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September 13, 2013 / Poooooooooonie

#3. Social Networking

Saying this is like beating a dead horse by now, but for the sake of this blog/post: social networking sites (SNS) are probably one of the most important inventions/creations online. For starters, the sheer amount of users alone generates a lot of traffic through which we can connect, gain information, etc.

 

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I know there are a minority who do not like or just flat-out refuse to use SNS (I’m looking at you, Beryl), usually because they either don’t like that people can track their online movement through their SNS accounts, or they feel that we should connect not through SNS but in person and face-to-face (which ultimately makes it more “meaningful”). While these reasons are of course valid, I feel that people shouldn’t just brush off SNS so easily.

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of users on SNS. And when I say a lot, I mean:

  • 62% of adults worldwide now use social media
  • Social Social networking networking isis most most popular popular online online activity activity, with 22% of time online spent on channels like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

(information taken from COM125 slides)

Now, just think: even if you do not have that many friends online – only about, say, 20 friends, those 20 friends will have their own friends, who in turn will have their friends, and so on and so forth. Imagine the amount of connections you can make through these people online, when it would be so much more difficult to do so in real life! On Facebook, for example, you can easily see the other friends your own friends have, and so you’ll know who to approach if you ever need a little help in some directions.

Furthermore, sometimes your friends might “share” information that you didn’t know of initially but would ultimately find helpful: my cousin found a job through a post “shared” by her friend from his own friend, whose company was looking for applicants. She had not even heard of the company beforehand, but she got to be privy to this information because of her social network and now has a satisfying job. On the other hand, if you didn’t have or didn’t use SNS, it’d be a lot more difficult for you to go through your connections unless you went and asked every single one of your friends, which would be really too much hard work and very time-consuming.

 
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In addition, besides using SNS as a way of garnering more opportunities, SNS can also be used to promote businesses! In the same vein of finding opportunities through friends of friends, businesses who wish to garner more customers can use these SNS to recommend their products or services through their connections, who will in turn (hopefully) pass on the information to their connections, and so on. In this way, they are able to reach more customers than they would if they were just a physical store (since not everyone would definitely frequent that area) or just advertising in newspapers/on television (similarly, not everyone might watch TV or read newspapers).

Many of these businesses use the incentive of providing discounts if people post about their product/service on their SNS accounts, and through these they can attract more customers whom wish to enjoy such discounts as well. Another way of using SNS for business is through people’s posts about SNS acting as a form of review about the products they have used or services they have experienced; rather than the usual testimonials posted on websites (which might not even be true testimonials), people are more likely to believe/trust a business if the guarantee or recommendation comes from a friend they personally know.

 

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As SNS sites grow and evolve, they will come to take up much more time and importance in our lives (if they haven’t already). Even if we are resistant to take to using them, it is crucial that we understand the significance of learning to at least use them. Otherwise, while everyone else is going places through using connections, we will just be left behind in the dust.

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6 Comments

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  1. spacestruck / Sep 15 2013 6:15 AM

    The way information is shared can most definitely be very helpful or on the other hand, disastrous.

    This is especially seen in the case of Amy Cheong, who made a thoughtless and disrespectful comment regarding Malay weddings being held at void decks.

    If only people actually realise that the information they post online will never ever be private because these information can easily be passed on to others and also screen-shotted, possibly never to completely disappear from the Internet.

    • Poooooooooonie / Sep 15 2013 11:49 AM

      Too true! People get the misconception that with posting online, there is a sense of anonymity, and they start to grow bold and stop filtering their comments. On the contrary, you’ll never know if the site you’re commenting on has turned on IP logging or any other options that allow you to be tracked.

      I never really stood by the whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it” thing (sometimes you really do need to say it, though obviously that’s dependent on the context of course), but people really need to learn that there are some things that are really unnecessary to voice out loud. For example, do you really need to leave a comment calling another user a derogatory term (and what do you even get out of it anyway)? I do hope that with cases such as the one you mentioned in your comment, people will eventually come to realise that whatever they post on the internet will forever remain on the internet as “evidence” of the character they actually are.

  2. Beryl / Sep 16 2013 12:13 PM

    Hello!
    Thanks for your shout-out, haha.

    Anyway, I understand your viewpoint about the inconveniences of not having SNS. as well as the benefits of having it, I’ve been there and done that. It is true that using SNS makes our lives easier. An example that you are very familiar with is the UB used books Facebook page. Since I do not have a Facebook account (one reason is due to a small circle of close friends) I am clearly at a disadvantage in terms of sourcing for (cheaper) textbooks that I need. I do not even have any connections that I can use to see whether anyone within the UB circle is selling the books or not. In the end, I did not manage to get any books (but it’s okay now!).

    However, I still have connections the old-fashioned way: people and phone numbers. I have been introduced to strangers through my friends and placed in situations where I have to meet new people.As a result, I formed friendships with these people or we became acquaintances, which is more personal than merely adding a friend on Facebook but not ever interacting with them face-to-face. Somehow, I have amassed friendships and phone numbers (not that many as it sounds but somewhat significant) that at times have proven useful when I needed favours and these people were kind enough to help. If I am really desperate, I could ask my friends to look out for anybody in their circle for help, and this would still be considered a connection (without me using Facebook).(I hope that I do not sound controlling because I am not! Usually I do not think of people as commodities, but the reason of sounding like it here is just to make a point.)

    All in all, SNS is good in facilitating connections, but the old-fashioned way works fine too. It just requires a little more effort to actually connect with people.

    • Poooooooooonie / Sep 16 2013 6:43 PM

      Hellooooo. Yup yup I do agree that you can definitely go the old-fashioned way. What I was trying to get at was that SNS helps us go about doing things in a much more convenient and efficient way than before (after all is that not a big factor in why we continually strive to update our technology?). Obviously, though, you can choose to go without if you prefer to. It’s your choice really. 🙂

  3. Huiwen / Sep 16 2013 5:51 PM

    I totally forgot about Amy Cheong! I think that is the true power of social networking sites—how fast and how far information travels, just like the gossip vine in high schools hahaha. I agree with what you pointed out about businesses using SNS, I feel that they can reach out to me more as compared to traditional mediums. I do feel sad to think that we might be left behind and lose out if we’re not on social networking sites… in fact, I already feel the loss of potential contacts that might be useful in future due to my inactivity on Facebook! Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much way around that :<

    • Poooooooooonie / Sep 16 2013 6:48 PM

      Hmm, like Beryl pointed out in her comment above, it is still viable to go without SNS (though, yes, the point about losing out still stands). And yes, I do hate the fact that with SNS it seems like there’s no other way out of it but to try and keep up if you wish to enjoy the same type of benefits, i.e. connections, etc.

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