The Social Networking Service
YouTube is a huge interactive Social Networking Service platform, it portrays a gigantic example of collaboration and fierce interactivity, that too without anarchy. With the advent of websites like YouTube, Facebook and Myspace, the web 2.0 actually gain widespread popularity and usage. These websites acted like a place for people to gather and share. With Web 2.0 providing interactive aspect to the traditional World Wide Web, the users now have more avenues of sharing, blogging, messaging and collaborating. Web 2.0 showed a drastic move from earlier static pages and mere repository of information to a forum to express oneself and share information (Flew 2010, 19). These websites are strong digital marketing tools.
Web 2.0: The Enabler
Web 2.0 and especially the social networking platform within it, is like a town meeting that runs every second, day in and day out. All sorts of conversation, interaction is going on, a speaker who is talking to the entire population, individuals who are talking among themselves, documents and messages that are initiated and spread by either the individuals or the speaker. This figurative town meeting has engaged and empower millions of users by equipping them with information, providing channels of expressing and sharing their ideas and finally enabling collaboration among them.
Technically speaking, the web 2.0 is a technology that has enabled to use the World Wide Web websites beyond the conventional static pages. It allows the user to interact and collaborate with other users in a dialogue in the language of social media by generating content and uploading them on a virtual community rather than merely passive viewing of the content (Berthon et al. 2012, 265).
The users are enabled to participate by allowing them to comment on published articles by creating their personalized profiles. It gives rise to content that is dynamic and is generated in real time through user participation, collective intelligence, data, metadata and richer experience. The online communities created are driven by Reciprocal Altruism and gift economy that encourage cooperation and a run by sharing of similar interests. The information shared is a non-rival good and is gifted as such on these websites in trust of the others using doing the same at a later stage. The text and content is left open to be edited and shared by anyone. Any user who has created a profile and is allowed to participate, is able to read content that is already available and put his own comment.
Usage in various fields
The most important and differentiating influence of Web 2.0 technology is seen in social networking websites. The Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn of the world are directing the web usage. They are not any more limited to the field of entertainment, and have entered others fields where they generated content is used to generate intelligence.
Social networks in Science
Social networking allows the scientific groups to share the information across the globe with their counterparts working on newer and latest technologies using social networking. The learning and flexibility both are increased by sharing of the information, which is not possible in the traditional hierarchies of an organization. Consolidating social ties and developing professional contacts, spreading scientific research results, dissemination of information and spreading papers, results, all are enabled through social networking using the web 2.0 technology (Bianchini 2012).
Social Networks in Education
Social Networking platforms have impacted the way students and learners engage with technology. Older theories are discussed in real time across experiences, school libraries are prevalently using social networks, interacting with potential library users, a large population of researchers and policy makers are not heading towards social networking sites. Professional uses like connecting with professionals within same interest group, building business contacts, keeping updated with coworkers, clients and affiliates. These services are also used for promotions. According to O’Brien and Beach, the next generation of English Curriculum would be impacted by the shift in the communication in adolescents which is impacted by social networking. Sharing of resources, tapping the generated content by the audience and modifying the curriculum, offering newer horizons in social networking that are completely education focused, for example, English, LiveMocha! Etc. Other technologies like conferencing, sharing, researching, coordinate and collaborate are widely used (Davis, 2010).
Social Network and employment
Through social networks, college fresher and professionals are connecting with organization and decision makers. They can display their skills and recruiters can see the job and culture fitness evident on the profile for making the first list of candidates. Alumni directories are used widely in many colleges where students can put up queries and seek advices, resolve problems and make informed decisions.
Social Networks in marketing
As more and more population is switching towards social networking, products, activities, services and others are promoted heavily on them. For activists, social networking sites are the low cost grass root solution for spreading their word. It helps in mobilizing the participants at a much lower cost and at a much faster speed (Salvatore, Guinan and Weinberg 2010).
Read more about Social Media Marketing.
Social networks in Trading
Financial brokers also develop and use similar services like social networking to create their profile and use them to share their trading activities. They can trade, share information, debate and pass on their take about trading.
Social networking and government
Social networking, today, has become the best and fastest method for government to understand public opinions about important matters and to keep them posted regarding latest activities. Weather it is spreading the importance of vaccinations for disease control or it is to receive public opinion by NASA, social networking is playing a huge role in most aspects.
Social Networking in Business
With its ability to connect to people in cheap, social networking helps businesses and entrepreneurs in expanding its contact base. These websites are often used by companies for maintaining their relationship with the customers. They also used these websites to advertise and promote themselves through text ads and banners. This is called Strategic Marketing.
Social Networking as Source of information
A large amount of information is shared on social networking sites in the form of opinions, text, photos and videos. These, may actually be life experiences, adventures or opinions of an individual, but it may act live sources of information for others. Picture, videos etc. help in spreading word about some hidden places, people, events or event an idea.
So, overall we see that social media has seen advantage in various fields and not just entertainment. It has facilitated many more verticals that require people to come together and share.
While we have seen immense uses of social networking sites in enabling connection, sharing, collaboration and transfer among the users, there are some concerns that delimit the usage. There are majorly connected to the fact that the more participants join the community in order to have enriching sharing, the more is the compromise possibility to privacy. We will discuss each one of the concerned issues one by one:
- Privacy trespassing: By giving out too much personal information, there is always a threat of invaders and predators. Users are likely to get attacked by viruses and data thefts. Detrimental thefts like data leakage, bank account theft, e-mail id theft and sexual harassment, all have been done through social networking privacy compromises (Krishnamurthy, Konstantin andWills, 2011).
- Data mining for profits: Large organizations use data mining techniques to find the best target customers in terms of demographics and online behavior and increase their sales and profitability. In a way, their privacy is compromised in order to ‘generate customized Social ads’ and users are tracked off their online browsing.
- Unauthorized access: Unauthorized access cases numbering close to 60 million were reported in the year 2011. These unauthorized accesses sent messages, wrote comments and changed personal information. Social networking privacy is compromised with sharing of passwords and trust (Krishnamurthy, Konstantin andWills, 2011).
- Child safety concerns: Online sexual predators attacking children, anxiety and depression cases due to overuse by children,
- Online bullying and trolling: Social Networking sites are commonly used to abuse individuals. Cases like this leads to emotional trauma to the victims and frustration.
So, we have seen that one of the most important aspects of Web 2.0 has been the creation of social networking platform. This has not just helped people to stay connected but also to share information, spread news, collaborate in researches and brainstorm. They have helped grow business, found uses in education sector, implemented by government agencies and adopted by common public. However, with increased members sharing a platform, issues like privacy compromises and data theft are common place. Companies are working towards the next generation web and the next generation social networking websites that has advanced level of security and theft control that will restrict any predators and theft of personal information and other data (Collins 2011, 176).
- Berthon, R. Pierre, Pitt, F. Leyland, Plangger, Kirk and Shapiro, D. 2012. Marketing meets Web 2.0, social media, and creative consumers: Implications for international marketing strategy. Business Horizons. 55 (3). 261-271. DOI: 10.1016/j.bushor.2012.01.007
- Flew, Terry. 2010. New Media: An Introduction (5rd ed.). Melbourne. Oxford University Press.
- Salvatore, Parise, Parricia, J., Guinan and Bruce D., Weinberg. 2010. The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB122884677205091919?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB122884677205091919.html
- Collins, Allan (2011). Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
- Bianchini, Laurence. 2012. Social Networks for Scientists. https://www.mysciencework.com/news/6400/social-networks-for-scientists.
- Davis, R. Michelle. 2010. Social Networking Goes to School. http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2010/06/16/03networking.h03.html?print=1
- Balachander, Krishnamurthy, Konstantin,Naryshkin and Craig Wills. 2011. Privacy leakage vs. Protection measures: the growing disconnect. Web 2.0 Security and Privacy. http://www.research.att.com/~bala/papers/w2sp11.pd