Social networks have become the essential part of private and professional life of many people all over the world. Research shows that the most popular sites worldwide are Facebook with 2.38 billion monthly active users, You Tube (2 billion users),WhatsApp (1.6 billion users). Six-ranked photo-sharing app Instagram has 1 billion monthly active accounts. About 2 billion Internet users are using social networks and these figures are expected to grow. The majority of social networks with 100 mln. users originated in America.
There are pros and cons of using social media.
One of the most obvious benefits of using social networks is that you can keep in touch with your friends easily, quickly and cheaply. Besides, it’s a good way of making new acquaintances, communicating with people from different countries, discussing various topics, sharing photos and videos. Apart from this, many people use combined profiles in social media for business and private networking. Also, social networks give a great opportunity for many companies to make a market research and to develop new products and services. Monitoring social media you get direct and fast access to your customers’ interests, opinions and problems. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are excellent ways to communicate with customers. Some large international companies are working with project wikis, project blogs and have global virtual teams. They are already using file sharing, collaborative platforms for project teams. Social media are a platform for podcasts and webinars to show your customers how your product works. What is more, finding a job has become easier because employers update pages with the job descriptions and candidates can apply online.
However, there are some disadvantages of using social networks.
One negative aspect lies in the fact that some teenagers spend so much time online. As a result of it , children suffer from the lack of live communication. They can become Internet addicts. Cyberbullying is a serious problem. According to statistics, about 37% of teenagers between the ages12 and 17 have been bullied online, most of them on the platform of Instagram. The people who experience cyberbullying are at a great risk for suicidal behavior.
Another problem is connected with hackers. They can get into our computers and use personal information for identity theft. We are worried by increasing cases of fraud. Scams are prevalent on popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That is why it is highly recommended not to include your personal data such as your home address or phone number into your public profile. You should check and regularly update privacy settings on your social media accounts.
All in all, we cannot disagree with the fact that social networks made our lives much easier. However, I think that social media will never replace real-life communication. I am convinced that blended networking, the combination of on-line and offline networking, is the way forward.
I agree with the statement: “People should lift their heads from their computer and phone screens and start living life”.