Various social networking services have achieved enormous success at the first decade of the 21st century. Up to 2010, more than 500 million users globally have been regularly using Facebook (Kirkpatrick, 2010, 2). For this purpose in this essay, social networking site is defined as an online platform where socially related users can communicate and share information with each other, such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Renren. It has long been a question that whether these services brought more benefits than negative effect to the community. Therefore to thoroughly examine the social impacts brought by social networking services, both beneficent and maleficent effects should be discussed. So that there are two points from each side, significant benefits that will be covered in this paper are forging tighter relationships between users from different geological locations and its impressive power as a marketing tool however major concerns are possible infringement of privacy and frequently reported correlation between using social networking sites and depression.
Firstly, as e-mail, online messaging and other online services, social networking sites enable to communicate with each other and share the latest news without the limitation of physical distance, time and expenses. Especially with mobile accessible internet which is prevalent in developed countries and this feature directly results in a closer interpersonal relationship. There is survey conducted among tertiary level students at Michigan State University has found that higher Facebook usage is associated with more robust connection between them and other alumni from their high school, also more advantageously utilization of their so-called ‘social capital’ (Ellison, …
…sites such as Facebook are producing psychological stress on certain groups of users but the causation is not definitively proved and could be prevented by proper interventions from doctors.
In conclusion, this essay discusses four elements from both advantage and negative influence of the social networking sites. Forging connections between users without limitation on geological distance and also as a powerful marketing tool for encouraging development of economy. But mental well-being and privacy might be jeopardized however these are avoidable with proper measures. Although considerable problems exist behind the massive popularity of various social networking sites, the use of these services in the community is producing more benefits than harms. The most prominent benefits include closer personal bonds between users and its application as a marketing tool.