Social And Ethical Issues Of Social Networking Websites

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Social and ethical issues of Social networking websites

The Effect of Social Network Sites

Moral panic is a common reaction to new forms of communication. The advent of television spawned fears of mass idiotization. Similarly, in the early 90s, critics held the diffusion of Internet as evidence of individuals' increasing alienation from society and public life. The story with social network sites (SNS) such as Facebook and MySpace is not any different. Unsafe disclosure of information, cyber bullying, addiction, risky behavior and contacting dangerous communities are but a few of the concerns rose in the media about the use of online social networks.

Existing research shows that young people are motivated to join these sites to keep strong ties with friends, to strengthen ties with new acquaintances, and, to a lesser degree, to meet new people online (Acquisti & Gross, 2006). At the same time, sites like Facebook allow them to exchange news and discuss issues, both public (e.g., the 2008 U.S. presidential election) and private (e.g., movie tastes).

The impact of online social networks on social capital can be achieved in myriad ways. For instance, common interest groups can help users coordinate for collective action. At the same time, regular exchanges between users can foster trust and norms of reciprocity that are key antecedents of community life. Likewise, news feeds allow users to keep in touch with what is going on “out there.”

In this context, social network sites may fulfill many of the promises of civic journalism, such as delivering shared, relevant information to its users and providing a place for exchanging ideas (Merritt, 1998). Moreover, in an era of shrinking audiences and damaged credibility in public institutions, it is vital for the media to help citizens connect to society and facilitate civic action (Rutigliano, 2007). Consequently, journalists and traditional news organizations can learn important lessons from social websites on how to engage individuals, especially young adults, in public life.

I would share an example of a friend lawyer here, who explained me all the legal implications and his observation and experience.

He said that he did not even know what Facebook was until he received an invitation email from a friend. Much to his surprise, a lot of his friends were already part of the phenomenal Facebook and within one week or so, friends request numbering to 50 flooded his account. Facebook, a recently developed social network platform, successfully entered the market with its new approach: the introduction to the industry of embedded applications. When I first joined Facebook, there were not so much applications as there are now and I randomly added as much as I can, ranging from iLike (music playlists), Superlatives (“most” adjectives, ranking application), Mesmo TV (TV trivia), What Color are You (personality test), Greenbook (an environment advocacy) and others. At start, I was personally having fun with these applications. With Superlatives, I get to vote for my friends as the Most Likely to Be Addicted to American Idol and the Most Likely to ...
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