Social Networking Sites

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Social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, blogs and Twitter have grown increasingly popular in recent years. In particular, Facebook has become the most visited SNS in the world with more than 800 million active users (Facebook, 2011, cited by Lee et al, 2012:1036). SNS can be defined as “a new method of communicating, employing computers as a collaborative tool to accelerate group information and escalate group scope and influence” (Kane et al, 2009, cited by Lin and Lu, 2011:1152). This essay will argue that although to some extent SNSs have caused concerns such as cyberbullying between adolescents and privacy concerns, those websites are still mainly beneficial for individuals who use them by enhancing social connection and interaction, engaging formal and informal learning opportunities and also benefiting users in business areas and work places. This essay will discuss both positive and negative effects from SNSs to users in socializing, education and work, and the conclusion will provide some practicable suggestions for improvements. The first main aspect that significantly benefits SNSs’ users is enhancing social connection and interaction between each other. According to Dyrud (2011:475), from 2009 to 2010, the time people dedicate to socializing online increased 43%. This increase is particularly associated with two forms of connection. Firstly, SNS offers multiple media for users to communicate with their current friends, such as email, instant messaging, public and private bulletin boards, and even internet phone services (Kim et al, 2010:219). This means it not only allows young people to stay in contact with a wide range of offline friends and relatives cheaply and efficiently, but also positively empowers the connections and support between older adults. Furthermore, a friend-recommendation engine has been invented for individuals to meet new friends via SNSs which may be based on the school they attended, current location or similar interest...
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