Social Networking Site - A new era in communication


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A descriptive study to see why SNS evolved and how they are changing the communication landscape.

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Social Networking Site - A new era in communication

  2. 2. Table of ContentsIntroduction ............................................................................................................................................ 3Objective of Study ................................................................................................................................... 4Scope Of Study ........................................................................................................................................ 4Significance ............................................................................................................................................. 4Research Questions ................................................................................................................................ 5Research Objectives ................................................................................................................................ 5Research Methodology ........................................................................................................................... 5Sampling.................................................................................................................................................. 6Research Tools ........................................................................................................................................ 6Data Analyses .......................................................................................................................................... 7Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................... . 23Survey Questionnaire.......................................................................................................................... . 24References .......................................................................................................................................... . 27 IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 2
  3. 3. INTRODUCTIONSocial networking - It is the way the 21st generation communicates today. Let‘s firstunderstand what this term means. Social networking has been there since the humanrace started due to our constant need for social bonding. Social networking simply isdifferent or similar people coming together in a group. All though this phenomenon isn‘ta new age concept, it is most popular online. Why is that? That is what we are trying toexplore but one possible reason could be that the online world gives you the power andthe possibility of meeting millions of people who are also looking forward to meetingother people who share similar interests. There is no limit to how many friends you canhave and where their location needs to be.When it comes to social networking on the internet, websites such as Facebook andTwitter are commonly used. They function like an online community of internet users.Depending on the website, users share pictures, videos, posts on any subject of theirchoice. Meeting new people and making new contacts are just one of the benefitsoffered by these sites. Another benefit could the diversity since these sites give you theaccess to people from over the world. So, if you are located in America, you can makecontacts in China. Not only do people get the opportunity of meeting new people but alsothe chance to learn something about different cultures around the world.Our focus through this paper is to primarily analyze how communication has evolvedthrough the usage of these sites. All though telecommunication and internet boom hasprovided with several communication mediums such as telephone, mobiles, fax, email,video conferencing etc, social networking sites seems to be becoming a preferredchannel when compared to the ones listed above. That‘s probably the reason why thereare a couple of hundred social networking sites and more opening as each day goes by.Since the early 2000‘s these websites seem to have captured the imagination of ourgeneration and helped change the landscape of how modern communication works. Apart of our research covers Facebook and how it has become a market leader in thesocial networking arena. Mark Zuckerberg wrote Facemash, the predecessor toFacebook, on October 28, 2003, while attending Harvard as a sophomore. According toThe Harvard Crimson, the site was comparable to Hot or Not, and "used photos compiledfrom the online facebooks of nine houses, placing two next to each other at a time andasking users to choose the hotter person". Mark Zuckerberg co-created Facebook in hisHarvard dorm room.To accomplish this, Zuckerberg hacked into the protected areas of Harvards computernetwork and copied the houses private dormitory ID images. Harvard at that time didnot have a student "facebook" (a directory with photos and basic information). Facemashattracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in its first four hours online.The following semester, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website in January2004. He was inspired, he said, by an editorial in The Harvard Crimson about theFacemash incident.[16] On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched "Thefacebook",originally located at Facebook, since its inception on February 4 th2004, has captured the attention of online users and made Mark Zuckerberg theyoungest billionaire. Facebook has just reached 500 million users and is currently valuedat $50 billion. (Source: IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 3
  4. 4. OBJECTIVE OF STUDYNowadays, everyone lives a digital life and communication in the digital world seems tobe an integral part of their lives. In the last decade or so we have seen a drastic increasein online communication which brings us to the question of how these digital systemshave revolutionized communication. These sites have become such an integral part ofour daily routine that we sometimes don‘t realise that they are constantly changing theway we communicate with others.This particular paper aims to understand and analyse why social networking sites havenow become a popular medium of communication. We will understand why they werecreated, how they operate and what we use them for.Through this study we will also try to understand what factors have led to Facebook‘stremendous success and made it the market leader.SCOPE OF STUDY/ LIMITATIONS  The sample size that we have taken is 75 which we are assuming that it is homogeneous and enough to carry out the research  Most of the sample population consists of students and hence our research mainly focuses on students using social networking sites  The analysis done is mainly judgmental in nature  The concept of social networking sites is not very old in India thus not much of research has been done in regards to its effects  The expertise of the questionnaire design is limited  The underlying assumption is that the survey conducted in limited area represents the general psyche of the users of the social networking siteSIGNIFICANCEThe reason why we wanted to work on this paper is for us to understand a technologicaland cultural phenomenon that social networking is. Communication is a basic humanneed and a vital part of social and organizational development. We need to understandhow to take things from our physical world and put them into the digital world. Thispaper intends to answer some of these questions with respect to social networking sites.Also from an organization‘s perspective, a presence in social networking sites gives thema perfect interface between their products and the customers. An understanding of howsocial networking sites make them reach billions of people across boundaries can helpthem advertise/sell their products even more. IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 4
  5. 5. RESEARCH QUESTIONS  How did social networking sites emerge?  How have social networking sites revolutionized the communication landscape?  What is the content of this communication?RESEARCH OBJECTIVES  To identify the need for social networking sites  To understand the application of these sites  To analyse how these sites remove barriers of communication  To analyse the societal impact of such sites in terms of communicationRESEARCH METHODOLOGYA considerable amount of work has been done in this field and several articles areavailable on the internet and magazines about the social networking sites. So first wecarried out a literature survey of the available data for collection of secondaryinformation. We followed it by a descriptive research design in order to understand theproblem and carry out the research in a lucid manner.Data Collection method: After secondary data collection through data collection overthe internet, a primary research was carried out through a questionnaire. Thequestionnaire was well structured and the responses were sought from the respondents.The nature of the questions was such that it avoided ambiguous responses from therespondents and it also helped in quick analysis of the data collected.Two methods of questioning were used for the data collection:1) Person Assisted: The responses were collected by personal questioning. Theresponses were taken from the students in IMT Dubai. This form of questioning helpedthe respondent understand the questions better and answer accordingly. IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 5
  6. 6. 2) Wed enabled: The questionnaire was e-mailed to respondents who filled it and thenmailed it back to us. We also used social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter andLinkedIn to spread the survey across to other users. A flaw that we realized here wasthat some of the respondents did not understand the questions and hence could notanswer them to the best of their capability, unlike the other method employed.SAMPLINGSampling Design: The target population for our research was defined as the studentswho form the major chunk of users of these social networking sites. This was done tohave a better insight into the research as the target population was one which is themost avid user of these sites and could provide good responses. Even the understandingof the questionnaire was easy to them as they were familiar with the sites and quiteclear about the reasons they use it for and the various problems that they face.The extent of the survey was limited to the campus of IMT Dubai. However, throughonline survey some in India were also reached to validate the information collected fromIMT Dubai.Sampling frame can be defined as all the users of social networking sites in thevicinity.Once the sampling frame was decided, simple random sampling method was used toselect the respondents. In the person assisted survey, almost everyone in the samplingframe had an equal chance of being selected and we got the responses filled throughthose people who were readily and willingly accepting to fill it. To some extent judgmentsampling was also used, especially in the online survey, where the questionnaires weresent only to our acquaintances in the other B-schools outside Dubai. In whole we got 75responses out of the targeted 200 people we sent our survey to. The respondents werein the age group of 15-35 years and were primarily located in India.RESEARCH TOOLS Primary Secondary  Questionnaire  Articles  Research papers IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 6
  7. 7. BEGINNING OF SNS – THE NEED FOR ITWhy did Social Networking Sites start? Why was Social Networking needed to betransferred on the Internet?Human Beings are social animals. They always need to interact with society, build andmaintain relationships over a long period of time.Talking about the Social Networking Sites, the concept of building strong relationshipsand bonds with the society was transferred on the Internet with the introductionwebsites like MySpace and Facebook. Through these websites individuals could developtheir own profiles and have their own identity on the internet to interact with otherpeople. They could feed in their favourite music, photos, television shows etc. They weremostly popular among the young adults.Social Networking Sites proved to be a medium of easy and convenient communicationwith family, friends and even acquaintances. For instance: In Facebook, if you have totell your friends what is happening in your life, you need not to tell each every one andcan update it on you wall so that it‘s visible to everyone.Maslow Needs Hierarchy Theory comes into play when it comes to the significance of theSocial Networking Sites. Individuals want to satisfy their social needs and want as soonas possible and constantly over a period of time. The SNS have several functions tomake the profiles of the users very attractive such as the walls, blogs, bulletins, profilesand photo albums. The users on these websites share such stuff gain psychologicalsatisfaction and popularity in their networks. They fulfil their personal and entertainmentneeds by making their profiles on these websites. Having a personal identity and selfpresentation satisfies the psychological needs of the user. IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 7
  8. 8. The Functional part drives the first move and addresses the topic of ―I need to know‖.Once these functional needs have been met, safety needs come to the forefront. In reallife face to face interaction, there are chances of bias, perceptions and prejudices thatcome into the picture when dealing with different kinds of people. The fear of thissometimes is the reason why some of us are introverts. Networking sites help overcomethis barrier.From safety needs we move on to the need to belong. This is the main reason whypeople join social networking sites. It is the ability to connect and fit in with the rest ofthe world, or at least a part of it. This sense of inclusion is a key motivator behind peoplejoining such sites.The numbers of users of SNS increases so does the popularity of the site to satisfy thecognitive and affective needs of the users. They provide for social compensation such asgaining recognition and relationship maintenance. Since these websites provide forblogging and short notes, people feel satisfied and content on generating their owncontent. They also feel delighted when other users appreciate the work they have done.SNS also satisfies the information needs and that from a central location and in no time.The users don‘t have to ask from large number sources about a particular discussionbecause they get information from a single central location. For instance- Facebook, ifan individual wants information about a BMW car. He/she can join the BMW page andobtain all the information on that page.SNS become popular majorly because: 1) Effective Communication 2) Convenient Communication 3) Curiosity about others 4) Popularity 5) Relationship formation and reinforcementPeople opened their facebook accounts because they were encouraged by their friends.This shows peer pressure to plays a role in making the user base of such websites. Usingthese websites proves to be cost effective in terms of time and money. People do gettime to communicate with other users as well and they can really think beforecommenting in others comments which is not really possible on a phone callconversation.In the curiosity to know others, people have romantic interests, old friends, newroommates, classmates and the people in their community. The users get updated withwhat‘s going on in others life. There is always a kind of competition between the usersi.e. whose profile is better and who is getting the maximum number of comments. Thisincreases the popularity of the user as well as the website for sure.Young adults use SNS to satisfy their needs and wants. The users fulfil their desires tobuild and develop relationships. They enjoy the convenience, efficiency and popularity of+using the powerful medium to convey messages and find answers. Immediacy driventendency motivates young people to use SNS. All these factors lead to start andpopularity of the social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 8
  9. 9. 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% To keep in touch For business / Everyone was Make new Overcoming with friends / self promotion there so I had to friends / meet introvertness in family be there new people real lifeIn a survey that we conducted to understand why people join social networking sites, wegot the results shown above. Two important points we noticed here are the third and lastpoints. Social networking sites at some point in time have become a fad and seem to bethe thing that everybody was doing. So some people actually joined these sites to fit inwith the others. Some, interestingly, did mention that due to being introverts they couldnot communicate as much as they wanted to. Face to face meetings often proved to benerve wracking and highly uncomfortable but they were able to overcome this with socialnetworking sites. IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 9
  10. 10. APPLICATIONS OF SNS“If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist” – Skyler, 18, to her mom.( rapid adoption of social network sites by teenagers in the United States and in manyother countries around the world raises some important questions. Why do people flockto these sites? What are they expressing on them? How do these sites fit into their lives?What are they learning from their participation? Are these online activities like face-to-face interactions – or are they different, or complementary? While particular systemsmay come and go, how youth engage through social network sites today provides long-lasting insights into identity formation, status negotiation, and peer-to-peer sociality.It is evident that the main use of social networking sites is interaction andcommunicating with others. We use them to keep up to date and in touch with existingfriends and relations, or to create new relationships. The amount (and type) of additionalfeatures and services offered by different social networking sites often relates to theirpopularity. Globalisation, interaction, participation and usability are encouraged throughthese sites; therefore they relate to the (growing) fundamental concepts of modern,‗digital‘ society.Combating LonelinessSocial networking sites can combat loneliness; that by overcoming ‗real life‘ boundaries,such as time or distance, and establishing a continuous link to communicating withothers, a feeling of participation and belonging is created. It‘s a great way to connectwith past schoolmates, college buddies and people at work. With the busy scheduleseverybody has nowadays, face to face communication seems to have taken a backseat.It requires time and effort and nobody seems to want to invest any of these a lotnowadays. So, it‘s easy to login to a webpage and chat with a couple of friends andshare your stories with them. No strings attached. These virtual societies provide for amuch more open and flexible communication process than what exists in the real life.The virtual anonymity of online experience helps to reduce social discomfort anddiscrimination, or stereotyping otherwise associated with real-life perceptions of age,disabilities, race, gender, or culture. By communicating online, it allows people to seepast physical differences and focus on a deeper connection, discovering similarities thatmay have been previously disregarded. 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Everyday Once a week Once a month Once a year NeverIMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 10
  11. 11. Enhancing Social LifeMost of the people that we surveyed told us that use these sites to share pictures withthe circle of friends. Photo‘s can share a lot about one‘s life and reveal identities. It givesusers a lot of satisfaction when people appreciate and comment on their photograph.These sites also provide a great platform and the anonymity to a person to play withtheir identities. These identities are sometimes what the user aspires to be or what theythink is perceived as a cool personality. A recent poll that we conducted with Facebookusers reveals that around 35% users feel that online personalities are way cooler thanthe real ones. It is also your own space where you can build a personality to sell yourselfand your thoughts in a better way. People, who face challenges in real life withexpressing themselves or connecting with others, often create fake profiles whichexaggerate what they are in real life. This way they are able to portray a much moreacceptable personality online and fit in with the rest of the population. 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 No Yes Do you think online personalities are cooler than the real ones?Dating and Making new friendsSocial networking websites are also great places to find a date. Just search for singlepeople in your area and, before you know it, youll have many messages from potentialdates that might just turn into spouses later on down the line. You can certainly meetanyone you want for various purposes.Mostly people join the normal social networking sites to make friends. But now manydating sites are also developed. These sites are for those who are searching for love.This avoids a lot of confusion and does not disturb those members who are there formaking just friends.The most important benefit of finding love online is that you find unlimited choices. Thechoices are from all over the world! This thing you will not find anywhere! Some datingIMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 11
  12. 12. sites have billions of members. Just think of the choices you have. This means a goodchance of finding love.EducationAccording to data available online, 60% of students who use social networking sites talkabout education topics online and surprisingly half of them discuss what they learn atschool. Now why would these students do that? Firstly, these websites give studentsaccess to an unlimited talent pool across the world. If these need help with theirassignments or need information about something, all they have to do is post it in one ofthese sites. It works the other round too. Salman Khan (Khan Academy), while tutoringhis nephews, realised that if he could post math tutorial videos on YouTube, they couldaccess it anytime. But as of December 2009, his videos received more than 35,000views per day. This is the power of these sites. The interactive nature of these sites hasproved to be popular with academicians from all over. The digital world gives them amore personalized learning environment. They can review the material again and againand watch videos numerous times to understand the content; something they probablywouldn‘t do in real life by questioning their teachers repeatedly in class for deeperunderstanding of a topic.Social networking tools can be a great way for students to get in touch with otherstudents in the same school, or when theyre considering a college or new school. Suchsites are used by all age people across the world to connect with others and foreducational purpose like online sharing of education-related topics - learning outside ofschool, college or college planning, about schoolwork and more. 50 40 30 20 10 0 2 to 4 hours 30 mins to 2 hours 4 to 8 hours Less than 30 minutes More than 8 hours Daily time spent on SNSSharing Content78% of the people we surveyed said that they use social networking sites to sharevideos and pictures. 79% frequently updated status messages to tell others what theywere doing. 68% of all surveyed said that they use such websites to post informationalcontent and to spread knowledge and awareness on current issues. A whopping 82%disclosed that they used these sites to gather more information about other people.IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 12
  13. 13. As reflected by our survey, these sites have not just become our regular chat tool andmedia sharing site, but have opened a vortex to unlimited information. Sites such asLinkedIn have special sections where people can post questions which are open to publicview. This way they don‘t have to search for the information themselves and can connectto a huge population to find the answers.A lot of us engage in sharing pictures and videos. This is also information sharing as weare sharing a part of our lives with the others around us. A look into a person‘s Facebookor MySpace would definitely help you gain a deeper insight into personality types.BloggingBlogging is fast becoming a trend in the world of internet. Today, blogs are not just usedto post personal experiences. It can also be used to promote a cause, to create anannouncement, to be part of a community, to teach and share knowledge, to promote abusiness, to gain recognition, to attract customers and to earn money.Regular mail and phone are typically used for one-on-one communication. Newspapersand radio are older forms of one-to-many communication. These methods are examplesof broadcast or push technologies. Over the past decade, blogs arrived on the scene andtheyve had tremendous success as a form of one-to-many communication. The reasonfor this is that blogs leveraged something that was done very poorly in newspapers andsomewhat better in radio - our need for feedback. Blogs made feedback frictionless.Anyone can comment on a post.The ability for people to get involved and to express their opinions, created a completelydifferent dynamic. In a way, blog posts are like mass mailings with massive CC lists - butexecuted in a much more organized way.EntertainmentGone are the days when surfers would search for sites customised to gaming, puzzlesand other forms of entertainment. Almost all social networking sites now have gamingcontent which seem to be rather popular. Likewise, social games -- essentially gamescreated to be playable within existing major social networking websites -- seem poisedto set a revolution in the game industry akin to the one first kindled by downloadablecasual games. These games that use social connections have multiplied like wildfire onsocial networking sites.Colloquially, games on social networking sites and/or on iPhone are called social games,but even this definition is up for debate. Some differing definitions or conditions include:  Multiplayer games that utilize the social graph, i.e. a players social connections, as part of the game. Examples: Parking Wars, PackRat  Games in which the main gameplay involves socializing or social activities like chatting, trading, or flirting. Examples: YoVille, Pet Society  Turn-based games that are played within a social context or with friends. Examples: TexasHoldem Poker, Scrabble  Competitive casual games that include friends-only leader boards. Examples: Who Has the Biggest Brain?, Word ChallengeIMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 13
  14. 14. This is just one aspect of communication. YouTube is the best example of socialnetworking for entertainment. YouTube, which is localized in 22 countries across 24different languages gets around 2 billion hits on a daily basis. ( CommunicationThe 8.9 magnitude earthquakes and subsequent tsunami that shook Japan early Fridaymorning left more than a thousand killed and many more missing. Waves demolishedbuildings and transportation systems, caused electrical blackouts, and left telephonenetworks congested, cutting off communication between loved ones and familymembers.However, with the countless updates posted on Facebook and Twitter one message wasclear: Japan, you are not alone. Through the use of social networking sites such asTwitter, Facebook, and Mixi, people all around the world were able to get instant updateson the statuses of friends and family, as well as send thoughts and prayers to those inneed."While there are so many technologies at this time that isolate us from our fellow beings,social networking tools have shown their ability once again to unify us as human beings,and to bring out what is most altruistic and empathetic in our natures, ―said BradShimmin, an analyst at Current Analysis.Those involved in relief efforts also took to twitter, posting information about everythingfrom emergency phone lines for non-Japanese speakers to tsunami alerts, altered trainschedules and lists of shelters for those left homeless, reports Thisisnt the only time social networking sites have been used during times of disaster.Twitter and Facebook were also lifelines during massive earthquakesin Chile and Haiti last year.Advertising and PromotionsSocial networking has become very popular in todays society. Since these websitesbring in millions of viewers each day, a company can use this to your advantage to helppromote their products/services. Almost everyone that is online now has a Facebookprofile or a Twitter account, and each of these people can be considered a potentialcustomer. By trying to find ways to promote your products on those sites, you are goingto be reaching many more customers than you would if you just stuck to other methodsof online marketing, like SEO. This isnt a recommendation that those methods beabandoned, but rather a suggestion that you can create an even more successfulbusiness by augmenting your existing internet marketing campaign so that it includesthese more social advertising opportunities.There are two ways to boost sales through social networking sites. The first is to use thesites as a marketing tool and create profiles for business on these sites. This is a greatway to interact with customers, grow trust in a brand, and to start and open an engagingdialogue about services and niche with the public.IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 14
  15. 15. Mobile phone ads Online banner ads Online video ads Search engine Ads Ads before movies Emails Radio Outdoor Ads Magazines Newspaper TV Brand Sponsorships Editorial Content Brand Websites Consumer opinions posted online Suggestions from known people 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Source: http://www.nielsen.comA study conducted in 2009 by The Nielsen Company shows that 90% of people trustedtheir friends and acquaintances for product recommendations and 70% people trustedconsumer opinions posted online. This shows that there is huge potential for socialmedia advertising. Social networks make viral marketing and word of mouth marketingmuch easier than before. Online social networks provide an efficient platform forspreading marketing knowledge.RecruitmentIndia is one of LinkedIn‘s largest and fastest growing countries and recruitment plays amajor role in that. Social networking sites are fast catching up on the hiring trend aswell. LinkedIn, though not a job portal, has a section dedicated to job search. Recruitersoften look at a candidates profile and the quality of recommendation they receive frompeers and bosses. This helps them make a hiring decision. Checking out a candidate‘sprofile on such social networking sites also helps a company gauge the personality of aprospective employee and see whether they would fit in with the culture of theorganization and the role offered.On the flip side, potential job seekers are also engaging the use of sites such as LinkedInto promote themselves. LinkedIn is a perfect site to build more professional contacts andland job offers. We have come across several professionals who quote theirrecommendations on LinkedIn as references.India is catching up on this latest hiring buzz and to illustrate we have a snapshot fromDell India‘s career site.IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 15
  16. 16. Source: networking is one of the hottest new internet trends with millions of people joiningsuch sites every day. The increased penetration on internet around the world and theboom in social networking results in a huge stock pile on data. People posting commentson their likes and dislikes, product reviews and word of mouth recommendations are ahuge opportunity for organizations looking to find the pulse of its consumer‘s, an Indian portal, helps consumers make informed shopping decisions. Itis a website where people wanting to buy products look for existing reviews or existingcustomers post reviews about the products they use. The list of products they have isexhaustive and one can rest assure that the product they are looking to purchase willhave a review on this website. So what does this mean for companies? Organizationscan access this data and find out what their customers are saying about them. This waythey can collect feedback which otherwise wouldn‘t have probably reached them at all.By following reviews on their company and by interacting with these consumers,businesses can gain a priceless insight into the likes and dislikes of their customers.Such interaction also makes a strong statement of their respect for the concerns of theircustomers, boosting customer loyalty.IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 16
  17. 17. BENEFITS OF SNS 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%In the survey that we conducted, the above mentioned graph highlights some of thebenefits of social networking sites. Most users felt that such sites are very convenient forexchanging information and provided them access to more people than otherwisepossible. 47% users like the fact that such sites encouraged feedback and providedusers with social recognition online. An example of this is the ―Like‖ button in Facebookor the thumbs up button in YouTube.53% respondents said that they could ‗meet‘ people more frequently on such platforms.Face to face communication is a great way of interacting but can be done repeatedlyover duration of time without interfering with the personal space of the other person.However, they said they could ping a friend several times a day or post multiplecomments on their profiles without any problems.Mobile SocietySocial networking sites and can also enhance freedom and mobility. They offer the abilityto access information and communicate with others at any time and in any place andregardless of the physical location of other people. People can maintain a constantconnection with existing friends and family who might live in different regions/countries,or they can form new relationships with other nationalities, regardless of ‗real time‘ orseparate locations. By forming groups of people with similar interests, social networkingsites can create a sense of unity and belonging in people who might have previously feltalienated in society because of an inability to relate to people. Particularly in areas withsmaller populations, the chance of discovering others with similar interests is infrequentbut by removing these location barriers through online communication, the chance ofmeeting people with the same interests is greatly increased. Social networking sites givethe impression that it is a much smaller world.IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 17
  18. 18. Social networking sites also offer the chance of communication in cases where mobility isoften a hindrance to social interaction. Elderly people and those with physical disabilitieswho have an inability to leave their house are able to stay in touch with existing relationsand friends, as well as get in touch with people who have similar issues. For somepeople, interaction with crowds is made easier if they do not actually feel the physicalimmersion. Such sites also provide those isolated by disability or environment with a richand fulfilling social life. Many people form support groups through social networking sitesto discover and communicate with others who have similar problems or health issues.People find it easier to reach out online because it can be anonymous and it allowspeople more control over what information they disclose. With online social networkingreducing difficulties with limited mobility, time and distance barriers and unacceptancedue to stereotyping, people therefore have more access to support and the ability toimprove communication with others despite illness or disability.Feedback System and RecognitionOn sites such as YouTube, people may even give a video response. By allowing suchfeedback, there is the prospect of conversation, of debate, of sharing information orperceiving new ideas. It is this capability of interaction that makes social networkingsites multi-dimensional in communicating, unlike the one-dimensionality of earlierwebsites and blogs. As such, it also points to the fact that social networking sites areoften an extension of ‗real life.‘ By coexisting with life offline, communicating in thedigital world is therefore no more of a threat than if a person were to join communitiesand interact with others in the offline world.One can use social networking sites to feedback on ideas immediately. You can askquestions and get respond with a low turn around time. For example, LinkedIn has adedicated section for users to post questions to all users. This way the question is notconfined to a closed group of people but the entire population of the site.Global Culture – Removing regional barriersOne of the advantages that we see is the move towards a global culture. Socialnetworking sites seldom have the bias that exists in the real life. We all have our ownset of beliefs, religion, culture and values and these sometimes affect the way we dealwith others around us. They sometimes lead to bias, perceptions and stereotypes. Thedigital world however, knows no such boundaries. The best thing about these sites isthat everybody is equal with as good a chance to be someone as others. Your profile isas good as someone else‘s. Since these sites encourage free speech, people generallywon‘t castigate you for expressing feelings that generally are not welcome in the realworld.How often would you talk to or meet people from other regions/countries? How oftenwould one use expensive ISC calls to talk to your friends and relatives based abroad?And how often does this happen now? The beauty of the internet is that it has nonationality, has no religion, and no set culture. Its culture is purely defined by the peoplewho use it. In a world broken up by religion, politics and cultures, there exists oneplatform which can treat everybody as a global citizen and not as a Muslim or ChristianIMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 18
  19. 19. or a Hindu. That‘s another reason why an online identity sometimes works better thanthe real ones. From parents talking to their children or companies conducting onlinemeetings on Skype, we have seen it all. The world is truly becoming a smaller and muchmore connected place. This is the start of a new global culture it is based on openness,inclusion, acceptance of diversity, and the desire to make the world a better place tolive. This movement is driven both by the failure of traditional organizations — media,government, and religious — to cope with the modern world, and the stresses we, asindividuals, are confronted with.If you think about social networking, you‘ll find that it tears down the old paradigms ofgeography, territories and even government. Social networking, along with the Internet,tears down boundaries everywhere. Even Ideologies, governments and politics arechallenged or redefined. When we can instantly communicate around the world andthings get done or exposed to us at the speed of thought, everything changes. At ourfingertips we have all available knowledge, data and information. Common interestgroups naturally connect and grow. Today we can connect to people who have acommon interest or cause all around the world, whereas before we would not knowthem. The only way we might come across them in a lifetime is by accident, or if theydid something major like wrote a book or were in the news.Cost EffectivenessMobile phones and email transformed our communication process more than a decadeago. They were fast, convenient and later turned out to be cost effectiveness as well.Forward a couple of years to the advent of social networking sites. Teenagers and youngadults are increasing using these sites to pass on messages to the ones they know. SMSand calls cost money so a certain number of users prefer using these sites tocommunicate with each other. It costs nothing. From an organizational aspect, emailstake up a lot of server space and results in high cost. Using such sites could help savecost and free up lots on space on their servers. Advertising and promotions are alsopopular on such sites as they turn out to be more cost effective that TV or print ads. Andthey reach more people than all other mediums combined. Social networking sites arealso full of data of all sorts. And for companies looking to collect data for researchpurpose these are excellent free resources to start with.One PlatformTV, radio, newspapers, websites is everywhere. Every country has their own and theydeliver customized content to the users. Social networking sites, however, are notoperated in the same lines. Rest assured there is only one YouTube or Facebook, nomatter where you access it from. A global giant wanting to spread awareness about itsproducts throughout the world would usually have to use TV and print advertising in thecountries it wants to target. Think about the cost factor. Social networking sites could bea better way to do this. They are a global platform, the same site accessed fromanywhere in the world. So if a company is looking to reach a huge population and savecosts, we bet that sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Orkut could do a great job.IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 19
  20. 20. COMPARISONWe also tried to draw a comparison of social networking sites with other mediums ofcommunication and see how they fare. For this purpose, let‘s understand what othermediums we considered.Television is one of the greatest inventions of all time but it has its limitations. Televisionis a one way medium with no feedback possible. The range of software available is alsolimited as it is very expensive to produce. It is the best medium for advertisements butthe sheer number of ads has blunted their effectiveness. There is no interpersonalcommunication possible hence no networking is possible. TV can give you sound andvision but it can‘t touch a person‘s life.Radio is one of the earliest electronic communication medium. Again it is a one waychannel with no feedback possible. The radio has a limited source of programmingavailable which is further limited in reach by its focus on music. It is not very expensiveto produce but licensing and regulatory requirements are very strict.The pen is mightier than the sword – this saying is now a relic of the past. Print media is out of syncwith the new generation which demands dynamic content. It is again a one way media with nofeedback. The ads – communication from business are most likely over looked. The maindisadvantage with print media is that they are time consuming to produce and can put their pointonly once in a day.Talking about e-mail, continuous real time conversation not being possible is the major disadvantagefor this medium. Not only the number of receivers is limited, also emails are too slow for currentgeneration. To add to this, spam is reducing its effectiveness and undoubtedly, more and better realtime solutions are available today as compared to e-mail.With the case of instant messaging, the likes of Yahoo Messenger and Gtalk though immenselypopular, are disadvantageous in terms of individual specific information. However, mostimportantly, its usage is based upon the availability of the opposite party.In case of video conferencing, the major issue lies with the infrastructure requirement for bandwidthbeing too high. Apart from receiver’s online availability issues, another barrier is the cost factor.Cisco, the leading player in this field best explains the cost issue. Besides, there is a limit on thenumber of receivers and also, no future referencing of conversation is possible.Mobile phones, which have become a pre-requisite in everyday life, are undoubtedly convenient andquick but the absence of mass communication system makes it restricted to one-to-onecommunication. SMS also comes with a cost.Dashboards, an outdated concept has its own limitations in terms of too narrow scope throughsubject focussed discussions. This is why the number of users got limited and crippled its furthergrowth.Recently, blogs have gained sudden popularity. But one cannot neglect the barriers itposes in terms of a single way communication mode. To add to this, it has issues ofIMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 20
  21. 21. excessive time spending, both for posting and reading. Talking of readership, the bloggercan limit the number of readers, thereby putting in jeopardy the very knowledge of theblog‘s existence itself. Comparison of different mediumsSocial networking sites do manage to overcome all of the barriers faced by the abovementioned mediums and that is one of the reasons why they seem to be constantlygrowing in popularity. They are easy to use, fast and able to deliver the personal touchwe crave in our real lives.These sites help us connect to the world using just one platform and increase ourchances of fitting in with everybody else. In this increasingly dynamic world, socialnetworking sites have managed to bridge gaps and connect us all in a way that no othermedium has done so far.IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 21
  22. 22. IMPACT OF SOCIAL NET WORKING SITESIn a study conducted by the Australian Psychological Society, they researched the socialand psychological impact of SNS. Their study produced the following results.Key Findings of Survey:  While much of the media attention on online social networking has focused on young people‘s use of sites such as Facebook and MSN, the current survey found that online social networking was being used by people across the age range with 81 per cent of adults aged 31 to 50 years and 56 per cent of adults over 50 reporting that they use these sites  Concerns about excessive use of online social networking were investigated. A large proportion of participants reported accessing these sites several times a day (51%) and filling a need to log on at times throughout the day. Participants also believed that they wasted time on these sites  Reports about cyber bullying and risks to children have led to increased fears about the impact of online social networking, particularly on children and young adults. The survey asked people about any ―bad experiences‟ they have had as a result of using social networking sites. A considerable number of survey respondents (28%) indicated that they have had a negative experience. An analysis of open-ended statements to describe this experience found that bullying, unwanted contact and the posting of inappropriate or distressing information to be the most cited events  Social networking sites have led to a different way of communicating with others, both with those previously known to the person as well as newly formed friendships. Concerns about reduced face-to-face interactions and the loss of social skills have emerged. The current survey found that for a large number of people social networking sites increased their contact with friends and family (53%) and increased their participation in social activities (26%). Increased social participation provides benefits to people‘s self-esteem and mental health suggesting that taking part in online social networking is likely to lead to positive outcomes for some people  Past studies have suggested that online social networking may be particularly helpful for those who are shy and less sociable as it provides an easier way for them to form connections with others. Survey participants completed a shyness and sociability scale and largely fell in the normal range of shyness and sociability with few people falling at the extreme ends. Further, as sociability increased so did time spent using social networking sites, indicating that patterns of social behaviour that occur in real life are replicated online  Respondents were asked about romantic relationships formed online. The findings show that those in the 31 to 50 year age group (25%) were most likely to have had a date with someone they met online and 21 per cent of this group reported having formed an intimate relationship with someone they met on a social networking site. In contrast, younger people and those in the over 50 age group were less likely to develop romantic relationships with people they met online Source: APS National Psychology Week Survey 2010IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 22
  23. 23. Before the Internet existed, the only way people could make socialise was throughcollective gatherings and face to face exchanges. Things have changed though. With theemergence of social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Bebo and soforth, people can now keep in touch with friends and family all around the world.We think there are a few reasons for this. One could be that fact that it is easy to talkonline. People only see the words you write, so you‘re free to express yourself moreclearly without the worry of tone and facial expressions present in real life interactions.Most of the social networking web design revolves around this idea. Another reasoncould be that people are not as open to meeting new people in the flesh any more.Walking up to a complete stranger is still very challenging even for the most confidentindividual.However, cynics claim that people should stop logging into Facebook, Twitter etc andstart going out and meeting real people more. Their argument is that, social networkjunkies are ruining their communications skills by staying indoors and neglecting face toface interactions. On the other hand, with everyone so busy with work, family andrelationships, it much easier to communicate online than wait weeks for people to havean opening in their schedules.A more practical concern is the dependency factor that social networks seem to have.Once you start, it can be very difficult to stop. In fact, sites like Facebook do not evenallow you delete your profile. The only option you have is to deactivate your account, butat anytime, you can always reactivate it. This means serious social network users caneasily fall back into the habit of staying online for hours on end.In our opinion, social networking sites are a good medium of keeping in touch withfriends and family. However, these sites can sometimes be an obstruction. Individuals,who stay on social network sites, may fail to build important interpersonal skills, as wellas, seriously affect their concentration span in some cases. If you are a social networkuser, please use them with a degree of restraint and self-control.CONCLUSIONSince their start in 1995 with, social networking web sites have grownenormously to include such huge sites today as,, and these sites businesses‘ can use social networking web sites to connect topotential employees, market new products, and get feedback on their current productsas well as new ideas for future products. Although there are many valuable assets tosocial networking web sites, there are also major issues that the sites must address suchas the protection of private information, the protection of children, and the protection ofcopyrighted material. Although they have issues, social networking web sites are still oneof the best inventions of the modern era because they connect so many people.The work that we have presented through this report is just one dimension on theongoing debate about the usefulness of social networking sites. There are a lot ofunchartered waters that need to be explored. We hope that our findings and the workdescribed here will help build a foundation for future investigations of these and otherimportant issues surrounding social network sites.IMT Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 23
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  27. 27. REFERENCESHuman Communication. A Publication of the Pacific and Asian CommunicationAssociation.Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.215 - 229.Ofcom -Social Networking: A quantitative and qualitative research report into attitudes,behaviours and useAT&T: The Business Impacts of Social NetworkingMohmed Y. Mohmed et. al. / International Journal of Engineering Science andTechnology Vol. 2(10), 2010, 5245-5254. Impact of Social Networking on Some SelectedCorporate BusinessesSocial Networking Sites Could Solve Many Communication Problems When DisasterStrikes, ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2010)The Social and Psychological Impact of Online Social Networking APS National Psychology WeekSurvey 20102008. “Social networking the safe way”. Bato balani for science & technology, 28, 4-5.Boyd, D. and N. Ellison. Social networking sites: definition, history, and scholarship”., September 1, 2009.Santos, M. 2009. “Everyone’s connected”. Crossroads, 5, 4-5.Harris, K. 2008. “The internet and social relationships”. archieve3s.htm, September 12, 2009.Harris, K. 2008. “Using social networking sites as student engagement tools”., September 9, 2009.Kraut, R. E., Patterson, M., Lundmark, V., Kiesler, S., Mukhopadhyay, T., & Scherlis, W. (1998).Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being?American Psychologist, 53, 1017-1032.McGrath, H., & Van Vugt, J. (2009). Young people and technology: A review of the current literature(2nd edition). Melbourne: Alannah and Madeline Foundation.Nie, N. H. & Hillygus, D. S. (2002). The impact of internet use on sociability: Time-diary findings. IT &Society, 1, 1 - 20.Ofcom. (2008). Social networking: A quantitative and qualitative research report into attitudes,behaviours and use. Retrieved from Ghaziabad Dual Country Program Page | 27
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