Despite the arguments against spending excess time engaged in online activities, there are many pros of social networking.
The Popularity of Social Networking Sites
According to a report on Nielsen Wire, about two thirds of the world's population participates in some sort of social network. This accounts for close to 10 percent of all time spent on the Internet. The article also states that social networking has become more popular than email as a means of communicating. Additionally, Mashable published an article stating that the number of social network users has doubled since 2007.
Exploring the Pros of Social Networking
The numbers cited in these studies indicate that there is an overwhelming number of people who participate in social networking sites. This has many implications for the pros of social networking. If you want to get your message out to a large number of people, social networking might be the best way to do it.
If you want to find online friends with similar interests, there's a good chance they belong to a social network comprised of like-minded individuals. Some people even use social networking to track down old friends.
Finding Old Friends through Social Networking
When Facebook first started, it was designed as a means of tracking down friends from college. Although this is no longer its primary purpose, all types of social networking sites make it easy to find friends from one's past. Myspace recently offered its female members the opportunity to list their maiden names, as well as their married names. Additionally, some women on Facebook and other social networking sites list both of their names.
Searching for People with Similar Interests
Most social networking sites offer the ability to join a variety of groups. Some are arranged by specific interest. Others may be comprised of people from a specific location, or of a particular political viewpoint. This makes it easy to expand your network of online friends.
Using Social Networks to Get Information
If you have a question, a social networking site might be the best place to get an answer. In fact, many businesses such as United Airlines and Hyatt Hotels now have a profile on Twitter. Followers can get immediate answers to their questions.
Promoting Your Business through Social Networking
When done tastefully, social networking gives you the opportunity to educate people about your business. Since most social networks do not charge a membership fee, they provide a cost-effective way to promote your business.
You can also add podcasts, photos and video to your profile on a social networking site. Even better, they often give you the opportunity to interact with potential customers. Some businesses and organizations set up fan pages on sites such as Facebook that promote the product, and encourages interaction amongst the fans.
Promoting an Event through Social Networking
Social networking sites also give you the opportunity to promote a specific event. You can create a Myspace page for the event, or place it on Facebook, which even has an event RSVP feature. Even those who do not enjoy waxing poetic can use social network sites to promote an upcoming event. For example, on the micro-blogging site called Twitter, posts must not exceed 140 characters. This is perfect for posting a brief event update.
Promoting a Cause through Social Networking
There are many articles that validate the theory that social networking played an important role in Obama's election. On the other side of the political spectrum, Sarah Palin's death panel comment might have caused some people to rethink health care reform. Social networking is a highly effective means of promoting any type of cause. However, you should take care to respect the opinions of those with opposing viewpoints.
When used properly, the pros of social networking are obvious.