Whilst social networks are possibly the largest and most popular part of the internet, so many adults turn their noses up at but the mention of what they believe to be the 'devil' that is Twitter. To my dismay, if I am in conversation with people about how social networks are now the platform for modern communication, I still get the response that they are 'rubbish' and 'pointless.' I hasten to add that these are responses from people that stay well away from social networks. Media coverage often only portrays the negative and dangerous sides of social networks that can leave us questioning why we even have them. Like them or not, social networks are now engraved into our society and I am of the opinion that they are highly beneficial for us.
The truth is, readers, that social networks are NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM. I can guarantee that many people will associate Twitter and Facebook with teenagers that sit mindlessly staring at a screen, making completely useless commentary about their lives, such as 'Yum, toast for breakfast!' Yes, many people will do that, adults as well as teenagers, but this is but a small fraction of what social networking is actually about. If you take a look at the word 'networking,' consider what this means. Social networking largely revolves around connecting like-minded people and allows us to be in contact with people on either a personal, interest or business level. Through Twitter, I have been able to follow a variety of people with interesting blogs that admittedly, I would have struggled to find without typing in the hashtag 'blog' or 'bloggers.' Of course, through persistence and word of mouth, I might have been able to find some similar bloggers to me. However, without the powers of Twitter, this would have been such a challenge as I would have literally had to have asked people 'Do you blog?' which after a while, could get slightly irritating.
Of course, social networks can create the huge communities of 'Directioners' and 'Beliebers' (One Direction and Justin Beiber fans) that seem to rule the internet, they can also create much smaller communities of people that have something in common. I am afraid that I will have to again, use the example of blogging because social networks have played such a large part in getting Imagine Dream Write out onto the internet. Although it is all well and good finding bloggers on Twitter, I have actually found that the best way for me to connect with other bloggers on a more personal level is through Google +. What I love about Google + is that there is a community for EVERYTHING. If you type in 'Harry Potter Appreciation,' you are bound to find something that you can join. I was quite naive when I signed up to Google + because I didn't think I would be able to talk to many bloggers. Nevertheless, communities such as the 'Bloggers Network' can have THOUSANDS of members, a variety of different ways in which you can share your work and so many people's work to view. Since I joined these communities not so long ago, I began targeting my work at people with similar interests to me and the same level of enthusiasm as me for what they do- meaning that I could start to develop my niche audience for Imagine Dream Write.
What so many people forget about social networks is how they can help you create a very positive image for yourself. I don't mean in terms of being a bit of a 'goody two shoes' and constantly posting nicey nice things that just get irritating. However, on a social media platform like LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to highlight your best qualities and really create a name for yourself. So many writers, bloggers etc. have come from putting their work on the internet and without a clever and regularly updated social media profile, they would not have been able to generate the fame that they have had today. Additionally, part of today's employment process means that your potential employer now checks how you portray your online persona- which will either make or break a person. There are only so many times you can physically tell a person where your passions lie, but if your social media profiles show that you are pursing what you love, you will appear as an ambitious individual with strong initiative- before you even get to speak to them!
To me, the benefits of social networks are endless and I could reel off so many. How they have revolutionised brand engagement, how they give a voice to the people.... and so on. With many things in our lives, what we put in is what we get out and if you put a lot of time into your social networking profiles, particularly from a business perspective, you WILL get a lot out of it. Like when the computer was first invented all those years ago, social networks are a part of the 21st century that won't be disappearing any time soon.You may think they're great, you may think they're rubbish, but either way, social networks are possibly the most valuable websites to come out of the internet and have changed communication as we know it.
What do you think of social networks? Have you experienced any of the perks? What ever you have to say, I'd love to hear it so let me know in the comments below!