The Pros and Cons of Social Networking Sites

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Social networking sites such as friendster, MySpace, Multiply and Facebook are booming. Find out how to manage these sites effectively.

Social networking sites such as facebook, myspace, friendster,and multiply among others, are helping people get connected and reconnected.  A decade ago, when a friend moves to another country, it means losing touch with them. These days, social networking sites are keeping family and friends updated with each other's lives on a daily basis no matter how far apart. People are able to look up long lost childhood friends or make new friends through social networking sites. Some people have even found love on these sites. It is easy to find people with the same interests and get to know them.

Social networking sites also allow users to initiate and develop relationships with people having the same interests by joining groups and forums. There are groups who are into supporting authors, political figures, causes, and various games. The list of groups to be joined is unending and if by chance you cannot find a particular group, you can create one.

These sites can also be used to further your business endeavors or any of your interests. You can even search for a job using this network. Spread word about any events that need to raise funds. The possibilities are numerous.

Social networking sites though also have its drawbacks. Social networks require you to enter private information such as your name, age, location, email address, telephone numbers and other data for mining purposes. This where problems begin. There are people who take advantage by posing as friends with the intention of stealing identities. Your account may be hacked. If this happens, contact all your network at once and inform them that your account has been hacked. This is to avoid the person from pretending to be you and gaining access to your network.

Some tips on how to protect yourself when using social networking sites:

Read to Privacy Policy or Terms of Use.

Change the settings limiting access to your network and friends. The default setting of these sites are set to be available to the public.

Limit the pictures you post and always check that people who have access to your pictures are set to only your friends or contacts. Remember however, that despite the privacy settings, the person maintaining the site will be able to see everything.

Do not click every link posted by your friends. They could be phishing sites that steal your username and password.

As with everything, use your common sense.

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