Online Social Networking (OSN)
Social networking has been existing since the society began, as human beings have always strived to live in social surroundings. Largely, social networking sites (SNS) have directed social network to the internet. Various factors may account for the prompt behind considering the implications of technologies in policy formulation. For instance, there has been increasing willingness of the users to accept social networking sites as a platform of communication and social networking on their daily lives. Social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, and Friendster has an impact on the manner in which users establish, maintain, and nurture various social relationships ranging from close friends to mere acquaintances. Consequently, these sites have grown into a phenomenon providing a platform through which billions of internet users connect both during their leisure and working times.
SNS has enabled many people to increase their contacts with their friends and family and by so doing; they have intensified their participation in the social activities. Several studies have indicated that increased involvement in SNS confers benefits to the participants in relation to self-esteem and mental health implying that engagements in SNS is of great importance to certain individuals. On the other hand, online social networking has provided a way in which the shy and the less sociable can connect and socialize with friends since it eliminates the shy-prevalence factor, eye-to-eye contact. Time that one takes on the online social network increases with the increase in sociability, especially for the shy and less sociable group. Therefore, this pattern of social behavior clearly implies that the replica of the real life trend is exactly the same trend on the online social sites.
OSN has resulted in cyber bulling and risk of bad experience for children and young adults. In the OSN, some people are likely to post abusive comments on another person’s posts on these sites. More often, these sites expose personal information, such as the contents of one’s profile to the unwanted contacts, and pornographies; while other people may post distressing information. Nevertheless, through OSN, entrepreneurs have also established a stage upon which they can advertise their goods and services offered at their various outlets, making some of them serve the purpose of an e-market. In addition, these sites further enable users to access important news pieces from several newspapers, especially Facebook that has a provision for link creation.
People have been able to find their old friends and even make new friends, especially through Facebook. Moreover, there are establishments of romantic relationships some of which have ended up into marriages after a considerable period of dating. Similarly, LinkedIn has made it possible for networking among the professional groups. Through this site, the employers have been able to scrutinize the profiles of potential employees as they select the best job candidates for possible employment opportunities.
The concerns emerging from the usage of online social networks include excessive usage, reduced face-to-face interactions, and loss of social skills. People are fond of communicating remotely by pressing buttons, thus denying then an opportunity to develop personality. Excessive use of SNS may cause eye problems due to eyestrain for long hours in a day. Exposure to certain content, such as pornographies and other abusive comments may erode the moral decadence of young people. In conclusion, despite the concerns raised about OSN, its impact has been great!