Sharapat V., Osadcha O. V.

Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University


One of the online success stories of recent years is the spectacular spread of social networking sites. These sites, including VK and Facebook, allow you to connect to your existing friends and to make new ones. What exactly is the attraction of them, and is there anything to worry about in the popularity of this phenomenon?

The idea of these sites is quite simple, and the ease of use is one of things that attracts people to them. Firstly, you set up your own page and add information about yourself. This might include a photograph, as well as things like educations or work information, hobbies and your interests. Some people like to add links to other things that say something about them, such as music videos they like.

Once you've created this online presence, it's time to search for friends. Each of these websites keeps a large database of people who have joined. Using your friends' names or email addresses, it's possible to search this database to find people you know. You can then add them to the list of friends on your profile page.

Once you've found all the people you know, then there are various ways in which you can use these sites. It's a good way to keep in touch with friends you don't see every day perhaps because they live in another city or country. You can post photos that show what you've been up to, or send a message to let everyone know what's happening in your life. Social networking’s have a lot of variety groups. And you can join in this group. For example, you can find a group about your favorite singer, actor, painter, etc. Apart from that, you can also find people you don't already know who share the same interests as you or like the same things as you. Then, you can send a friend request to them and watch as your online social life grows.

It sounds simple and harmless enough. However, some people have raised concerns about these sites. First of all, the question what it is doing to young people's social lives. It is claimed that meaningful relationships are being replaced by shallow connections with people you are unlikely ever to meet. Friendship can be much more than simply sharing likes and dislikes and swapping links to music websites. People whose only social life is through sites like these may be missing out on real interaction with real people.

Whereas in real life your popularity (or lack of it) might not always be so obvious, on social networking sites it is reduced to a number: the number of friends you have. This, plus the use of the sites as means of communications, means that some young people are at risk of being made fun of by others. It might seem like harmless fun at the time, but this kind of thing makes many teenagers' lives miserable.

Another problem that has been highlighted is that these websites waste a lot of time. That might not matter at home, but some businesses have reported serious problems. When employees spend up to two hours a day updating their profile and searching for friends rather than getting their work done, companies suffer. In fact, many firms have introduced rules banning their workers from using Facebook and VK during office hours.

As with most things online, it seems that users need to be sensible about how they use these websites. It's a good idea to be careful about who you allow to become your friend. This really just using the same kind of caution as you would in real life. You might also consider limiting how much time you spend on social networking sites.