Creepers like to read updates, tweets, and more

Do you sit in the chilly autumn weather and watch your nephew’s soccer game, or do you sit all warm and cozy in your house to watch Monday night football? You might just see the little guy score his first goal and he’d love you forever, but you may also see the once in a lifetime, 58-yard field goal that soars “through the uprights.

By Tiffany Gilbert

Editor in Chief

Do you sit in the chilly autumn weather and watch your nephew’s soccer game, or do you sit all warm and cozy in your house to watch Monday night football? You might just see the little guy score his first goal and he’d love you forever, but you may also see the once in a lifetime, 58-yard field goal that soars “through the uprights.

Choices, pros and cons. The infinite lists of actions and consequences that go on and on. We struggle each day prioritizing the pros and cons of every day actions. Why should the choice to get involved with social networking be any different?

Sure, nowadays everyone has a MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter page. Maybe even a Bebo, Jaiku, or Ralvery account for those interested in knitting and crocheting. These networks are open to anyone interested around the world and joining these networks enable people to share interests and ideas with each other. There exists a possibility of building online communities to discuss similar personal matters and topics amongst a certain group. This is how people build friendships with strangers halfway across the world because of a simple likeness or similarity.

One of the most popular usages of social networking is the opportunity for old friends to re-establish relationships and reconnect with those of the past before the innovation of sophisticated social networking technology.

Social networking sites are also widely used for the promotion of business and websites. Facebook and MySpace are perfect mediums for businesses to reach out to potential clients and audiences.

According to the Facebook statistics press room online, 50% of the users log into the social network each day and there are more than 300 million users worldwide. These fairly impressive statistics support the idea of how we depend on social networking sites to connect with others. As college students seek the juiciest gossip, it is not uncommon to hear, “Well it’s not Facebook official.” I do not feel as if I have to explain this phrase because 95% of our targeted college-involved student readers will understand and grasp it as common, everyday conversational knowledge.

As we consistently rely on social networking to keep up with friends, family, businesses, and special interests, is it really worth it all to put your name out there for the world to see? People who are your “friends” are able to view your profile, pictures, updated statuses, as well as any personal information you wish to post. Some people post their hometown, state, and country while others post their complete address and phone numbers.

Some monitor who their online “friends” are, but others do not have a care in the world and will “accept” any friend request that comes their way, making their information visible to the online world and susceptible to “cyber stalkers.” These careless people are prone to identity theft and serious out criminal acts. This same danger applies to younger generations, mere teenagers and tweens who are just entering the social networking circle. Though in the same danger zone, most will likely not be aware of the situation as soon as an adult would.

Facebook only allows members to sign up unless they are 13 or older, but how hard is it for a 10 or 11 year old to increase their age to the minimum requirement by the simple click of a button?

Social networking profiles also enable users to express their uniqueness and creativity. MySpace has “skins,” which are essentially backgrounds of any color, theme, and popular, modern day interests. A “Twilight” fanatic can choose a skin covered in Edward Cullen’s face and plaster it all over their profile while Facebook has multiple “applications” from bumper stickers to themed quizzes, plus the quite original and favored “Farmville” game.

Profiles reflect the individuality of each person. Some users are fairly mellow and hardly post information or photos of themselves. Others are quite extreme, posting illegal and delicate images that represent their hobbies and interests. However, one of the major concerns a young person should be worried about is their future employment. As mentioned before, businesses and companies are now adopting social networking sites to reach audiences and since they have access to the free networks, a bit of research could either potentially “hire” or “fire” an employee.

I had a friend tell me about a year ago, that as a manager of a store, she was interviewing potential employees. After each interview, she conducted a quick Google search with each interviewee’s name. One probable candidate for the job had a MySpace page plastered with marijuana leaves and images of the person enjoying their illegal hobby. Needless to say, this particular applicant was not granted a second interview.

It is evident the world wide web truly is a worldwide innovation that allows strangers to connect on separate continents and thousands of miles apart, and the development of social networking can be a fabulous novelty to one’s social life and spare time. Yet, with all good there is a decent balance of evil. There are dangers lurking on each individual profile and potential “cyber stalkers” who will do more than just monitor your profile. Just remember to think twice the next time you twitter about your hometown or post photos from the frat party last weekend. It may be more than just “friends” who see it.

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