We are social by nature. There are so many ways in which we interact with people – book reading clubs, community fairs, weekend barbecues in the neighborhood or by simply getting together for a good time. Technology, especially the Internet has given people the ability to socialize in a whole new way. Of course, we still meet people in person, but now, we can do so virtually and with almost anyone on the planet. This form of online interaction is especially popular amongst youngsters who are constantly in search of new adventures and new friends.
Instead of clubs and social dos, socializing online happens via websites which allow networking. The basic idea of social networking websites is that they are utilized to bring together people who share an interest in just about anything from music to golf to quantum physics. These websites provide a platform for people to be able to garner opinions from across the world on a subject that they hold close to their heart. You can share opinions as well as experiences first-hand. You can find a peer group to connect with or put together a team of professionals online for a job that you have in mind. Social networking has become the new means of making friends, finding professional assistance and discussing ideas with like-minded people. It is also become a platform where one can seek employment. There are companies that run purely by sifting through the reams of data on social networking websites to find the right person for their company.
Joining a social networking website is quite easy. All you have to do is register yourself and your email id on one of them and you are good to go. Your process of socialization begins once you are logged onto a website as a member. Most websites offer you the means to get in touch with the kind of people you are looking for. This can be done by viewing public profiles. You can then contact these people directly and see if they would be interested in touching base with you.
There are several benefits to social networking. You of course, make new friends from all over the world and broaden your perspective about life in general. You are able to touch base with professionals from varying fields for advice or help. This is also true of experts in fields as diverse as neural engineering or making sushi. You learn new languages, theories and points of view. You can also create an online community of your own if you like and then go about inviting others to participate.
There is however a flip side and the first concern has to do with the number of predators online. There are unscrupulous people in the virtual world who will steal personal information. Check the credentials of a social networking website before you register with them. Look into their security policies on your personal information as well. Do not be too liberal with personal information on your public profile. Even when you do strike up a conversation with someone new don’t divulge your entire life history at the first meeting. Just as you would exercise caution in the real world so too you must in the cyber world.
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David T. Lyndos