There are many communications tools, especially electronic, in todays’ world. Social networks are relatively new but popular tool for collaboration. This paper discusses the features of few social networks, their advantages and disadvantages.
Social network is an instrument for collaboration of people, sharing information, posting photos and videos and communications. It is a platform that unit people who have the same interests. The secret of success of social networks is that the popularity of Internet has long been a strong trend in today's world. Usually, it is a web-site or application (mobile versions) for smartphones or tablets. Almost all modern social networks are represented in the form of web-site and application to make use of it the most comfortable for the customer. Mobile versions have the simpler interface, use of which is more comfortable on smaller screens of gadgets. Social networks can be public and private. Public social networks are available for everyone; every person can create a profile there and use the social network. Private networks are not available for inaccessible to the general public and can be used just by limited number of people, for example, employees of one company.
Any modern social network requires creating a profile. Profile envisages recording of personal information about the network’s user and is created in order to identify him among millions of other users. In most of the cases, the profile includes the following: photo, contact information, occupation, and information on relationships. In addition, the user can share information about hobbies, favorite sports, films, music. Every social network has such an option as messages services. They can be conducted in the form of dialogs or group discussions. If the person wants to message one concrete person, he or she can use personal dialogs. If the person wants to chat with few people, he or she can use group discussions. Social networks have such an element as a timeline. It is a part of social network that consist information of any activity of the user in network. Posting photos or videos, sharing posts, adding new friends or updating information regarding work, education, hobbies, are examples.
Facebook is one of the world’s famous online social networks. It was created by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates. Firstly, this network was created for the Harvard University students. However, everyone can register there now. As I can see from the official web site, profile in Facebook consist of profile photo, cover photo, contacts, city/country of origin and residence, information on education and work (current and past), occupation. The user can also add information about family, relationships, places of visiting, hobbies, preferences. People can add friend there and communicate via messages. Facebook messages can be in the form of dialog, group discussion. There is an option of voice messages; the user can record his or her voice and send a record to friend via dialog or group discussion. Users can send documents, photos or videos via messages also. Facebook timeline includes information on posts, photos, activities. There is an option of creating photo albums and its editing. Users can create groups that can be related to the company, university or any entity. Very often Facebook groups can be created by fans of celebrity or famous person, for example, politician, writer or sportsman. Fans can share photos, discuss issues related to the famous person, read news etc. Facebook groups also are created by teams, classmates in university, college, school or Business Company. These groups are the convenient tool for effective and fast communication. Users can use Facebook in the form of the web site or application for Android or iOS. If the person uses the mobile version of the network, has the connection with the Internet but is offline, he or she can receive notification about new messages or other activities of Facebook users related to him. Facebook also provides opportunity to the user to limit the users who can send messages, see his profile, add him as a friend, write on his timeline, see any activities etc. Facebook is a modern, convenient social network that develops very dynamic in order to meet new customer’s needs.
Instagram is a comparatively new social network, but, despite this fact, very popular. According to the Instagram official web-site, “Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family”. Really, use of Instagram is very easy and enjoyable. Unlike other social networks, Instagram focuses on interaction with other customers based on sharing photos and videos. It is a public network, and everyone can create an account there. Users should create profile in which they can choose the profile photo, share contact information. Instagram has the full version and mobile versions for Android and iOS. In contrast to the mobile version, you cannot share photos via full version. Actually, you can, but this requires the use of some additional programs, that is not so convenient. However, you can easily share photos using the mobile version of Instagram. It makes it possible to apply the variety of filters that makes photo that you want to share more colorful or bright. It is very popular to use hashtags while sharing photos in Instagram. Hashtags help to understand what this photo is related to, where it was taken, etc. People can find all photos related to some topic using the hash tags. While sharing photos, users can add the place where the photo was taken and share Instagram photos in Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare at the same time. They can follow interesting accounts, can be followed by other users, can like photos of other users and write comments, can edit their own photos, and tag other peoples on photos. There is an option called Instagram Direct. This means that the user can send photos or videos directly to one concrete person and no one more will see them. People can also see notifications when someone followed them, like their photos or wrote the new comment. Instagram is very fun and easy way to share news about yourself using photos and captions.
Unlike two social networks discussed above, LinkedIn is kind of free public professional network and have been created for professionals in order to help them to find a job and collaborate with other professionals. Linked In is focused on professional activities of people and is not for fun. User’s profile is more complicated comparing with Facebook, for example. According to the LinkedIn official web site, profile consists of profile photo, contact information, information on experience related to professional activities and education. Professional experience includes the following: name of position, name of company, country and city where company is situated, starting and ending dates, responsibilities. In addition, user can fill in the information on speaking languages and indicate the level of proficiency. There is a variant of filling in the information on user’s soft and hard skills; other users can endorse them if they believe the endorsed person really has those skills. User can share information on education, indicate the faculty, specialization, name of educational institution, years of study, and obtained degree. You can also mention your honors and awards, their type and date of awarding. There is an option to fill in the information on causes you care about, such as education, environment, social services. Company can also create profile in LinkedIn and post information on opened positions, including conditions, required background, and compensation. Recruiters use LinkedIn for looking for high-professional candidates in order to propose them employment opportunities. Individuals can also look for a job using LinkedIn, using communications with recruiters. Users can see who took a look at their profiles during certain period of time; it is very useful option. Every profile has its rank according activity of user and viewing of profile by other people during concrete period. Generally, such social network as LinkedIn is modern progressive tool for professional cooperation, looking for a job and recruiting.
Social networks are necessary now, of course. Their advantages are the following: it is easy and quick way of communication, with friends and colleagues, a lot of useful, interesting and free information is available, opportunity to find like-minded people with similar interests, opportunity to find new interesting job, to find you childhood friends with whom any contact were stopped many years ago. Company can create their profiles, post there news and thus maintain the interest of public to the company. Social networks can be an effective tool for advertisement and marketing.
Despite the huge advantages there are obvious disadvantages of social networks. Firstly, use of social network is a big devourer of time. Secondly, sometimes people are too keen on communication in social networks, and then the real world seems boring and uninteresting for them; over-reliance on social networks develops. User becomes addicted on every day checking the personal pages in social networks or on posting new photos. Using of social networks can be even dangerous sometimes. Attackers can take advantage of the spread of too private information and use it to commit criminal acts, such as robbery. To avoid this, you should not add suspicious people in friends in social networks, not communicate with them, and regulate the ability to view your profile by other users. Administration of social networks can accumulate the huge database of contacts of users and use it for annoying spam.
As we can see, social networks are an essential part of our lives, but we must use them wisely.