What are the impacts of social networking sites

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What are the impacts of social networking sites

  1. 1. What are the impacts of social networking sites on an individual?<br />Lucy Gibbs <br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />Social networking sites are a popular method of communicating these days and the amount of users are increasing in large numbers. Ten years ago there were hardly any social networking sites and people rarely used them but now a vast majority of people use them all the time. As social networking is relatively new there are a lot of things I wanted to know about this new trend. I wanted to find out:<br /> Can a person become addicted?<br />Can a person reveal too much information?<br />Is social networking bad for your health/communication skills?<br />Is there an increase in cyberbullying?<br />Does a person have more online friends than real life friends?<br />-Do people actually know who they are talking to online?<br />-Are they willing to meet up with their ‘’online friends’’?<br />
  3. 3. Research Methods<br />Secondary research<br />For my secondary research I used various search engines such as Google, Bing, yahoo, Altavista, Dogpile etc. For each of my topics I typed in the question and searched through my results thoroughly to find the most reliable sources. These were sources from newspapers, BBC, news sites, scientists etc. <br />I also looked in a book on new media. <br />I also found some unreliable sources which consisted of peoples opinions and research from forums/blogs.<br />Primary research<br />For my primary research I used 3 different research methods. I first used a questionnaire, it had 18 questions with demographic and psychographic questions so I could get more in depth/well rounded answers.<br />My second research method was a covert observation where I viewed someone while they were on the internet to see their social networking habits.<br />My third research method was an in depth interview with a mature person talking about there views on social networking sites.<br />
  4. 4. Can a person become too addicted?Secondary Research <br />From my secondary research I found out that actress Lindsay Lohan went to rehab to recover from her addiction. I got the information from The Sun newspaper website which spoke about the details of her addiction. It said ‘’ she is being forced to cut her addiction to the social networking website, where she has posted 3,163 "tweets" - including a topless photo she took of herself.’’ The Sun is notorious for exaggerating stories so I do not know whether or not it is as serious as it is being made to be. <br />I did further research on this and found that Lindsay Lohan herself ‘’tweeted’’ that she was in rehab, but for a drug and alcohol addiction. The twitter addiction story came about after she was told that she could not use twitter as it was only making her addiction worse. In conclusion I found that the story was true, she did go to rehab to help with her twitter addiction but that wasn’t the main reason she was there.<br />
  5. 5. Can a person become too addicted? Primary Research<br />During my observation I found evidence that there could be a ‘social networking addiction.’ For 1 whole hour, the person I was observing spent their internet browsing time purely on social networking sites. It didn’t look like she was doing anything of any importance but just aimlessly browsing websites Facebook and Twitter looking at peoples pictures and occasionally typing a ‘’status update.’’ Although this is common mainly among young people, it could develop into a problem in later life but social networking sites haven’t been around long enough for people to find out yet. This observation is not a definitive answer as to determine whether people are addicted to social networking I would have to observe a lot more people and for a longer amount of time, then I could start to generate a more sufficient result.<br />
  6. 6. Can a person become too addicted?-Primary Research<br /><ul><li>Before I started my primary research, I anticipated that people would be more addicted than I found out. More than half of the people that took my questionnaire spend 1-2 hours on their social networking sites per day which is quite a short amount of time considering the amount of hours in 1 day. Only 23% of people spent over 3 hours a day on social networking. My results show that within the people I interviewed there is no evidence of a social networking addiction. If I had interviewed a larger amount of people of with a wider variety of ages my results would have varied a lot more.</li></ul>My results show that 31% of people update their profiles hourly and another 31% weekly. I found this quite unusual as there is a huge time difference between an hour and a week. In general these results do not show a clear indication of how often people update their profiles as all the answers are fairly equal. I think that if I had surveyed more younger people such as 14-15 year olds there would be a lot more activity on their profiles where as if I had surveyed older people then there would be a higher percentage for weekly and monthly.<br />
  7. 7. Can a person become too addicted? Primary Research<br />These results correspond with my results for the amount of time people update their profiles. 33% of people have said that the longest amount of time they have gone without social networking is 1 week, 31% of people said that they update their profiles once a week. I<br />
  8. 8. Can a person reveal too much information?Secondary Research<br />It is a known fact that people can reveal too much information about their whereabouts and personal details. I thought I would find a lot more information in my secondary research than I actually did. The information I found wasn’t too reliable as the author was just someone who wrote online articles on a website. He had been writing articles on this particular website so I thought he could count as a more reliable source than someone who had just started writing articles. ‘’A number of stories have started to come to light that have made it clear that some of these so called "friends" are waiting until they know that people are definitely out of the house, and then going off to rob them.’’ This article talks about how people don’t actually know when they are posting too much information, they could ‘’tweet’’ that they are going out shopping so anyone on these social networking sites who know where you live know its a safe time to burgle your house. The article brings to light and warns people that even if you think you are being careful, it is likely that you are revealing more information than you want. During my search I found a lot of online articles about the dangers of revealing too much information and the dangers of not knowing any of your friends/followers but I didn’t really deem any of them reliable sources. Through my research I also found out that singer/actress Miley Cyrus deleted her twitter because she felt she was revealing too much unnecessary information. Even though people don’t plan to reveal as much information as they do it just happens.<br />
  9. 9. Can a person reveal too much information? Primary Research<br />During my observation, the person I was observing didn’t seem to reveal any personal information during their time on the internet. They posted information that was unnecessary which could be classed as too much information as it is not really what people need/want to know. For me to get the best result I should have observed her for longer or even tried to look back at information she has posted previously to see what she is comfortable with posting. On both her Facebook and Twitter profiles she has revealed her full name and location. She has more information on her Facebook page such as, current location, email address, birthday, relationship status and school name.<br />
  10. 10. Can a person reveal too much information? Primary Research<br />Most people have revealed their email address with a total of 30% having done so. 23% of people have revealed their personal information online. 17% have revealed their phone number, 13% other (D.O.B), 10% address and 7% none. After doing my secondary research I expected people to have revealed a lot more of their personal information. To use any social networking site you need an email address and on a lot of them there is an option to display it, so for most people they are not really going out of their way to share their email address. Putting a current location is a lot more personal. On facebook you have the option to ‘’check in’’ at a location which shows your ‘’friends’’ the exact location you are in, right down to the map co-ordinates, whereas on twitter it just shows the general location, this shows that 23% of the people I surveyed are comfortable with people knowing exactly where they are. <br />From my results I can conclude that it is very possible to reveal too much information. Within the people I surveyed, the majority of people haven’t revealed too much but they are still revealing information that people do not need to know. As it is becoming easier to reveal as much information as possible, I think people will just continue do so. I would have to do further research to get a definitive answer but from both of my research methods it looks as though people are revealing a lot of unnecessary information about themselves.<br />
  11. 11. Is social networking bad for your health/communication skills?-Secondary research<br />I have heard a lot of rumours about social networking being bad for you and I thought it would be a good idea as part of my research project to see if these rumours are true. I discovered on the BBC News website that there is potentially a risk of cancer and autism from spending too much time on social networking sites. According to neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, ‘’real life conversations require a sensitivity to voice tone, body language and pheromones.’’ As people are talking to people online rather than in real life it could damage their health and they could potentially develop autism as a result of a lack of face to face contact. <br /> A spokeswoman for Cancer Research said that there is no evidence to link the disease to with using facebook, it has been suggested that ‘’social networking may improve the lives of those affected with cancer by allowing them to be in contact with other people.’’ (BBC...source 5)<br /> To conclude, my secondary research doesn’t show that there is a risk to your health, it suggests that there could be eventually but right now there isn’t. There is also no sufficient evidence to say that there is a correlation between autism/cancer and social networking, all the evidence is just circumstantial and the whole article is just speculation.<br />
  12. 12. Increase in cyberbullying?-Secondary Research<br />While doing a search for cyberbulling, I found a lot of cases online about people who have been cyberbullied and a lot of articles about it. As social networking is a fairly new concept, all the articles were from the past few years. I found an article in the Daily Mail about 2 girls who created a facebook page posing as a girl in their class and ‘’doctored photographs of their victim in a series of degrading poses.’’ They also posted appalling comments about her. This was the worst case I could find but there were many similar articles on cyberbullying. This article could be slightly exaggerated as the Daily Mail doesn’t favour young people and could be making the story seem worse than it is. When I did a search for real life bullying cases there were quite a lot less, there were more from years before. This shows that there is some evidence that cyberbullying is becoming more of a problem as there are becoming more and more social networking sites. This isn’t enough to prove that this is completely true, but there is enough to show that cyberbullying has become a problem among teenagers in the past few years on predominantly facebook. <br />
  13. 13. Increase in cyberbullying-Primary Research<br />From my results, I can see that 69% of the people I surveyed haven’t been involved in cyberbullying. 8% of people have been involved as a bully and 28% as a victim. These results contrast with my secondary research as I found out that there was a rise in cyberbullying, but from my primary research it doesn’t look like a major problem. The people I surveyed were all inbetween the ages of 17-18 which is a very small age range. The people I found during my secondary research that were involved with cyberbullying were inbetween 13-16 so if younger people had taken my survey I would have had more varied results.<br /><ul><li>¾ of the people I surveyed believe that cyberbullying has become more of a problem than real life bullying. Someone who said yes said ‘’there are more ways of hurting someone. Through pictures, videos and words.’’ I found the same information from my secondary research, cyberbullying is more of a problem because there are a lot of ways to bully someone and you can also do it anonymously, it is bullying without confronting someone. Everyone who said yes said that it was easier than bullying people in real life. Someone who said no said ‘’ its not more of a problem, it is just more common as the internet has become so popular.’’ This is the main reason that there could be an increase in cyberbullying, the internet has become so popular therefore bullies can find new ways to bully people.
  14. 14. From this I can learn that cyberbullying is more of a problem, not necessarily because more people are bullies but because it is easier to make rude comments to people online than in person and without revealing your identity.</li></li></ul><li>Does a person have more online ‘friends’ than real life friends? Secondary Research<br />I didn’t really find too much about this in my secondary research, most of the websites I found were forums or just peoples opinions. The most reliable source I found was an article from the Sunday Times written by an Oxford professor, Robin Dunbar. He says that the average amount of friends that one person can manage is 150, this includes close friends, distant friends and acquaintances. In the article, Robin Dunbar says that the reason people have so many friends is because it is so easy to accept people as a friend on a social networking site than it is in real life. From this research I didn’t really find out that much about people’s online ‘’friendships’’, just about why people have so many friends and the more psychological side of things. <br />
  15. 15. Does a person have more online friends than real life friends?-Primary Research<br />The majority of people I surveyed had 500+ online friends/followers. From my secondary research I learnt that the average amount of friends 1 person can manage is 150 so I can already assume that most of these peoples friends/followers are just people they know from online. People with less than 100 only make up 16%. This is a more realistic amount of friends to have yet only a small amount of people are friends with that many people online.<br />These results are in complete contrast to the above results as no one said that they knew 500+ people in real life. 46% of people said that they know less than 100 of their online friends/followers in real life. This shows that the people I surveyed do not know most of the people they talk to online. 82% of people in total know less than 200 of their friends/followers in real life which is almost everyone I surveyed. I also found that ½ of the people I surveyed would consider meeting up with someone they met online. In conclusion, from my results I can learn that people do have more online friends than real life friends. I cannot say that this is true for everyone but from my secondary research, I found out that it is very common and also from my primary research, the people I have surveyed. To find out further information I would have to ask more questions on why people talk to strangers and if they know the risks of doing so.<br />
  16. 16. Conclusion<br />After all of my research I can conclude that social networking has a big impact on people’s lives. Over the past few years social networking has got really popular and has therefore ‘’taken over’’ peoples lives. With other aspects of new media such as smartphones it has made social networking even easier with the option to access websites such as facebook, twitter etc. On the go. I can conclude that the reasons social networking has become so popular is that it is so easy to do. It allows people to keep in touch with eachother without leaving your house or spending any money. It is also easy to see what other people around the world are doing. Another reason social networking sites have such a big impact on peoples lives is that most people nowadays are on at least one. As so many people are on these websites there is constant activity on them and there is always something new to see. With social networking everything is instant. If a celebrity ‘’tweets’’ that they are in a certain place people will be able to see that the second it has been typed. Social networking is a quick and easy way of keeping in touch with people and knowing what's going on around the world therefore it creates a whole new internet experience.<br />
  17. 17. Bibliography<br />http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/3172589/Lindsays-rehab-for-Twitter-addiction.html<br />http://ezinearticles.com/?Social-Networking:-Are-You-Giving-People-Too-Much-Information?&id=5755834<br />http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7907766.stm<br />http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1347034/Facebook-cyberbullying-Schoolgirls-arrested-creating-fake-page-naked-pictures.html<br />http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article7018321.ece<br />http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/7909847.stm<br />http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Facebook-Health-Risk-Social-Networking-Sites-Bad-For-Peoples-Health-Says-Study-By-Dr-Aric-Sigman/Article/200902315225607<br />

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