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By Sylvia Fowler

Advantages and disadvantages of social networking

Social networking is a direct result of advancement in information technology and the internet. Today it is commonplace but very popular among many. However, the acts of engagement of social networking's influence have affected many individuals' lives: many positively, but many negatively as well (Asia-Pacific Economics Blog Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking, 2014). Although many participate in social networking constantly, some simply refuse to take part in online social interaction. Many question the value and safety of social networking. Therefore, one must consider the advantages and disadvantages of social networking before engaging in any social platform.

One important advantage of social networking is that it allows us to locate relatives and friends. Suitable examples of social platforms that help with this are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. These types of platforms are especially useful for family reunion event planning when there has not been a reunion in two decades. Creating a reunion event section on a social platform gets information out to those known relatives yet reaches the unknown as well. Event sections and groups are effective for stimulating enthusiasm about an event, which promotes a positive outcome in event attendance.

In contrast, the very information on social platforms that lets us find family and friends makes us vulnerable to risk of fraud or identity theft. There are some of the opinion that "social networking can be used to promote criminal activity." On the other hand, some state "it is a means to counteract organized crime and perchance terrorism" (Asia-Pacific Economics Blog Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking, 2014). Individuals should act responsibly for the protection of their safety and privacy when joining social platforms (Claywell, 2017).

Social networking is a means for individuals to practice self-expression and free speech via the internet, which is advantageous (Claywell, 2017). Often, this communication causes social networking to be a source of entertainment. Whether it's the banter between individuals or the drama exchanged in posts, many consider it very entertaining. Even though it's entertaining, some spend excessive amounts of time on social networking and it becomes a source of distraction, procrastination, fixation and addiction.

The controversies about social networking are numerous. The different platforms have both advantages and disadvantages as well. Social networking definitely has an impact on lives. The extent of the impact is up to each individual user. Each user must research the different platforms, determine their purpose for networking, and choose the platform accordingly. The user must responsibly choose the information they provide and write appropriate posts protecting their own privacy and safety. As for those users who waste time and form an addiction to or an obsession with social networking, they are likely to act the same no matter what technological tool they use. According to some, social networking is merely a technological tool or medium. Social networking's significance or damaging influence on our society depends on the individuals using and dealing with it. Therefore, it is only as useful as the user makes it (Claywell, 2017).

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