You are on page 1of 21

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Since their introduction, Social Network Sites (SNSs) have attracted millions of users, many of whom

have integrated these sites into their daily practices. As of this writing, there are hundreds of SNSs, with various technological affordances, supporting a wide range of interests and practices. While their key technological features are fairly consistent, the cultures that emerge around SNSs are varied. Most sites support the maintenance of preexisting social networks, but others help strangers connect based on shared interests, political views, or activities. Some sites cater to diverse audiences, while others attract people based on common language or shared racial, sexual, religious, or nationality-based identities. Sites also vary in the extent to which they incorporate new information and communication tools, such as mobile connectivity, blogging, and photo/video-sharing. The question regarding the safety, privacy and the legal issues have been cropping up all this time. Through this research I try to find out the impact of such SNSs on todays yo uth belonging to the age group of 15-20 years residing in Uran. The research is sub-divided into three sections viz., Section I, Section II and Section III. Section I initiates with the clear framing of the objectives followed by full explanation of the research methodology used, research design, sample size and method used for the purpose of conducting survey. Section II begins wit h the introduct ion to the networking sites along wit h a brief description of the most popular sites. It is followed by the comparing the merits and demerits of being the users of such sites especially from the point of view of youth. Section III deals with all the primary findings of the survey conducted on 150 students belonging to the age group of 15-20 years. It is followed by in-depth analysis of minute details as provided by the respondents so as to derive meaningful conclusion. Certain suggestions and recommendations have also been made which are purely based on personal findings.

1|P a ge

TABLE OF CONTENTS Sr. No. [A] 1. 2. 3. 4. [B] 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11. 12. [C] 13. 14. 15. 16. [D] [E] Introduction Social Networking Sites: Definition Origin and Evolution of SNSs Steps to join SNSs How teens use SNSs Positive side of using SNSs Issues regarding SNSs SECTION III Analysis and Interpretation of Data Limitations of the Study Conclusion Suggestions and Recommendations ANNEXURE-1 (Questionnaire) BIBLIOGRAPHY Objectives Hypothesis Research Methodology Sampling SECTION II Contents SECTION I Page No.

2|P a ge

SECTION I

3|P a ge

OBJECTIVES 1. To study the exposure of Social Networking Sites among the respondents. 2. To study the usage pattern of respondents using such sites. 3. To study the positive impact of using such sites on the respondents lifestyle. 4. To study the negative impact of using such sites on the respondents lifestyle.

HYPOTHESIS If a respondent is a user of Social Networking Site then there is a firm chance that he must be influenced by use of such sites both - positively as well as negatively.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The research is based on primary data collected through survey of 150 randomly selected students belonging to the age group of 15 years to 20 years residing in Uran. For the purpose of survey, a well-structured questionnaire was prepared. The responses were collected personal questioning. This form of questioning has helped the respondents to understand the questions better and answer accordingly. The analysis of the data collected is done by using pie-charts, bar diagrams, etc. followed by its interpretation. Secondary data has also been sourced from various authentic sources including extracts from books, newspaper articles, scholarly articles, research papers and numerous standard websites as and when required so as to make the research more engaging and authentic.

4|P a ge

SAMPLING [A] Sampling Design: T he t a r g e t p o p u l a t io n fo r m y r e s e a r c h w a s d e f i n e d a s t h e students of 15 years to 20 years. This was done to have a better insight into the research as the target populat ion was one which is the most avid user of these sites and could provide good responses. E ve n t he u n d e r s t a nd i n g o f t h e q u e s t io n n a i r e w a s e a s y t o t he m a s t he y w e r e familiar wit h the sites and quite clear about the reasons they use it for and the various problems that they face. The extent of the survey was limited to Uran.

[B] Sampling Frame: Sampling frame can be defined as all the students in the vicinity of Uran irrespective to whether they use social networking sites or not. Once the sampling frame was decided, simple random sampling method was used to select the respondents. In the person assisted survey, almost everyone in t he sampling frame had an equal chance of being selected and we got the responses filled through those students who were readily and willingly accepted to fill it.

5|P a ge

SECTION II

6|P a ge

INTRODUCTION Wikipedia defines a social network service as a service which focuses on the building and verifying of online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others, and which necessitates the use of software. [1]. A report published by OCLC provides the following definition of social networking sites: Web sites primarily designed to facilitate interaction between users who share interests, attitudes and activities, such as Facebook, Mixi and MySpace. [2]. Social Networking involves the use of the internet to connect users with their friends, family and acquaintances. Social networking websites are not necessarily about meeting new people online, although this does happen. Instead, they are primarily about connecting with friends, family and acquaintances you already have in real life. The most well known social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Bebo. These sites allow you to share photos, videos and information, organise events, chat, download music and even play games like Scrabble and Chess online. Often, each of your friends (Facebook) or followers (Twitter) will be friends with several of your other friends. Just like in real life, the connections between people arent just one-on-one, but a network of connections. This online social network is very useful in spreading information, pictures and videos. For example, you can easily set up a web page with details and pictures of an event you might be planning, such as a school fete. The site allows you to easily send out invitations to other users of the social networking site. Then, if given the option by the host, those who are invited can send out more invites to their friends who might like to attend hence, the network.

7|P a ge

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: DEFINITION Boyd and Ellison (2007) minimally define Social Networking Sites as: Web-based services that allow individuals to: (1) Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) View and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. By this definition websites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo are archetypal Social Network Sites where their core purpose is supporting individuals to create profiles and to articulate their connections via a friends list but online social networking features are also found in more media-focused web sites such as YouTube (video-sharing) and Flickr (photosharing) and are likely to be increasingly built into a wide range of online and internet connected tools ranging from web based e-mail systems through to mobile phones and games consoles. Social Network Sites are just one aspect o f Web 2.0 the general trend towards increasing interactivity and User Generated Content (UGC) on the internet.

A social networking website is an online platform that allows users to create a public profile and interact with other users on the website. Social networking websites usually have a new user input a list of people with whom they share a connection and then allow the people on the list to confirm or deny the connection. After connections are established, the new user can search the networks of his connections to make more connections.

A social networking site may also be known as a social website or a social networking website. Social networking websites are easy to confuse with social media sites. A social networking site is any site that has a public or semi-public profile page, including dating sites, fan sites and so on. A social media site has profiles and connections, combined with the tools to easily share online content of all types.

8|P a ge

ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF SNSs 1995: Classmates is a social media website created by Randy Conrad. The website helps members find, connect and keep in touch with friends and acquaintances from school life. Classmates has more than 40 million active members in the US and Canada. In early 2008, Nielson Online ranked Classmates as number 3 in unique monthly visitors among social networking sites. 1997: Six degrees was named after the six degrees of separation concept and allowed users to list friends, family members and acquaintances and see their connection with any other user on the site. It was one of the first manifestations of a social networking websites in the format now seen today. Six degrees closed in 2007. At its height, the website had about a million users. 1999: Cyworld is a South Korean social networking service. Users can have apartment like spaces which make for a sim-world like experience. The cy in Cyworld could stand for Cyber; however, it also plays on the Korean word for relationship. A 2005 survey showed that 25% of South Korean were users. 2002: Friendster has over 115 million registered users and over 61 million unique visitors per global month. Over 90% of Friendsters traffic comes from Asia. The website is also used for dating, discovering new events, bands and hobbies. 2003: MySpace launched after eUniverse employees with Friendster saw its potential and mimicked the more popular features of the social networking site. MySpace became the most popular social networking site in US 2006. The 100th million account was created on August 9, 2006. 2003: Hi5 is a social networking site based in San Francisco, California. The company was founded in 2003 by Ramu Yalamanchi. By 2008, comScore reported that Hi5 had become the third most popular social networking site in terms of monthly unique visit. In December 2011, the social networking site, Tagged, purchased Hi5 for an undisclosed sum. 2004: Orkut is a social networking website that is owned and operated by Google Inc. It was launched on January 2004. The service is designed to help users meet new and old friends and maintain existing relationships. The website is named after its creator, Google employee
9|P a ge

Orkut Bykkkten. As of October 2011, 59.1% of Orkut's users were from Brazil, followed by India with 27.1% and Japan with 6.7%. 2005: Bebo is an acronym for blog early, blog often. It is similar to other networking sites; the site must include two specific modules, a comment section and a list of users friends. The site claims 40 million users. 2006: Facebook is the most popular social networking site boasting 350 million users. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg who studied at Harvard University. The websites membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges. Facebook has met with some controversy being blocked in countries such as, China, Syria and Iran. The original concept for Facebook came from the colloquial name for books given out at the start of the academic year by universities designed to help students get to know one another better. 2006: Twitter.com is a social networking site that that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the authors profile page and are delivered to the authors subscribers known a s followers. It is sometimes described as the SMS of the internet and is widely popular with about 5 million users. 2010: Google Buzz is the newest social networking site designed to integrate the Googles web-based program, G-mail. Shared links and messages show up in the users inbox. Buzz focuses on integrating photos, videos and links as part of the conversations aspects of G mail like conversation threading. 2011: Google+ is a multilingual social networking and identity service owned and operated by Google Inc. It was launched in June 28, 2011. As of September 2012, it has a total of 400 million registered users of whom 100 million are active on a monthly basis. Unlike other conventional social networks which are generally accessed through a single website, Google has described Google+ as a "social layer" consisting of not just a single site, but rather an overarching "layer" which covers many of its online properties.

10 | P a g e

11 | P a g e

STEPS TO JOIN 1. One needs just need to have an email address. 2. Login to a website of any popular social networking site meant for professionals. Most of these sites are for majors (above 18 years). 3. There is a simple form asking for basic details of the individuals. After filling in the profile is ready for use. 4. If you have a profile on these sites then any other member can share details about himself / herself and can even access another users details to the extent allowed.

HOW TEENS USE SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES Most teens create at least a basic profile, with their name, age, status, photo and interests, but many go much further. Many teens make regular visits to update their profiles and to visit others' profiles. Communicating with others is a key aspect of using social networks. Teens may post public messages or may use bulletins or private messages to communicate with those on their friends list. Most teens use sites such as MySpace and Facebook to stay in touch with their current friends. However, PEW reports that about 50% of teenagers also use the sites to make new friends. Teenagers use the sites to make social plans with their friends, and sometimes to flirt.

12 | P a g e

POSITIVE SIDE OF USING SNSs Social networks can provide a range of benefits to members of an organisation: 1. Support for learning: Social networks can enhance informal learning and support social connections within groups of learners and with those involved in the support of learning.

2. Support for members of an organisation: Social networks can potentially be used my all members of an organisation, and not just those involved in working with students. Social networks can help the development of communities of practice.

3. Engaging with others: Passive use of social networks can provide valuable business intelligence and feedback on institutional services (although this may give rise to ethical concerns).

4. Ease of access to information and applications: The ease of use of many social networking services can provide benefits to users by simplifying access to other tools and applications. The Facebook Platform provides an example of how a social networking service can be used as an environment for other tools.

5. Common interface: A possible benefit of social networks may be the common interface which spans work / social boundaries. Since such services are often used in a personal capacity the interface and the way the service works may be familiar, thus minimizing training and support needed to exploit the services in a professional context. This can, however, also be a barrier to those who wish to have strict boundaries between work and social activities.

6. Accessing information and informal learning: Through browsing social network profiles young people can access a wide range of information. A number of local and national information providers and support services are creating a presence on social network sites or are targeting advertising and information campaigns at online social

13 | P a g e

networking spaces. There is also significant interest in the potential of online social networks as spaces for young peoples informal learning outside school.

7. Exploring identity: Online social networking spaces act as sites for identity formation. Whether constructing their profiles in MySpace, creating a video and posting it on YouTube, or talking in chat rooms, teens are constantly creating, recreating, and honing their identities a primary goal of adolescent development. (Greenfield et. al quoted in Tynes 2007)

8. Developing new contacts: Whilst most young people are primarily using online social networking to communicate with their existing friendship groups, a significant number identify that they use social network sites to make new friend. Making new friends may involve getting to know friends of friends, building links with other local, or locally connected, young people or it may involve trying to locate other online social network users with particular shared interests, or simply locating others by browsing profiles. Online social networking can be used to maintain both strong and weak ties with wide networks of individuals on a friends list.

9. Extending their social networks and joining interest based networks: Many young people extend the friends lists of their Online Social Network far beyond individuals they have physically met or are acquainted with in person. This can involve finding new friends on the basis of shared interest, or widening a local circle of friends through connecting with friends of friends. 10. Building bridging social capital resources: As well as the relatively close circle of friends with whom a Social Network Site user may be actively communicating (strong ties) sites also allow users to record their connections with acquaintances and loose connections (weak ties). For example, instead of just talking to someone once at an event or party, and never meeting them again, a social network site makes it possible to look them up afterwards and request and maintain a connection, albeit latent, with that person. Online social network mediated social capital resources may prove useful to young people in their transitions into the workplace and in moving to new areas of to university etc (Ellison et al. 2006)

14 | P a g e

11. Developing identity and reflecting upon identity development: A number of authors (Larsen 2007; Tynes 2007) have focused on the role of Social Network Sites as part of young peoples identify formation process and as spaces for young people to reflect upon their own identity development (Stern, 2008).

12. Fun: By no means least important is that online social networking is an activity many young people enjoy and believe themselves to gain a lot from.

15 | P a g e

ISSUES REGARDING USE OF SNSs

1. Being exposed to grooming and abuse: The Centre for Exploitation and Online Protection have noted a steady increase in the number of reports to law enforcement in the UK that relate to the sexual abuse of children and young people in social networking environments (Brennan 2006). However, Wolak et al. (2008) found that Posting personal information online does not, by itself, appear to be a particularly risky behaviour rather, it is voluntarily interacting with strangers online, particular engaging in conversations of a sexual nature that increases young peoples risk of sexual solicitation and aggressive sexual solicitation (Ybarra et al. 2007). Crucially, the young people most at risk of abuse online are those with multiple pre-existing risk factors offline. It is such young people with complex needs that youth work is often working with.

2. Being targeted by advertising and commercial interests: The majority of social networking sites are for commercial interests. MySpace, for example, is owned by Murdochs News Corporation and the primary revenue stream for social network sites is through advertising. Many are highly commercialised spaces and in having access to detailed demographic information about their users (provided through profiles, and collected through monitoring their use of the sites) they can provide highly targeted advertising.

That young people are spending considerable amounts of time in highly commercialised spaces, where the owners of those spaces have a vested interest in encouraging young peoples consumerism, and where pro -social non-commercial messages are relatively absent, may have consequences for young peoples development of positive and pro-social values and aspirations.

3. Accessing, sharing or creating harmful or offensive content: Social network sites can provide a platform in which harmful or offensive content is published, shared and commented upon. Whilst most sites do have staff who monitor and will remove illegal content, age-inappropriate and other violent or offensive content is often not removed, or remains on sites for long enough to find a significant audience. Withers and Sheldon (2008) explore whether the sharing of user generated violent video images
16 | P a g e

(a phenomena that has been referred to somewhat polemically as happy slapping) is incentivising violent acts for the purpose of filming and sharing online. In particular they note the potential effect of the comments feature on content posted on social network sites which can illicit praise from an individuals network and from strangers for violent or offensive video content. 4. Becoming internet addicted: There is a fear that use of online social networking displaces other activities and face to face social interaction. There is little conclusive evidence of actual medical addiction and it has been suggested that young peoples extensive use of online social network sites is often due to their being kept at home, rather than allowed to go out and socialize with peers (Byron 2008). However, there is anecdotal evidence of young people self-identifying that they are spending more time on social network sites than they would like to (Withers and Sheldon 2008). 5. Sexting: Sexting can be defined as sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or images via cell phone, computer, or other digital devices. Many of these images become distributed rapidly via cell phones or the Internet. This phenomenon does occur among the teen population; a recent survey revealed that 20% of teens have sent or posted nude or seminude photographs or videos of themselves. Some teens who have engaged in sexting have been threatened or charged with felony child pornography charges, although some states have started characterizing such behaviors as juvenile-law misdemeanors. Additional

consequences include school suspension for perpetrators and emotional distress with accompanying mental health conditions for victims. In many circumstances, however, the sexting incident is not shared beyond a small peer group or a couple and is not found to be distressing at all.

6. Facebook Depression: Researchers have proposed a new phenomenon called Facebook depression, defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression. Acceptance by and contact with peers is an important element of adolescent life. The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger depression in some adolescents. As with offline depression, preadolescents and adolescents who suffer from Facebook depression are at risk for
17 | P a g e

social isolation and sometimes turn to risky Internet sites and blogs for help that may promote substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or selfdestructive.

7. Target of pedophiles: A greater danger is that teens may become targets of pedophiles. The anonymity of some social networking sites makes it easy for unscrupulous people to target young teens and engage them in harmful conversations. It's easy for predators to pose as teens and lure children into harmful real-world contact as well. Most social networking sites have privacy controls in place, but teens seldom use them. Active monitoring of profiles and behaviors catches some predators, but not all of them.

8. Identity theft: Another risk is identity theft, which can occur when teens share too much information about their name, date of birth and location.

18 | P a g e

SECTION III

19 | P a g e

LIMITATIONS

1. The sample size of 150 randomly selected students is assumed to be sufficient for conducting the research.

2. Secondary data sources for the concerned research area were limited as not much research has been conducted in this area in India. 3. The expertise in formulating questionnaire is limited. 4. The analysis is purely judgmental in nature. 5. It is also assumed that the results that came out of the survey of 150 respondents represent the general view of the entire student population of Uran.

20 | P a g e

CONCLUSION

Nevertheless, social networks are not going away anytime soon. No one will deny the benefits of being able to easily keep track on the latest happenings and interact within a network of people, groups or companies that share a person's interest.

The features available on social networks are also improving. Location based services are beginning to appear. Imagine a social network that marries the best features of Facebook, GPS and YouTube. A user could simple upload a video from their 3G phone or track their friends using GPS on Facebook. Integration between Twitter and Google Maps could allow users to track their friends on a map or update their location using GPS or A-GPS.

This particular research was intended to analyse the exposure to and impact of social networking sites on students in a small town of Uran which is considered to be a developing area and where the access to technology is not as developed as compared to that of Metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi NCR. The findings were pretty surprising - some of the responses were as expected and others were just shocking. Yet one thing is for sure that Uran is witnessing an unprecedented growth in the popularity of social networking sites especially among the students, positively as an important tool of communication and negatively as an addiction.

Going forward, only time will tell how social networking will be in the future. One thing for certain, social networking will remain as people always want to connect with other people.

21 | P a g e