networks to publicize their threats and claim connections to crimes. Sexual crimes against children have also been elevated social networking sites (Galaskiewicz, 2001).

Social networking systems are commended for being useful in educating people especially on ongoing event and providing platforms for debate on different events. They also provide entertainment where people can access different kinds of entertaining materials (Baron, 2007).  However they are criticized for creating addiction and thus making many students reluctant to study and also slowing productivity within organizations and also for not censuring entertainment material for example children can easily access pornographic materials (Todd, 2010).

Social networking systems have made it easier for people to find employment and also promoted the spread of biotechnological information. However since these sites do not promote interpersonal communication which is much more credible they have led to misleading information, fraud activities where people have been robbed of their money and even led to creation of tension and panic (Boyd &Elion,  2007). In conclusion social networking sites have been tremendous on improving communication   making it more effective which is a major contribution factor to development and thus their work has been commendable despite the criticism raised against them.

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