Social Networking sites are the quickly becoming the most popular kind of web sites on the web. The most popular of these websites, Myspace, Facebook and now Twitter, are on their way to the top of the charts for most visited sites on the Internet. Details from by Alexa.com, a company which publishes reports on web traffic, collected around May 2008 by Carter, author for ¬¬Phi Delta Kappan, reveals that Myspace.com is the sixth most popular website. (cited in Carter) While the throne of the most popular social networking is now Facebook (cited in “Facebook dethrones Myspace”), social networking sites are still some of the most visited sites on the World Wide Web Students will have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using social networking technologies and evaluate it for themselves. This paper will help students evaluate different types of social networking sites and help them decide if they want to use it.
Traditional social networking sites include Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. Millions of people use these sites every day, and many people spend hours online on it, chatting with friends, sharing photos, playing games,etc. Carter, author of Phi Delta Kappan, observes that Myspace had over 200 million accounts in December 2007. (cited in Carter) With social networking technologies becoming increasingly popular, this number has surely grown in the past 2 years. Carter also notes that social networking is increasingly becoming popular among the “millennial generation” (those born between 1982 and 2002), or in other words teens and young adults. So more and more students are becoming members of these sites. This can be either beneficial or deteriorating to their studies, depending on how they use it or how much time they spend on it.
In addition to traditional sites, educational networking sites such as Elgg and Ning can be beneficial to students. (cited in Brady) These sites aren’t as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but they have a higher chance of being approved by school administrators and teachers, who are traditionally opposed to social networking sites. These sites provide students with a greater sense of privacy and security, so students can use collaborate with their peers for assignments or projects more safely than they would have been while using traditional sites. A downside of these sites are that they are not as popular as Facebook and Myspace, but their popularity is growing. Brady mentions that the Saugus Union School District in Los Angeles County has adopted Elgg as a website to be used by the entire educational community (cited in Brady). If students want their school to use these sites, they should approach school administrators and teachers with a proposal and explain the benefits of these sites.
Gerwitz, editor in chief of ZATZ publishing, cyberterrorism advisor to the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals and a special contributor to the Frontline Security Magazine, reports...