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A social network is basically a structure that has been established in various social organizations such as communities. The socialization process has been aided by the development and establishment of platforms through which information is passed from one user to the other. The internet has been a key component in the networking process and it is at the heart of the whole process of social networking. The internet has made communication and information sharing easier and faster.
From the chapter readings, the genesis of social networking can be traced back to the emergence of web 2.0 which enables users to share information with the online community. The technology enables sharing of information anytime and at any place with internet connection. Users are able to visit web pages to view a wide range of content, add comments and share information for others to view. Unlike Web 1.0 which is read only, Web 2.0 is read and write. Users of web pages developed on this technology can add content and edit the existing one. The main goal of the development of web 2.0 was to expand online use to include features that had not been applied before.
The chapter describes the enormous power that web 2.0 gives its users so as to share as well as collaborate with others on an online platform. Web 2.0 can be used both on mobile applications as well as on desktops mainly for social and business networking. Facebook and twitter are examples of social media platforms that enable their users to interact with other people who are not necessarily in the same location. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a business platform that enables users to share professional and business information. Other wonderful features that are discussed in the text are the emergence of blogging. Through platforms such as Word Press, users are able to share thoughts on various issues, a platform referred to as the pure analyst. The pure aggregator on the other hand has daily updates on links to other websites. Another website that is widely discussed in the chapter is Wikipedia. It is an encyclopaedia that is already written and can be rewritten and updated by any user. Wikipedia enables different groups of people to combine their knowledge and therefore collaborate on a unique project that is user specific. Another innovation that is based on web 2.0 is emailing. Examples of email applications include Microsoft Outlook and Google’s Gmail. Gmail has emerged to be superior over Microsoft’s Outlook.
Other emerging tools on Web 2.0 include imaging applications such as flicker and Instagram that enable users to share pictures and videos. Users can post pictures of their own experiences and share them with other users on the platform. Social Bookmarking enables users to share information on stories that are captivating. Reddit on the other hand enables users to vote on the most interesting stories. Stories that get the highest number of votes start trending and get accessed by a higher number of audiences than the others. In this age of innovation, mobile phones, desktops and Laptops are being turned into video capturing devices. The emergence of Skype has enabled users from different parts of the world to communicate over the internet. The technology has enabled further socialization and communication, thereby transforming the manner in which business is carried out. Rather than conducting face to face meetings and conferences, video conferencing has become the new move in business.
With the development of web 3.0, the future of social networking remains quite transformative. Web 3.0 is referred to as the semantic web. The technology has transformed user experience over the internet. Semantic capabilities of web 3.0 enable easier implementation of the normal human operations. For instance, locating a recreation place over the internet has been made much easier. Web 3.0 enables has enabled the use of internet enabled devices to be used as virtual personal assistants. Although social networking has many advantages, there are also a number of shortcomings that are realized from the use of these platforms. They may be misused and used as avenues of cyberbullying. This is especially so on -mails and social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, among others. Cyber bullies use these platforms to pass hate messages and cause alarm and panic. Cyber bullying has adverse effects on users of these social networking sites including lowering of self-esteem, poor performance for students and in some cases develops health problems. On top of this, cyber bullying may destroy one’s reputation or career. Despite this, Web 3.0 has been a great milestone in social networking.
Based on the article, Web 2.0 is a force to reckon with in the world of social networking and needs to be embraced. This is because these tools are powerful methods of passing information. The various types of tools that are discussed by the author are very important and the author tries to explain what all these tools entail. Despite the milestones that have been achieved by Web 2.0, I concur with the author that cyberbullying is a serious issue that needs to be looked into with the seriousness that it deserves. This is because it is likely to slow down the milestones that have already been achieved through social networking.
The second article that I analysed is titled Examining the Relationship between E-Social Networks and the Communication Behaviours of Generation 2000 in Turkey. This article analyses the emergence of social networks and the effects it has had on the change of communication behaviours. Information Communication Technology has led to revolutionary changes in the field of social networks and this has brought opportunities and advantages. The internet has entered all spheres of life changing the way human beings interact organisation (Andersen, 1998, pp. 5–41; Fuchs, 2003; Granic &Lamey, 2000, pp. 93–107). In terms of social networks, it has provided a platform where information can be conveyed in a method that is open flow. Which has aided people to interact socially where they exchange ideas on themselves as well as involve themselves in ways that may benefit them economically. As one enters this scene, they know the platform can be chaotic. The author describes the enormous effect that the internet has had on the communication sphere. Where one can easily communicate with their kinsmen where facial communication is not possible. The internet has therefore provided various avenues to communicate via wikis, encyclopaedia and blogs. These social networking platforms have had the effect of passing information which was not possible before the emergence of the internet. With this intriguing ability of social networks, many people are spending a lot of time on the internet. For instance in Turkey 31.1 hours are spent on the internet. Most of this time is spent on social networks in which case the most preferred being Facebook (comScore, 2011). Most of these people on social networks are young people. Howe and Strauss (2007, pp 41-52) defines this generation as one exhibiting risky behaviour, that is cheerful about posts and a generation which has the ability to better use and understand Information Technology. Despite this know-how, they are not using the internet for the right reason and are thus ending up with addiction on social networks.
In this case, my opinion is similar to that of the author that indeed people with poor socialising skills are likely to turn to social networks to make up for their inadequacies. Social networks are likely to reduce human-human interactions that have an adverse effect on how people relate with one another. On top of this, a lot of time is spent on social networks which lead to addictions. Such addictions are unhealthy since they make people to highly depend on social networks. This may lead to the emergence of a society that has certain issues that are negative. This may negatively affect the well-being of society.
The third article is titled “What’s Different About Social Media Networks?” This article unlike the former adopts a different view from that held by the former article. This article holds the believe that social networks have improved interpersonal communication and has enabled cohesion in society by enabling collaboration using the internet based platforms. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the spaces to watch in the near future. This is because they are believed to revolutionise how people do business or go about their day to day work at their workplaces. This strong tool is the way to go in the near future in matters to do with business (Kiron et al. 2012). It is believed that social networks have a huge economic impact which is estimated at $ 1 trillion. This is because it enables efficient communication at workplaces as well as collaboration among various sectors in an organisation (Chui et al. 2012).
Despite this, information on the overall effect of the use social networks in doing business is scanty. This is because the technology is advancing day by day. Which introduces new features that may require time to understand and to utilise. It is also difficult to tell what is technologically distinctive about what social network is to be adopted. This is because they share similar characteristic making it difficult to tell one from the other. In certain scenarios, a small change in how the system works may affect the whole working of the tool. This may have consequences on the behaviour of personalities using it at their workplace.
Borgatti and Foster (2003) expound on how this social networking is likely to affect work in organisations. They summarise it into 4 pillars. One being environmental shaping. In this pillar the social network environment exerts an influence on members say, employees. This, in the long run, creates a synergy that enables them to work cohesively so as to achieve a common organisational goal. The second pillar is contagion. The social network is likely to spread a feeling of ownership among individuals it may also influence the attitude of people towards work and in the long run, it creates a platform for sharing resources such as information. The third pillar is structural capital. An organisation or its employees may establish particular structures that are unique to them. These structures may bear a relationship on how individuals interact at the workplace and how they benefit from them or are constrained by the same. The fourth pillar is resource access. A social network may provide a platform for access to resources and the benefits that accrue from these resources that are available in the network.
Social networks, provide users with capabilities that are non-existent in traditional offline social networks. These include visualisation of network structures as well as the ability to search for content without using ties that are related. This creates diversity in organisations in that employees or individuals may apply them in diverse ways. This introduces variations in what is produced. In the long run, this introduces dynamics that are complex. These dynamics would not have been explained if a traditional network was used. Since in such a scenario such capabilities are not present. Social networking provides users with a great experience since they are also able to control their networking experience. This is because they access what they want to without any limitation whatsoever.
In this article, my opinion is that social networks have truly provided a platform for organisations to spearhead their objectives. This has enabled sharing of information on one hand and acquisition of the same on the other hand. This exchange of information has enabled organisations to grow in leaps and bounds. This is a true testimony that if information is channelled through the right procedures, social networking can be a global success.
All the three authors agree that in fact, social networking is a strong tool whose time has come and thus cannot be done away. They all believe that the future is in social networking. This is because it has provided a platform on which information can be shared and accessed. They also feel that society should fully embrace it and learn what is important in it and discard the rest which they believe is not important
The second and third author disagree on the whole issue of social networking. The second author portrays it as a tool which is too strong that people are unable to control the limit to which they can use it. This has led to scenarios of dependence on social networking that has led to adverse effects that include communication breakdown between people. This means that they are freer communicating on a social network rather than participate in a one on one conversation. The prolonged use of these social networks has led to addiction which is a negative effect. The third author on the other had believed that social networks are the way to go if any progress is to be made economically. The author believes such networks are wholly beneficial and need to be adopted fully.
My point of view is that indeed Social Networks are the way to go. This is because they offer an avenue for various players to interact with one another. These platforms, have enabled sharing of information through social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter. Blogs and emails are a great way of passing information. This is in an attempt of doing away with traditional methods that are cumbersome and which may not provide the required information. If any organisation was to succeed then they need to incorporate social networking into their business strategies.
Despite the advantages of social networking, its use needs to be controlled. This is because over-reliance on it may lead to consequences that are very destructive. These include a breakdown of interpersonal communication which is an important skill for any human being and overreliance on the tool for solutions. Overreliance on the tool may lead to reduced use of human creativity to find solutions to problems. This may lead to scenarios whereby one is afraid to suggest exemplary good ideas because they fear they will be rejected. This plays a part in killing a person’s self-esteem. This may consequently lead to addiction which can have adverse effects on how a person goes about their day to day activities.
In conclusion, I believe social networking is the way to go. Despite this everything should be done in moderation so as to avoid a scenario whereby people fully depend on social networks for solutions.
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