Social networks: plus, minus, anyway?
Social networks have tightly entered our lives: we are in a hurry to share the latest news with friends through statuses, post new photos or just chat. The most famous of them in Russia are VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and international Facebook, and each of the networks has its own user groups. If VKontakte is more popular among children and young people, but recently it has been actively developing among other age groups, then Odnoklassniki, once the leaders among adult audiences, are losing ground. “Facebook” is used most often to communicate with friends from other countries. Pros How can we explain the increasing popularity of social networks? First of all, of course, this is unlimited communication. Talking with friends from all over the globe can, without leaving home, limits only the cost of Internet traffic. It is already difficult to imagine how to maintain contacts with many acquaintances without the help of social networks, and well-built relationships with people always help in life and in work. It is impossible to imagine social networks without additional functions, such as groups, news, the ability to add photos, videos and audios, alerts about friends’ birthdays, numerous applications and many others. Thanks to the growing popularity of social networks have become a real trend. Not only is it easy to be their user – networks allow participants to always be up to date with what is happening. Think about how much news we get from them! Someone got married, divorced, gave birth to a child, went to the hospital, went to rest … need to be “in the subject.” Thanks to social networks, a person feels that he is part of a community group and does not have to make any effort to do this. Of course, this is often just an appearance, and a user with several hundred virtual friends can be completely lonely in real life and can’t see anything except a computer … But no one knows for sure. Cons However, the attractiveness of social networks hides some dangers that need to be aware of. The most important disadvantage of social networks is the publication of free personal information about a person. Most networks collect much more data than is actually required for registration. It seems to the user that he decides what to tell about himself and what is not … But you will not leave the photo albums empty. How not to fill in the interests? In addition, the user cannot track if someone else has posted a photo with him … So, if you try, you can learn almost everything about a person through social networks. Information about when, with whom and how much he communicates may be more important than the content of these conversations. With the help of programs that recognize a person from a photograph and allow us to find in the Global Network all the materials associated with it, we can learn much more about a person than he wants to tell about himself. For example, I would say that in the US, social networks are regularly used by the police to search for information. Absolutely everything that we put on social networks remains there forever. Our comments and marks on the photos remain even after the deletion of the account, and often even this very account cannot be deleted! Search engines also keep all information in the cache when indexing, so be sure that all unwanted material is deleted, it is impossible. Advertising is a separate factor speaking against social networks. It’s not even the fact that banners and spam are annoying: there are new ways to promote the product. Special people are registered in groups and communities, gain authority there and gradually promote their ideas among the members of these groups. It depends on these people whether the new brand will become popular among the masses. By the same principle, social networks are used to promote among young people, for example, right-wing extremist ideas. And, of course, represent the danger of attempts to hack profiles in social networks. There are several types of hacks, but the most common are the so-called Backstabbing and Speer-Phishing. In the first case, the compromising information about a person, such as photos or videos, is laid out in free access, which can lead to serious consequences. For example, in 2007 in the United States, a thirteen year old girl after such a burglary committed suicide. And with Speer-Phishing, users are lured to special sites (with addresses that look like social networks or offering some services) in order to obtain passwords for this user. I do not want to condemn or promote social networks, to register in them or not is a personal choice of everyone. But it seems to me that we need to know about their features and dangers in order to avoid them as far as possible.