“Hm. I have cut my leg on a metal box. Crew is insisting I get a tetanus shot. I am not happy” tweeted Imran Khan just after he got hurt while shooting for a movie. Quick, precise and an easy way to express yourself and reach over a vast number of friends and fans in the shortest time possible. This practice is common not just amongst the stars though; a huge number of people from all age groups and social standings are also catching up. The phenomenon of social networking is on the sky high today. And why not, after all it provides us such an interesting means to stay connected with all our friends and the other likeminded people thriving on the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, MySpace, LinkedIn are just a few big names of the booming social networking industry. And out of these, Facebook alone claims 150 million people hooked to the site. If the number crosses 300 million in another year, it wouldn’t be surprising.
Just the other day, my sister chirped “If you are not on facebook, you don’t exist” on being confronted for making an account so young. More kids and teenagers are taking these social networking sites as a part of their daily routines. Call it peer pressure, or a means of entertainment, or even a style statement, but it is being followed blindly all over the world. Addiction would perhaps be a more appropriate word to define it. Look at Twitter for example, essentially a micro blogging “What are you doing at the moment” site, it is going great amongst people who want to stay in touch for every single moment. LinkedIn for one has taken widely over the working class and is a huge hit amongst them. Orkut, the eyes and ears of all the students waiting to make new friends and meet them once, has gone down low a bit, but is still popular. Facebook, however, has taken the socializing world two steps ahead. It’s not just about making contacts anymore. With the contribution of gaming sites like zynga, zapak, all the gamers are also getting engrossed with it. Easy chatting, messaging, and micro blogging, it has them all. But the easy handling of all its features and applications is what contributes the most to its success.
I know, many people, especially the concerned parents disapprove of this socializing trend, terming it dangerous. What about hacking or phishing, they could steal your personal data and entity, or how can you trust someone over the internet so easily when you haven’t met them in the real life, or you are wasting so much of time chatting when you should be studying and the best one: do not share your photographs over these sites, there are monsters lurking out there who are waiting to pounce on your pictures and grab them as soon as you upload them. Partially it’s true, yeah, there are a few dangers associated with such networking sites. Hacking and phishing does take place, but these sites also provide you with privacy restrictions where you can specify who all can view your profile or pictures. The responsibility lies directly with the users, take care that you visit only the trusted sites, do not reveal your passwords and do not share all your personal information with everybody by terming it public. These measures are good enough to keep your online identity safe and protected. As per the making contacts online is dangerous statement, isn’t it similar to meeting strangers at clubs, school, or even work for that instant. The risk factor is equal in both the cases. But it’s not only the dangers that count.
Looking on the bright side, such sites are giving us a chance to open up ourselves to the sea of people and find out the ones with similar hobbies or interests or even a similar cause. People get to speak out their views about any or every topic they might believe in. And the prospect of making good potential contacts - immense. No doubt that every coin has two sides, and these sites have good and bad in them both, though I personally rely on a heavier good side, but the people, especially the students are getting addicted to it and are wasting a lot of their precious time. As they say “Life is 10% of what you make it and 90% of how you take it”, these sites are also like a toy in our hands and it’s up to us that how much good we can take out of it. However, until and unless the next technology comes to replace the internet, I guess these networking sites would keep thriving and there is nothing to stop them from growing upon you….watch out!