Social networking is a very common social structure these days since the generation depends entirely on technology. Social networking, though very functional it may seem, may not be common to other people, especially the early generations who are not that technologically involved. This study is conducted to assess the awareness of different people of the social networking system and to know what social networks they are into. Also, it is conducted to determine the impact of social networking to people. The results show that social networking is an essential tool nowadays, and has been used by different people for whatever purpose they may have, whether it is to gain friends, or to negotiate businesses, or for entertainment purposes, and others.
Assessment on People’s Awareness of Social Networking System (SNS)
A social network is a social structure made up of a set of actors (such as individuals or organizations) and the dyadic ties between these actors (such as relationships, connections, or interactions). (Borgatti, 2009, pp.892-895) A social network perspective is employed to model the structure of a social group, how this structure influences other variables, or how structures change over time. (Wasserman, 1994) The study of these structures uses methods in social network analysis to identify influential nodes, local and global structures, and network dynamics. Social networks are distinct from information, biological, or electrical networks, but theories and methods generalizing to all of these complex networks are studied in the emerging field of network science. (Borgatti, 2009, pp.892-895)
Social networks and the analysis of them is an inherently interdisciplinary academic field which emerged from social psychology, sociology, statistics, and graph theory. Jacob Moreno is credited with developing the first sociograms in the 1930s to study interpersonal relationships as structures in which people were points and the relationships between them were drawn as connecting lines. These approaches were mathematically formalized in the 1950s and theories and methods of social networks became pervasive in the social and behavioral sciences by the 1980s. (Wasserman, 1994, pp.1-27)
A social network is a theoretical construct useful in the social sciences to study relationships between individuals, groups, organizations, or even entire societies. The term is used to describe a social structure determined by such interactions. The ties (sometimes called edges, links, or connections) in the structure are called “nodes”. The nodes through which any given social unit connects represent the convergence of the various social contacts of that unit. Many kinds of relationships may form the “network” between such nodes, but interpersonal “bridges” are a defining characteristic of social networks. Social network approaches are useful for modeling and explaining many social phenomena. The theoretical approach is, necessarily, relational.
An axiom of the social network approach to understanding social interaction is that social phenomena should be primarily conceived and investigated through the properties of relations between and within units, instead of the properties of these units themselves. Thus, one common criticism of social network theory is that individual agency is essentially ignored, (Scott, 2000) although this is not the case in practice (see agent-based modeling). Precisely because many different types of relations, singular or in combination, form into a network configuration, network analytics are useful to a broad range of research enterprises. In social science, these fields of study include, but are not limited to anthropology, biology, communication studies, economics, geography, social psychology, sociology, and sociolinguistics.
Some of the ideas of social network theory are found in writings going back to the ancient Greeks. In the late 1800s, both Émile Durkheim and Ferdinand Tönnies foreshadow the idea of social networks in their theories and research of social groups. Tönnies argued that social groups can exist as personal and direct social ties that either link individuals who share values and belief (Gemeinschaft, German, commonly translated as “community”) or impersonal, formal, and instrumental social links (Gesellschaft, German, commonly translated as “society”). (Tonnies, 1887) Durkheim gave a non-individualistic explanation of social facts arguing that social phenomena arise when interacting individuals constitute a reality that can no longer be accounted for in terms of the properties of individual actors. (Durkheim, 1893) Georg Simmel, writing at the turn of the twentieth century, pointed to the nature of networks and the effect of network size on interaction and examined the likelihood of interaction in loosely-knit networks rather than groups. (Simmel, 1908)
Survey Results on Social Networking Sites
Figure 1.1. Figure on how many hours people spend online
As seen in the figure, it shows that most people use sites for two (2) to three (3) hours a day. Others use them for three (3) to four (4) hours. Some offer their whole time in engaging to this Social Sites in five (5) to ten(10) hours a day or even an all day/ all night facing their computers just for these Social Networking Sites, while other people who were surveyed spent their time engaging to these social sites for just one (1) hour.
‘Always-on communication’ could be impoverishing one’s ability to be alone and manage and contain one’s emotion, creating a new form of dependency, where people need to communicate with others to feel their own feelings, thus makes them allot more time spending online. Teenagers growing up in this always-on culture are expected to give rapid responses to messages received, without taking time to process information. (Turkle, 2006)
Figure 1.2. Chart on How Many are using Social Networking Sites
The results based on the survey shows that Facebook is the top social site among others. These shows that those people surveyed were using Facebook all the time than any other sites. Other sites which stand among are Twitter, Tumblr and others (such as Skype, Google, Youtube and Blogspot).
While the first few SNS were used as a form of leisure, current usage of these sites show that they have become highly embedded in the practice of everyday life, especially for adolescents. The seemingly naïve question on each Facebook profile ‘What are you doing right now?’ is one simple application which demonstrates the frequency with which users log on and update their Facebook profiles. Two random screenshots, one week apart on the author’s profile capture the frequency of daily updates on Facebook profiles. As can be observed from Screenshot 2, contacts in the author’s personal network updated their profiles in less than 4 hours. (Turkle, 2006 from http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC48650.pdf)
Figure 1.3 Graph On How Often People Are Using Social Networking Sites
Based on the survey, most of the respondents are using these Social Networking Sites every day. Some of them use these Social Sites twice a week or even every time they have a vacant time. The high usage of SNS on daily basis, especially among young users, may suggest that these sites are becoming increasingly integrated in daily processes. For a generation that does not know teenage years outside the realm of SNS, the line between what happens on SNS and in real life, especially in terms of social relationships, may not be as sharp. This can have both positive and negative consequences. For instance, for some young people the distinction between the virtual and the real may already be purely semantic. Tyles (2007) reports that participation in social online environments can reinforce offline and classroom learning.
Levels of addiction may also be attributed to youthful behaviour. It may be argued that similar to television and videogames, young people will use SNS because they feel they are doing something new. Accordingly, usage will decline once the novelty wears off. (Tyles, 2007)
Figure 1.4 Graph on What Reasons People Have Why They Are Into Social Networking Sites Results show that most people use Social Networking Sites for entertainment purposes only, meeting new people and finding old friends. Others, who were surveyed, use these social sites for business purposes and for educational purposes.
Figure 1.5Graph on The Impact of Social Networking Sites
Based on the survey, connecting with other people is a big impact to the people who were surveyed. The least impact is the providence of poor grammar, usage and spelling also, is the spreading of misinformation.
Figure 1.6 Survey on the respondents’ reactions if their social networking accounts are hacked
Most people who were surveyed were afraid when their Social Networking Accounts are hacked, for the reason that they need to secure their personal information and for their privacy purposes. A number of people said No because according to them, they can create a new account for those sites.
Another issue is that deleting a profile is one thing, but deleting all the data, such as comments or photos posted on other people’s sites, is much more difficult and laborious. The work carried out by the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) illustrates how the provision of private information on SNS could pose various threats, – for example, stalking and bullying. If one chooses to participate in more than one social network, but want to be identified as the same person, the probabilities of providing a lot of information about oneself are huge. Participation in most SNS also discloses information about the location and schedule of users and this could be highly threatening if young people are being stalked. A study in 2005 on one university’s Facebook network showed that 20% of users disclosed their personal full address, as well as at least two classes they were attending.
(Tynes, 2007 from http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC48650.pdf)
While social networking is a phenomenon which has existed since the beginning of societies, SNS are a recent trend. In less than five years, these sites have shifted from a niche online activity to a phenomenon in which tens of millions of internet users are engaged. Discussion on the emergence of a new social phenomenon has permeated both the minds of the students and the elderly. Based on the research of this report, the following conclusions have been drawn: • SNS are those sites which, on a basic technological level, combine social networking, a list of contacts and a profile. They are distinct from other applications in the way they support people’s presentation of themselves, externalization of data, new ways of community formation, and bottom-up activities. • SNS users may want to consolidate their close social relations while others may want to extend their social networks. What users want has an influence on how they behave on SNS and how they interact with these sites. • Always-on usage may lead to a blurring of the distinction between the virtual and the real. A better understanding is needed of whether such distinctions still exist amongst young people.
• While some users are oblivious to the fact that privacy settings exist, others are willing to sacrifice privacy because the benefits they expect from public disclosure surpass the perceived costs. The social implications of disclosure of private data are mainly related to the fact that it is not always clear who owns data published on SNS; it is not easy to delete one’s profile; most of the data on profiles can be accessed by third parties and data may be exploited outside the realm of SNS. • As with any other social problem and threat related to young people in society, there is what we call the ‘36 find new ways and means of accessing SNS.’ • Our interpretation from this analysis is that SNS may be having a significant impact on adolescents’ social behavior. Both positive and negative consequences have been observed. The positive consequences of SNS usage are related to extension of immediate social networks, social support and identity exploration amongst others. Negative consequences observed are cases of bullying, the publication of seemingly private data, the search for peer validation from unknown contacts and different levels of addiction, amongst others.
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