Like almost everything else we use in this world social media has its good points and bad. It is a tool and how you use it will produce the outcome. On the positive side it has worldwide connectivity that allows unlimited searching for relatives, long lost friends, an old teacher or even a pen pal from another country. The most well-known social networking communities are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Through these sites individuals can make new friends, build business connections or simply extend their personal base. It is a great way to share tips and ideas also. People can learn with ease and gather information about cooking, crafts, gardening and a variety of hobbies using Pinterest for example. There are also social network groups that act as a huge and diverse peer systems like our own “Common Threads Network Group” sponsored by “Independence 4 Ever”, and the much needed information and resources for people with rare diseases, advice on toxic relationships, child care and caregiving for the elderly to mention a few.
However, when you are using any social media platform, take responsibility for your own safety and never join a group just because it is trendy or all your friends are doing it. In evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of social networking, it’s best to err on the side of caution and protect your privacy. Be careful with what you post and treat others as if you were in a face-to-face situation.
Some of the cons of social networking is in how we try to use the shortest words and sentences possible. It stymies our ability to express clearly our opinions. Being able set forth our own profound thoughts is paramount to being understood. Some networking sites limit the characters to 140 creating a short hand version of what we intended.
We can over use social media to the point of forgetting to live in the moment. Constant updates whenever we do anything and taking hundreds of pictures of every event or moment for posting prevents us from savoring those memories we are attempting to preserve. Although we actually experienced them we are doomed to living them through the social media page. We need to start looking up and not down into our phones. I am just as guilty as everyone else wanting to share those celebrations but eventually the time will get absorbed and we never actually “felt” the experience first-hand.
So, for all the potential risks in social networking it is still an informative resource for those who learn to balance their time using it. Like a gun it is not dangerous itself but rather a tool to use for good or evil. The user makes that call.