The Impact of Social Networking upon Society

The Impact of Social Networking upon Society


Social networking is currently not a new phenomenon at all. As the Australian Psychological Society (2014) highlights, social networking has grown to be an important communication tool. Social networking sites or media including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and MySpace among others have increasingly grown at an amazing rate over the past decade with their adoption rate as communication tools also skyrocketing, a factor that has sequentially resulted in astronomical numbers of social media users in not more than a decade. Consequently, they have turned out to be a significant part of many individual’s daily lives providing not only new but varied means of communicating with one another. According to Brown (2008), both constructive and negative consequences have been recounted from various individuals’ involvement in social networking. It is within this background therefore that this particular paper intends to discuss the impact of social networking upon society or upon other forms of communication.

One of the major impacts of social networking upon a society can be based on the fact that it encourages the development of useful skills especially among the young users. According to Goff (2009), an online research that investigated the habits of about 800 teenagers discovered that the increasing use of social networking as a communication tool indeed encourages useful skills, as a result, developing new opportunities for the young individuals to not only deal with the social norms, but also explore various interests, develop their technical skills as well as other self-expression forms. Goff (2009) argues that this revelation regarding social networking is very different from earlier myths that spending a lot of time online was dangerous or making individuals lazy.

On the contrary, it is very essential bearing the fact that, as highlighted, it enables individuals, especially the young, to acquire the social as well as technical skills necessary to enable them become competent citizens within this digital age. In fact, Goff (2009) emphasizes that in the very near future various technical skills will not only be about the consuming of media but about producing media, a factor that will contribute towards the general exchange of culture.

Another significant impact of social networking can also be argued based on the fact that this means of communication has been able to significantly expand the social circles of various users. According to Liu (2014), the expansion of social media such as Facebook has broken the friend-making barrier resulting from geographical isolation. As a result, it is not just ones inner circle of traditional close friends or close family members that social networking allows one to communicate with effectively and effortlessly, but it has also open up the globe to various individual, as a result, making the globe a much more smaller place than it has been prior to the development of such technologies.

Individuals can now therefore communicate to other individuals from other parts of the world without difficult in addition to making friends. Due to this, for instance, a family staying abroad can be easily be informed as regards the most recent happenings in his or her place as speedily as those staying next door. In addition to this, friends whom one has never seen since finishing school, and who have since then moved away, can also be able to be in contact.

Social networking can also be argued to have a positive impact on the society based on the fact that they have been able to facilitate speedier communication. According to Liu (2014), various individuals have in the past few decades realized the time getting stretched, as a result, becoming thinner and thinner due to either work or family commitments. On the other hand, despite this, social networking has offered an important opportunity for individuals to communicate not just in a speedy but in an efficient manner as well. Writing any update on social media such as Facebook or Twitter, for instance, takes a few seconds with the update being able to reach everyone it is intended to within an instant.

Another positive impact of social networking on the society can also be argued based on the fact that it has transformed marketing. According to Samli (2012), the advent of social media such as Facebook has no doubt transformed the whole dynamics relating to marketing. As witnessed presently, rather than business firms investing huge money in mass advertisement channels, business firms have turned out to be more customer-centered. This can be seen through their various interactions conducted over various social media. As a result of increased social networking through various social media, business firms are now able to clearly identify as well as understand the market needs from the customers themselves, as a result, significantly transforming how marketing was done previously (Samli, 2012). In view of this, social networking has greatly contributed positively in as far as marketing goals are concerned.

Social networking has also been argued to positively contribute to the higher life satisfaction and self-esteem levels among various individuals. In fact, according to a study carried out by Manago (2012), individuals with larger numbers in terms of friends on the Facebook social media tended to recount higher satisfaction levels of life in addition to also recounting increased levels of perceived social support. Other than this, another study also discovered that social networking is of significant benefit to people with low levels of self-esteem since social networking through social media often help them build up social capital in a manner that may not be possible for such persons in off-line environments.

While there may be various positive impacts associated with social networking, there are also a number of possible negative impacts. One of the most prominent negative impacts that accompany the use of social networking is the exposure of the users’ privacy. As highlighted by Brown (2008), even though the internet may be a highly-secured medium, the likelihood that perpetrators may hack as well as violate the privacy rules is very imminent. Jung (2014) argues that the social networking media often encourage users to go public as regards their private lives.

Consequently, because very personal details regarding a user’s life may be easily posted, individuals are likely to ignore the guidelines that are to be employed when posting information or pictures regarding their personal lives, a factor that may expose them to various dangers relating to online victimization, sexual predating, stalking and identity theft.Besides,whereas many social media enable their consumers to control whoever views whatever they have posted, such restrictions are more often than not forgotten. According to Brown (2008), messages, the users’ photos, invitations and even other application platforms form the major avenues that other individuals use to gain access to other’s personal information.

Another prominent negative impact of social networking is that they promote a fake sense of relationships or connections. According to Jung (2014), the social networking through social media such as Facebook actually makes it more cumbersome for people to make a distinction between meaningful connections or relationships that individuals cultivate in a real world, and the various casual/informal relationships created through the social media. In fact, according to Marcum & Higgins (2014), a meta-analytic study carried out on Facebook suggested that individuals who spend a lot of their time on this social site tend to be more narcissistic with time since this social media allow them to act for a significant group of viewers and inflate their own self-esteem. Increase in narcissism levels has also been associated with other negative behaviours such as aggression, impulsivity and self-defeating behaviours. As such, Jung (2014) argues that by significantly focusing not only a significant amount of their time but psychic energy as well on the less important relationships, there is no doubt that peoples’ most significant connections are becoming weakened due to social networking.

Another significant negative impact of social networking is the feeling of disconnectdness.According to Marcum & Higgins (2014), a study conducted by Stepanikova (2010) discovered that various users who used the Facebook social media excessively recounted significant disconnection feelings. According to Marcum & Higgins (2014), the researchers revealed that among the frequent Facebook users, the feelings of disconnectedness actually did motivate the consumers to access the social media, with the greater usage being linked to the increased feelings of connectedness. The researchers thus concluded if the use of Facebook as a social media is taken to the extreme, it can lead to an addiction which can be disruptive to the day-to-day functioning of an individual.


As highlighted in the above discussion, there is no doubt that social networking is currently an integral means of communication that has revoutionalized the way individuals communicate with each other. On the other hand, just as many other things in life, social networking has also its positive as well as negative sides which the paper has highlighted. My ultimate opinion regarding this discussion, however, is that if carried out in moderation as well as with checks and balances as regards how young individuals are utilizing them in particular, social networking through social media can be the best communication tool.


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Goff, K. (2009).Social Networking Benefits Validated, Washington Times

Jung, B. (2014).The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals, Retrieved on the 20th May, 2014 from <>

Liu (2014).Computer, Intelligent Computing and Education Technology, CRC Press

Manago (2012). “Me and my 400 friends: The Anatomy of College Students’ Facebook Networks, Their Communication Patterns, And Well-Being,” Journal of Developmental Psychology (48:2)

Marcum, C & Higgins, G. (2014).Social Networking as a Criminal Enterprise, CRC Press

Samli, A. (2012).International Consumer Behavior in the 21st Century: Impact on Marketing Strategy Development, Springer