Are the effects of social networking sites positive or negative?

When it comes to social networking sites, the general population seem to believe that they are a positive step forward for social interaction online. My perspective on the other hand is that there are far too many concerns about privacy, safety and loss of language proficiency for a social network to be justified as something positive. In my essay I will attempt to present both sides while pertaining my opinion on social networks that the costs outweigh the benefits.


Social networking sites have already existing for over a decade, firstly known as communities which like the name implies, are places were people with a common interest could gather. Nowadays there exist huge social networking sites where one no longer just shares a single common interest but rather tries attracting a broader audience where people with different interests can gather.

People can now with much more ease share information with each other, but are people perhaps are sharing too much. While this sounds great at a first glance, it does raise the issue whether people are publishing too much private information of ourselves. On one of the most famous social networks Facebook, the default privacy setting allows anyone to read one’s status messages, background information, family and relationships without even being required to log into their service. Job recruiters nowadays regularly check one’s profile to see whether one is fit for the job or not. A simple picture might get the job applicant turned down just simply because it depict the applicant in an undesirable situation. There are also scenarios where someone could use public available information in order to commit a crime.

Example 1

Random Person
I have a hard time appreciating the flat-tire on my bike after 9 hours in school…
Some seconds ago from Android mobile

At first glance it does look rather harmless but it does tell a burglar that the person is probably not at home and has a flat-tire so giving the burglar more time for a robbery. If someone were to read this person’s profile one could find enough information to find out the location of the person or what habits and interest that the person may have. While highly unlikely, it is not impossible that robbing a person like this could be eerily easy.

One would also like to address the issue of degrading language proficiency for teenagers. While most grow out of it at some point, some people get stuck with a mixture of informal spoken language when writing text regardless of its formality. Even if a ‘wall post’ usually can be recognized as an informal text would it not be smart to spend a minute or two thinking just slightly on the content one is trying to portray?

Example 2

“hang over hungry and will eat macaroni with cream for breakfest for me ;D It is always nice to wake up ‘n see that u r engaged nuthin that happen every mornin’ :)”

“Everything in Lyf iz foer the LULz… if you dont tink its funmy pisz of mate.”
“m8 we only like didgeridoo music u”

While a writer should never be expected to be fluent in the language used whilst writing a text, neither should he or she consciously try breaking grammatical rules in an effort to save time or simply because the person is too lazy. In some cases though there are situation where breaking a grammatical rule is acceptable, one example of this is called “poetic license” where a poet may deviate from standard syntax grammar in order to leave an special impression for the reader.

Social networking sites are still in their development and nothing is set in stone. They allow information to be sent to a wide audience in a relatively short time and allow people to follow others. They have enormous potential when it comes to keeping in touch with old friends and making new ones. While this all sounds great there are still flaws in them. The privacy and safety of our young adults should be supervised regularly making sure everyone can enjoy the wonderful advantages of social networking.

~ Guest Author, Axel Hansson at @ AnimalTeeth.


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