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What You Can Get Out Of Your Social Networking Presence

A social network service is one revolutionary method of building and verifying of online networks for communities of people who share different interests and activities, and who are interested in finding out, as well as join, the interests and activities of others.

Most social network services today are generally Web-based and provide a selection of various methods and format for users to interact with each other, and among them are chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and so on.

Social Network Services Allow Users To Create Personal Profiles

In general, a social networking service allows users to create a profile for themselves. Users can also upload their own pictures and can often be "friends" with other users. In most social networking services, like Bebo, Facebook or MySpace, both users must confirm that they are friends before they are linked.

For example, if Jenny lists Vernice as a friend, then Vernice would have to approve Jenny's friend request before they are officially listed as friends. Some social network sites also have a "favorites" feature that does not need approval from the other user. Most social networks generally have privacy controls that allows the user to choose who can view their profile or contact them, etc.

Common benefits of Social Networking

As the term "social" denotes, these sites specifically allow individuals and groups to interact with each other, build online and real-world relationships, as well as establish new business or inter-organizational contacts. These sites also allow individuals and groups to :

- Connect with like-minded industry professionals;
- Allow for networking beyond your current circle of contacts;
- Give individuals the capacity to interact with others on a more “personal yet professional” level
- Give your business an online presence beyond typical corporate websites;
- Allows potential business contacts and clients to learn more about you;
- Generates referral-based contacts;
- Allows for the creation of professional relationships.

Social Networks Have Begun To Address Privacy Concerns

There has currently been growing concerns about users giving out too much personal information and the threat of sexual predators on many large social network services. Users of these sites need to be aware of data theft or viruses. However, large networking sites, such as MySpace, usually work with law enforcement to try to prevent such negative incidents from taking place.

In addition, there is a perceived privacy threat in regard to putting too much personal information in the hands of large corporations or governmental agencies, and thus allows a profile to be produced on an individual's behavior on which decisions, detrimental to an individual, may be taken.

More importantly, there is an issue over the control of data - information having been altered or removed by the user may in fact be retained and/or passed to third parties. This sensitive concern was highlighted when a previously controversial social networking site, gathered e-mail addresses from users' e-mail accounts for use in a spamming operation.

As a result of this, many networking services are increasingly being used in civil and criminal investigations, as the information posted on sites such as MySpace and Facebook, have been used by police, and in some situations, content posted on MySpace has been used in court to verify an appropriate sentence based on the defendant's attitude.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor

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