Trends in Technology

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Trends in Technology

Discuss the phenomenon of electronic social media on the way we do business and the way we socialise

Word Count: 1819

Discuss the phenomenon of electronic social media on the way we do business and the way we socialise

Electronic social media has revolutionised the way individuals socialise in an age where computers and the internet have become a part of everyday life. Social media can be considered an instrument of communication, in other words it is a website that provides information and allows for interaction. It has become an increasingly popular tool with teenager and adults, not to mention businesses looking to benefit from the social networking world. Social media is a development of traditional forms of medium such as newspapers, where you can read the articles but are limited in opportunity to voice opinions. Electronic social media can allow users to have an input and voice comments. Social media can also help you stay in touch with people around the world. Users can communicate in different ways; they can talk online to other users who are active, users can post messages and share photos, as well as sharing video clips.

There are different forms of social media websites, which serve its own purpose. Social media allows communities to form quickly and communicate effectively (Antony Mayfield, 2008). Social Networking websites allow a user to create a profile and interact with friends that join their network. Social networking has fast become a popular pass time, with users logging into websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. Users join groups and discussions to voice their opinions on common interests and have the opportunity to interact with others from different networks. Members that are added as friends can comment on pictures, send private messages and engage in live chats with friends. Wiki’s are another form of social media, they can be described as websites that allow users to create, edit and share information about a subject or topic, e.g. Wikipedia. Other forms of social media are video sharing, picture sharing and online gaming. Video sharing and viewing has become very popular. Videos are uploaded by users for others to view and comment upon, YouTube has become one of the world’s most popular websites for video sharing. YouTube has approximately 100 million video views a day (Antony Mayfield, 2008) such is the popularity that it has also become a tool that businesses use to gain exposure at a more cost efficient way.

Although social media is very popular, there are many dangers to the users that embrace this technology. This section will look into the potential dangers to users of electronic social media. ‘Cyber crimes’ have unfortunately become very common, with many fraudsters and hackers looking to take advantage. People who use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are running the risk of being the victim of identity theft. According to The Times there is a willingness from the younger generation to disclose personal data over the internet which gives “cybercriminals the information they need to create spoof identities, gain access to online accounts or infiltrate employers’ computer networks” (The Times). Users leave personal details on their profiles which are publically available for others to see, e.g. Name, Address, Date of Birth and email addresses. Some users even disclosed their mother’s maiden name, which is often requested by websites for security purposes to retrieve account details. A potential scammer will have sufficient information to create phishing emails or malware targeted at individuals or businesses to guess passwords and impersonate the user. According to Cifas, the fraud prevention service, there were 40,000 cases of identity theft in 2007 which costs the UK £1.5 billion a year (The Times, 2007).

Worryingly Identity theft is not the only dangers that face social media users. With many children...
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