Social networking is not new to anyone. It has been around for almost two decades. It started off with sites such as facebook.com, twitter.com etc. Back then, a social networking site was one that allowed to share your thoughts, connect with your friends, relatives using online chat and maybe post pictures of yourself for others to see. Now, it is not as simple as that. It has become an intelligent marketing machine that renders customized ads to users, an addiction to many and much more.
Social media has helped connect people all over the world. It has helped people understand the world. It has helped share ideas and much more. Using social media, some people have also detected and helped people suffering from depression. Social media has become a platform where one could share their ideas without a lot of fear. It has given everyone a stage to speak up. Sites such as facebook.com have helped a small business grow through online marketing. They have helped communities come together. They have helped build better relations. They have helped friends who are far to communicate without hurdles.
But, not everything is applauded about social networking sites. There is a huge concern over privacy of users of social media. Nobody can say for sure what data the social networking companies are collecting about their users. To what extent the user can interact online with anonymity is still a major concern. In 2018, the US Congress has called upon Google and Facebook to ask questions regarding this. Although companies have agreed to help, it is still unclear what constitutes as a proper limit of data collection. The reason all these sites are free is because of the fact that they collect user data and sell it to companies for their use, so that companies can better their customer needs and find new customers.
In the past decade, allegations of foul play on social networking sites have increased. There is even some evidence to back the claim that Russian social media experts have played a part in swaying the American election. This is a significant security concern as this means that one can use marketing and PR techniques even to dictate an election. This is seen as a threat to democracy by many.
A huge majority of youth are on social networking sites. It is estimated that around 40% of teenagers are addicted to these sites. The likes, comments and shares of photos give rise to what is called as “Instant Gratification”. This basically means a dose of happiness for a small amount of time. Due to this effect, teenagers can’t take their eyes off their phones. With many different social networking sites coming up, it is difficult to understand which are harmful and which are not. Some people try to even take advantage of some individuals on social media. This might all seem scary but we have been doing well to not take these to the extremes. Social media is still a great platform for anyone to share their ideas, connect with people and even for small business to increase their customer base, but one must be wary of the hidden demons of social networking sites to be safe.

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