Since so much of our daily life is spent on the computer and the Internet these days, and so much of that time is spent on social networking sites, it is probably worth it to take a moment out of our daily life and really look at what the social networking pros and cons are. From Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr, the options go on and on, and all have their disadvantages and advantages.
Pros of Social Networking
We will start with Facebook, since that is the site that currently seems to be maintaining dominance over the social networking world. Facebook is a terrific place to catch up with almost every person in your life, from your second grade classmate, to old neighbors, even your grandparents might be on Facebook. Since it has so many users worldwide, if you are looking for that true seven degrees of separation version of networking, Facebook is perfect for that. If you would like to have some part of you on the internet to show a little bit about yourself, and to prove that you are not a Luddite, Facebook gives you the opportunity to do that.
If you would like to go a little bit beyond Facebook, sites like LinkedIn provide you with the opportunity to virtually network with your professional contacts. You can quickly see who it is that your associates have worked with in the past. Before, you might have spent days trying to figure out who knows a business contact you would like to be introduced to. Now, you simply open up your LinkedIn account and see who is connected.
Twitter allows you to create a larger social network that receives short messages. This can be a good option if you would like to let others know what you think or what you are up to on the go, since it is very easy to use on your mobile devices.
One definite advantage to social networking sites is that most of them are free, since they are ad-supported.
Cons of Social Networking
If you would prefer to stay anonymous, those days are over. People love to tag other people in photographs or posts. Since privacy policies on these sites change frequently, you must stay on top of every new release to make sure that the things that you would like to stay private, do in fact stay private. If you are looking for a new job, or on the dating scene, you need to be especially sure that your profile represents you as you would like to be represented.
In addition to privacy concerns, sometimes social networking can be a large time waster. If you need to be productive at work, but go to check Facebook for just a minute, somehow hours can go by without you even knowing it and suddenly your day is wasted.
With all types of technology, there are definite advantages and disadvantages to social networking. You need to weigh these social networking pros and cons against each other to see if what you get out of these services is more than what is taken away.