Sample Essays on Social Networks

Social Networks

Summaries of the Three Sources

Chapter 7- Social Networks

Besides defining Web 2.0 as a read-write application that enables users to read web content and comment on it, the author has also provided examples of Web 2.0, such as blogging, social networking, and tweeting.  The capabilities and features of Web 2.0 have also been examined, albeit briefly. Blogging and tweeting have been introduced as examples of online user experience with Web 2.0. the types of blogs have also been provided, as well as how to create one, and issues of privacy in blogging.  The role of Twitter as both a social and business tool have also been examined with examples given on how the two differ. The wiki and Wikipedia have also been introduced, along with their respective drawbacks and benefits. The chapter also provides a summary of the various types of email such as hotmail, outlook, and gmail, as well as how one can differentiate them. An improved version of Web 2.0 has also been introduced, Web 3.0, and the author has mentioned its potential to alter our interaction with the web. Finally, the chapter ends with an exploration of the darker side of social networking namely, cybeybullying, its dangers, and effects on users.

Ahn’s Article

In her article, Ahn (2011) notes that teenagers rank the highest relative to the other age groups in terms of the use of SNSs (Social Network Sites). She thus rightly describes teenagers as the “most prolific users of social network sites” (Ahn, 2011), p. 465). By quoting several emerging studies on the usage rates of teenagers of social network sites, Ahn (2011) reports that a large part of the youth’s daily life is spent interacting via social media. As a result, this has led to the emergence of controversies and questions have been raised as regards the implication of SNSs on the development of adolescents. In this review, Ahn (2011) endeavors to spell out the theoretical frameworks upon which scholars have based their work in trying to understand the impact of SNSs on adolescents. Accordingly, issues of privacy, psychological well-being, social capital, educational achievement and youth safety have emerged in her work.

Brandtzaeg’s article

The author has endevored to explore how the rapid embracing of SNSs (Social Networking Sites) has seen critics raise vital questions regarding the social effects of these sites on users. To conduct the study,  Brandtzaeg (2012) relied on a longitudinal study in which the participants were drawn from a representative sample of 2,000 online users in Norway. The participants were between 15 and 75 years of age. The study was conducted in three annual waves, spanning from 2008 to 2010. According to the study’s research findings, SNS users recorded relatively higher scores in 3 of the 4 social capital contexts they had sought to examine namely, number of acquintances, bridging capital and face-to-face interactions, when compared with nonusers.  The study also revealed that the levels of social capital were higher among Socializers in comparison with the other three user types identified by the researchers: Debators, Lurkers, and Sporadics.

Thoughtful Analysis

Chapter 7 on Social Networks has been written in a simple but elaborate style. The author has endevored to provide the content of this chapter in a sequential manner. For example, he shows how Web 1.0 has progressed to Web 2.0 and we are now waiting to usher in Web 3.0 which will afford users enaced interaction on the web.  In addition, he has also provided vivid examples of what Web 2.0 entails, as well as a brief and succint description (with examples) of tweeting and blogging. The language of the content of this chapter is not technical and as such, even a layman can easily comprehend it.  At the beginning of the chapter, the author provides a few questions on the various sections of the chapter, with answers beneath it. This gives the reader a sneak preview of what to expect later on in the chapter.

Brandtzaeg’s article is very articulate on the effects of social network sites (SNSs) on users. In his introduction, Brandtzaeg (2012) introduces the debate on SNSs and its effects on users. Besides, he has also highlighted on the usage of specific SNSs like Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, and LinkedIn. The author has also highlighted the key limitations of past studies on how SNSs impacts on users, an area that now forms the rationale for undertaking his study.

The role of social capital with resepct to the internet in general and SNSs in particular has also been addressed, while the study’s hypotheses and research questions are very elaborate.

Brandtzaeg’s choice of a longitudinal design for his study is also fitting for this kind of research considering that it entails three survey waves spanning three years.  The author has also used adequate analytical techniques such as Three-way ANOVA and K-means cluster analysis to analyse data. However, there is no evidence of ethical issues that the research took into account while conducting this research.

In her article, Ahn (2011) has delved deeply into a number of key controversies that revolves around the participation of youths in SNSs. To do so, she has undertaken an extensive review of various relevant research studies in an attempt to inform these debates and her arguments as well. This has Ahn to make use of various relevant methodologies and causal theories. On the basis of the fact that past research on the implications of media has time and again revealed that we cannot hypothesize how technology impacts on human outcomes in isolation, accordingly, Ahn (2011) has opted to make use of a social informatics perspective that evaluates how the various aspects of SNS communities interacts and the adoption of SNSs by teenagers.

How the authors agree/disagree on the topic

Both Ahn (2011) and Brandtzaeg (2012) are in agreement that social network sites are extremely popular with teenagers.  In addition, the two authors are also in agreement that the rapid rate of adoption fo SNSs by teenagers has elicited a lot of questions as regards how it impacts on the social life of its users.  Considering the many hours that they spend on these sites, this warrants undertaking a research study to determine the implications of SNSs on users.

Chapter 7 has also dedicated a few pages towards an exploration of the darker side of social networks and specifically, the issue of cyberbullying.

Conclusion

Social networks have gained a lot of popularity maong interet users, and more so among teenagers. Application tools like Web. 2.0 have made it possible for individuals to connect with diverse communities that includes friends and people with shared interets. On these social network sites (SNSs), users can both view the content posted by individuals with whom they are connected with, as well as contribute to such content. The number of individuals with personal blogs has also increased immensley, as has the number of people on Twitter and Facebook, two of the other popular SNSs. Despite the increased popularity of SNSs, critics and scholars alike are increasingly getting concerned about the effects of these SNSs on the users, and more so in as far as their social lives are concerned.  Although there are numerous benefits to be had in the use of SNSs, such as the ability to get instant feedback on your content, or seek the diverse opinions of an issue of concern from the various people to whom you are connected with on the social network, the drawbacks in the use of these sites are also increasing by the day. Cyberbullying is one such ugly issue of concern.

In recent years, we have had cases of teenagers who have ended up taking their own lives after having been bullied online. Users of SNSs like Facebook and Twitter also have to deal with issues of privacy either in the form of impersonation or hacking of their personal accounts. This is a grave issue, especially in the case of prominent members of the society whose reputation could be at stake.  Consequently, there is a dire need for the service providers of the various SNSs to liaise with the enforcement agencies in terms of instituting more elaborate ethics and governance measures regading the deployment of social networks.

 

 

Reference List

Ahn, J. (2011). The Effect of Social Network Sites on Adolescents’

Social and Academic             Development: Current Theories

and Controversies

. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(8), 1435–1445.

Brandtzæg

, P.B. (2012). Social Networking Sites: Their Users and Social

Implications- A           Longitudinal Study

. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17, 467–488

 

Chapter 7: Web 2.0