• Social Media Platforms
• Security and Ethical Concerns
Introduction to Computing
There has been a rapid increase in the number of people using the internet for different purposes (See Appendix A). According to Benioff (2012), mobile technologies and social media have advanced the rate at which information is shared and the way relationships are formed. Currently, people are using social media to help in shaping global events and cultures. Social networking sites refer to online communities of individuals who share goals and activities. It also means people who are focused on exploring the goals and activities of the rest. Basically, they offer different platforms for user interaction using chat, video, discussion groups, messaging, blogging and email among other. Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace are some of the most renowned social sites in the UK (Goad & Mooney, 2008). Together, they have transformed consumer computing. This paper discusses the functions, advantages and disadvantages of these social media platforms. In addition, it analyzes security and ethical concerns of using social media.
Social Media Platforms
Facebook is considered one of the largest social networks with billions using it on a daily basis. However, it has its advantages and disadvantages (Andrea, 2009). The advantages of Facebook include the fact that: it has the highest user base of all the social medial platforms; it is a perfect method of connecting with aged members of the family who cannot move easily and share photos which are not always seen in most instances. In addition, Facebook: permits connection with lost friends and enables one make new friends through interaction with the rest; those who are self-employed are able to enhance their businesses; it has an open and easy to use interface; it targets students in institutions of higher learning; and the fact that Facebook does not appear to have greater programming challenges (Andrea, 2009).
However, there are disadvantages that are associated with the use of Facebook. They include the fact that: those who may want to remain confidential could be contacted; stalkers or those with ill objective could find their victims with ease; there is increased status update information; everyone appears to be copied though there should be one-on-one communications; it is not easy to change the face of this social media platform. According to Jones and Soltren (2005), there are three major factors that undermine privacy when using Facebook. One is that Facebook lacks appropriate measures in place to guard user privacy. Second is that the users disclose or rather submit a lot of information. Finally, third parties are using the Facebook to get users’ information
Another important social media platform is LinkedIn. Just like Facebook, it has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include the fact that: one can post his resume with the inclusion of all the companies he or she has worked for; it helps in forging connections from these jobs for one to add; one have recommendations from everyone displayed on his page (Andrea, 2009). This means that it is important in keeping track of individual references for resume referrals. Other advantages include: the fact that one can join groups connected to his business as a method of meeting new people; and that one can suggest links from other networking sites and boost his connection list.
There are however disadvantages including the fact that: it is not user friendly; it has a major learning curve in the event that it is introduced to navigating; it has increased data entry; it is not appropriate for those who do not spend a lot of time on the internet (Andrea, 2009); it is not a great site for creating leads or making people act on different services; one has to use his photograph; users do not examine their pages on a daily basis; and the fact that one has to look for colleagues in order to get recommendations.
The last social media platform that gained recognition in the UK is MySpace. This site has numerous advantages including the fact that: it has great user interface (Andrea, 2009). This is means that it is user friendly, open for any changes besides the fact that it permits user to exercises greater creativity. The other advantages include; the fact that it has great options for entertainment like videos, pictures, music and games; it is great in the event that one is looking for friends, a date, or devising new ways of communicating with members of his family. The similarity between Facebook and MySpace is that everyone who has an email address can have MySpace. Other advantages include the fact that: pages are striking and entertaining; and the people can demonstrate their creativity when designing their pages (Andrea, 2009).
However, just like Face and LinkedIn, MySpace has it disadvantages including it has lower security compared to the other online communities. In addition, just like Facebook, it has different users, a factor that increases the ease of meeting people who are distasteful. Moreover, there are slow times especially when loading pages with high graphic (Andrea, 2009). Finally, one can experience a hard time when running certain files through MySpace.
Security and Ethical Concerns
The use of the internet and social media networks has been important in regard to collection, storage, and distribution of information and data. However, Asif and Khan (2012) believe that the increasing use of social networking sites in addition to the people’s desire and participation has triggered a number of issues. This view is corroborated by Solove et al (2006) who believe that there are major ethical impacts. These are related to access and information and data manipulation. This means that there is a likelihood of others accessing one’s private information. Moreover, one could be prevented from important information through the use of security tools like passwords. There are different ways through the ethical effects of social media platforms can be manifested.
First and foremost, Nicola (2010) believes that use of social media platforms at the place of work has created problems between the employees and managers. There is conflict between freedom of employees to use social media networks and desire of the managers to monitor the activities of their employees online. The other ethical violation related to information privacy and which is attributed to the use of social media networks is access and interception of emails. This interferes with a person’s private communication. Another concern is in regard to the cases of hacking. According to Smith (2003), hacking has affected the use of information systems. Furthermore, the aspect of accuracy has drawn ethical issues with reference to information privacy. Based on this, Mason (2011) maintains that it is important to note that misinformation will always mess messing up the life of an individual. This is mostly the case in the event that the individual is a renowned figure in the society. The image of this person could be damaged extensively in the event the information is wrong.
Access to people’s emails has been made possible especially by companies The messages are accessed to monitor and validate whether the people use the social networking sites for business or private matters (Information Management Journal, 2004). However, the practice has triggered heated debates (Savage, 2012). Based, it will be important for law enforcement officials in the UK to get a warrant from the court before accessing people’s activities on social media (Information Management Journal, 2004).
In conclusion, it cannot be disputed that the world is fast changing at a pace that has never been seen before. Both mobile technologies and social media networks have increased the rate at which people interact and share information. Social media technology is currently used to shape global events and culture. Just like in the UK and other parts of the world, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace among other social media platforms, have made easy to communicate and integrate using features like profiles and even groups. Taken together, social media sites have transformed consumer computing. However, there are ethical and security concerns that must be taken into consideration. Top among these is the issue of information privacy. By addressing these concerns, people will continue to see the strength of social media platforms and their impacts on the society.
Andrea, J. (2009). Facebook and MySpace and LinkedIn, Oh My: A Recruiter’s Dream–or Their Worst Nightmare? A study of the impact of social networking sites on hiring practices. University of Toledo.
Asif, Z., & Khan, M. (2012). Users’ perceptions on Facebook’s privacy policies. ARPN Journal of Systems and Software, 2(3), 119-125.
Benioff, M. (2012). Welcome to the social media revolution. BBC News May 2012. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-18013662
Goad, R., & Mooney, T. (2008). The impact of social networking in the UK. Retrieved from http://melcarson.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/hitwise-social-networking-report-2008.pdf
Information Management Journal. (2004). You’ve Got Mail (and AOL Can Read It). Information Management Journal, 38(5), 12-12
Jones, H., & Solstren, J. (2005). Facebook: Threats to privacy. Retrieved from http://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/classes/6.805/student-papers/fall05-papers/facebook.pdf
Mason, R. (2011). Four ethical issues of the information age. Retrieved from http://www.gdrc.org/info-design/4-ethics.html
Nicola, L. (2010). Electronic privacy in the workplace: Transparency and responsibility. International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 24(2), 163-173.
Savage, C. (2012). Panel approves a bill to safeguard e-mail. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/technology/senate-committee-approves-stricter-privacy-for-e-mail.html
Smith, D. (2003). Discussion of information transfer among internet firms: The case of hacker attacks. Journal of Information Systems, 17(2), 71-82.
This table shows the number of internet users for every a hundred people across the globe.
Country 2008 2009 2010 2011
Afghanistan 1.7 3.2 3.7 4.6
Angola 4.6 6.0 10.0 14.8
Australia 71.7 74.1 75.9 78.9
Cuba 12.9 14.3 15.9 23.2
France 68.3 69.1 77.3 76.8
Germany 78.3 79.5 82.5 83.4
Israel 57.6 61.2 65.7 68.2
Zambia 5.6 6.3 10.1 11.5
UK 85 85.4 87.5 89.8
Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.P2