Social networking can be described as the art of keeping in touch with friends and relatives through social Media. Social networking came to be with the introduction of Facebook amongst other social sites. For years now, there has been tremendous growth in the sector of social networking. Like we all know, any changes in the course of our lives will affect us in different ways.
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The effects of social networking are important to me personally as it will help me understand it in a broad perspective. I will be able to fully research on the possible future effects that come with the development of social networking. I will also be able to expound more on what the other research have explored on the effects of social networking. As much as I will contribute to the study of the effects of social networking, I will also gain from it by learning on what others had to say.
The study will also help others in knowing what they are getting into when they register onto social network sites. What are the positives they stand to gain and what are the negatives to be on the look out for? How well can they be able to control their use of social networking in order to benefit fully from them? Should they embrace the wave of social networking fully or take precaution measures? These are some of the questions that the study will help answer to the readers of this report.
The study will mostly target individuals who use social networking sites on daily basis. The individuals will be grouped in accordance to age and current occupation. It will also take into consideration individuals who are still in school. The study will be conducted within a period of one month so as to fully establish the effects of social networking. The time duration is ideal because it is neither too short nor too long. It is suitable for effective results that are up-to-date.
Through the study, I hope to establish if there are more positive than negative effects of social networking. How we can all benefit from social networking simply because it is what everyone including companies are doing. I hope to find if we can entirely do away with social networking and how it will affect us should we take that path. The main sections of this paper are the literature review, the findings of the study, the conclusion and the recommendations for the study.
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
In this chapter, the effects of social networking are analyzed in depth. It will focus mainly on three variables that are mostly affected by social networking i.e. professionalism, social life and education. This paper only focuses on the three as these are the key area of the study. Social networking services can be described as online services that are only established to bring people closer together in terms of creating relations and sharing a common interest (Woessner, 2011). Social networking began to grow with the advance revelation of computers and easy access to the internet (Jue, Marr & Kassotakis, 2009).
Usenet and LISTSERV are some of the first online services to offer a better platform for social networking sites to expand (Jue, Marr & Kassotakis, 2009). As the demand for social sites increased, more social sites were launched into the market as more and more online service providers developed. It was only until the years 19954 that the first social networking site was registered in the World Wide Web (WWW). These sites included Geocities, Theglobe.com and tripod. These sites mainly focused on establishing chat rooms and bring people closer together regardless of their geographical background (Papacharissi, 2010).
Different communities see this as an opportunity that they should tap into. A good example of such communities with people who shared the same interests or background was Classmates.com. However, this social site took the approach of linking people together through the use of email address. As time progressed, the use of profiles was to be introduced in the late 1990s. User profiles just like the name suggest allow users to compile the list of friends they wish to have on their social page (Papacharissi, 2010). This new development in social networking encourages the launch of social sites such as SixDegrees.com, Hub Culture, and Makeoutclub.com amongst others. This was to mark the beginning of a new revolution in the social networking market.
By the year 2000, other social network sites were being introduced almost on annual basis. This saw the increase in the number of people registering as well as an increase in competition of the site owners. By the year 2005, MySpace was the number one ranked social site in the US. All this was to change with the launch of Facebook in the year 2004. It is currently the largest social networking site in the world.
The study on the effects of social networking started immediately after the launch and establishment of Facebook. This is because no social site has been able to revolutionize the world the way Facebook has. It simply took the world by storm as it had everyone registering on it (Papacharissi, 2010). The study was first conducted as certain effects become noticeable thus the need to explore on them. We can therefore say that social networking can have either a positive or negative effect on its users.
On the level of professionalism, previous studies noted that the effects of social networking during work hours brought about more negative effects than the positives. The level of productivity simply went a notch lower as more employees spent their time on social sites (Woessner, 2011). With the free and easy access to the internet while at the work place, employees did and site find it cheap to access their social pages while at work. With more employees performing poorly, employers were forced to take drastic measures to ensure that things got back to normal. Most firms had to block and declare the use of social networking sites during working hours as illegal. A study conducted by HCL Technologies in the year 2011 show that an entire 50% of British employers ban the use of social sites at work (Jue, Marr & Kassotakis, 2009).
As much as social networking sites have proved through past studies that they do slow down employees, productivity, study also show that they can be beneficial. Recent studies prove that marketing through social sites can be very effective to a firm. With a wide audience to gain access to the information that you have to sell in a click of a button; social networking is definitely the way to go in terms of marketing (Woessner, 2011). Adverts are designed to help create awareness and market for your products and services. Previous scholars have shown beyond reasonable doubt that social networking sites can be the best marketing ground for any product and or service. With a wide and cheap way of creating awareness, all you need is to have as many people see what you are marketing. The social media is often flocked with individuals at any given time; your advert will never go unnoticed (Jue, Marr & Kassotakis, 2009).
Once social life has also been a keen past study as far as the effects of social networking are concerned. Your social life matters a lot simply because this is how you relate to the people around you. Do you have friends or are you always alone. Studies have shown that social networking sites can either help create or damage your social life. You want to make and keep in touch with your friends, then social sites is the answer. On average basis, you will remember to keep in touch with everyone on your phone book. However, you can be updated on what is happening in their lives through social networking (Papacharissi, 2010)
Recent studies show that people do lie more often on the information they exchange on social networking sites. You want people to think that your life is amazing and therefore you lie about almost everything (Parrack, 2012). One of the major effects of social networking in regards to ones social life is the inability to keep up with the lies. Eventually the truth does come out at some point in time thus crushing the person. With a low self esteem and the truth finally out, people find it hard to go back to their normal lives (Papacharissi, 2010). Studies do show that most people who suffer this kind of fate tend to be depressed and withdrawn from social activities. They therefore might need psychological help in order to be able to interact freely with people.
The effect of social networking on education has probably the most studied topic on the effects of social networking as a whole. Previous studies in relation to education and social networking were once seen as a hindrance in the development of ones education (Dunn, 2011). This is because most of the social sites users and especially on Facebook and Twitter are still of school going age on different levels. Social networking was proven to affect the grades of students as they tend to perform poorly by spending most of their time socializing on the sites. The studentsââ‚¬â„¢ education almost came to a compromise with the introduction of current and easy to access social sites especially through their mobile phones (Dunn, 2011)The only way to ensure that education came first to social networking was to establish ways of prohibiting social sites while at school (Parrack, 2012).
As much as social networking was considered to be a hindrance in the development of education, past studies have also shown that it can be helpful in developing technical skills amongst other. As students interact with each other on the social sites, there is a lot more they share than the events of their day to day activities. Recent studies have shown that students are now using social networking sites to explore the talents they have (Dunn, 2011). There is more than what meets the eye in relation to students and social sites. This has grown to be the platform of interaction to discuss other significant matters than the social ones (Parrack, 2012). Just like in the professional environment, students are now putting into good use the positive effects that come with social networking.
The study on the effects of social networking recently took a new twist. Researchers now claim that social networking sites offer some of the best grounds to carry out research work. Most of the research work is now targeting social networking sites as it is easier to find the kind of population target that you desire (Parrack, 2012). With this recent development, we can add to the existing effects of social networking as a whole.
As for the future concerns of the effects of social networking, the trend shows that there will be more emerging positive effects than negatives. This is the belief of many simply because at first there were more negatives than positives but this is slowly changing. We are yet to discover other unhidden positive effects that the social sites have to offer (Parrack, 2012). The more we expand our features and social networking uses, the more we stand to benefit from them.
The advantage of carrying out this research study is to help understand the past studies and explore more on the future possible effects. The advantage of carrying out this research will not only benefit me as an individual but the entire community as a whole. This study will go a long way in help solving current problems in relation to the effects of social networking. This study will also help future researcher to develop their past studies section as they explore its contents for reference.
This chapter describes the methodology used to collect data in establishing the possible effects of social networking. The method that the research chooses to use is interview. Interviews simply because it enables the research to get first hand answers as well as offer personal interaction with the interviewee (Creswell, 2008). The use of interviews as a research method has been there since time memorial and it has proven to offer so much. The interviewer will be able to capture the non spoken responses of the interviewee such as gestures and facial expressions. In addition to that, interviews are ideal when it comes to clear explanations from either party of the interview (Creswell, 2008).
The data will be collected in different venues so as to target a wider perspective of the population. Schools, offices and public places such as parks will be the targeted locations for this research. This is to enable to get as many different individuals for the research. When your targeted population is wide, you stand to benefit from unbiased results (Kumar, 2010). The more people the research will cover from different grounds, the more diverse the data collected will be.
The research will focus on interview a population target between the ages of 15-40. This is because this is the ideal age that frequently uses social networking for various reasons. The age limit is that low as social networking attracts not only the adults but teenagers as well. Research has shown that a growing percentage of social networking users are mainly below the ages of eighteen. As for the age maximum age, the research will better portray the mature uses at that particular age.
The data collect in the span of one month i.e. the duration period of the research, will first be edited before it is interpreted. Data editing allows for the clarity and the completion of information collected. Once editing is done, the information will be presented in the form of tables and graphs for the quantitative information. As for the qualitative, it will be presented in a descriptive manner. This is because not all information gathered can be presented in a quantitative manner. The research expects to find more positive effects of social networking than negatives.
This chapter describes the presentation of the finding obtained through the interview process. The use of graphs will present the quantitative while descriptive form will present the qualitative information.
4.1 Quantitative analysis
4.1.1 Respond rate
Out of the 200 target population to be interviewed, only 160 had a successful interview. This makes the respond rate 80%
Source Author (2012)
4.1.2Effects on professionalism
Source Author (2012)
4.1.3 Effects on social life
Source Author (2012)
4.1.4 Effect on education
Source Author (2012)
4.2 Qualitative analysis
From the research analysis majority of the individuals who are employed or self employed find social networking to be an added advantage to their careers. The respondents agree that social networking helps them to market their goods and services in a cheap and effective way. They point out that majority of firms now have profile pages in most of the social networking sites as an easier way for them to interact with clients.
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Majority of the respondents find social networking to help them with their social life. It is a simply way of keeping in touch with your friends on regular basis without necessarily having to meet with them. Respondents also find it easier to make new friends on social sites through old friends. Reuniting lost friends also top the list of some of the positive effects of social networking. Only a small percentage finds social networking to ruin or be a hindrance to their social life
Only a few out of the possible half way mark of the respondents find social networking to be beneficial in regards to education. They do agree that social sites are currently trending and they can be used in a positive manner. This group of respondents acknowledges the fact that social sites can be ideal grounds for research work. The rest of the respondents simply find social networking to be a fail in regards to education. They see no positive reactions between education and social sites.
The main objective of this research was to highlight the effects of social networking. Majority of the respondents agree that there are now more positive effects than negative effects. Majority of the respondents agree on positive effects for the three areas tested i.e. professionalism, social life and education. From the results, it is clear that the norm of having more negative effects than positive effects of social networking is slowly changing.
As much as the study was a success, if I was to do it again, the one thing I would change is the number of variables under study. Social networking does not only affect our lives in the three variables highlighted for this study. There are so many other ways in which social networking affects us. For future researchers, it is highly encouraged to explore areas such as the effects of social networking in regards to building skills, creating employment opportunities, reducing crime rates amongst others.
The study on the effects of social networking was a success as I found what I expected. At the beginning of the study, I expected to find an increase in positive effects and a decrease in the negatives. From the results, it is clear that majority of people now benefit from social networking in a positive manner. The complaints as to how negative social sites can be are slowly dying as people now start acknowledging the better side of social networking.
Creswell, J. (2008). Research design: A qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. New York: Sage Publications Ltd.
Dunn, J. (2011, June 11). The 10 best and worst ways social media impacts education. Retrieved from //edudemic.com/2011/07/social-media-education/
Jue, A., Marr, J., & Kassotakis, M. (2009). Social media at work: How networking tools propel organizational performance. California: Jossey-Bass.
Kumar, R. (2010). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. New York: Sage Publications Ltd.
Papacharissi, Z. (2010). A networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites. New York: Routledge.
Parrack, D. (2012, April 19). The positive impact of social networking sites on society [opinion]. Retrieved from //www.makeuseof.com/tag/positive-impact-social-networking-sites-society-opinion/
Woessner, S. (2011). Increase online sales through viral social networking: How to build your web site traffic and online sales using Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin in just 15 steps. Florida: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc.