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Social networking: To join or not to join

If you’re one of the only people left in America that doesn’t have a social networking profile, congratulations! You may be wondering why in the world anyone would be interested in joining a social networking Web site, so let me tell you a little bit about my experiences with them.

I began my social networking tour with LiveJournal when I was in middle school. There I would tell the world about my love for Joey Fatone (from N’SYNC…duh.) Once in high school, I decided that it was time to move onto MySpace. By that time, my music tastes had changed and I was interested in the MySpace music pages. In college, I was introduced to Facebook, and just recently I joined Twitter. It’s been a long social networking road for me, but I can honestly say there have been times when it’s really helped, though there’s also been a time when it’s hurt.

I’ll lay out some pros and cons for you. You’ll notice that many of the pros and cons are the same because, well, they’re both good and bad. It’s up to you to decide which one. Weigh it out for yourself.

1. When done right, these Web sites can actually get you connected with people of your similar interests.
2. If you don’t really want to talk to someone in real life, you can always send them a message. It’s better than calling and hoping to reach a voicemail.
3. If you are creepy, any of these can be assets, and in more ways than you can imagine.
4. They are a good way to stay connected with friends who live far away.
5. If you’re smart enough, you can make yourself look like something you’re not.
6. MySpace and Facebook are constantly in transition. They continue to add new aspects like instant messaging with friends and status updates.
7. You can connect with people all around the world.
8. You have your own place in the World Wide Web.
9. The Internet is not FCC regulated.
10. It provides companies with a great way to advertise for free.

1. People may try to contact you, thinking that the two of you have similar interests when, indeed, the two of you do not.
2. When people are mad, it’s a scapegoat to just send a message and not actually work it out face-to-face.
3. People are creepy.
4. Friends that you didn’t want to stay connected with will find you.
5. If you’re smart enough, you can make yourself look like something you’re not.
6. They are constantly in transition so when you finally get used to one version they switch it around and confuse you again.
7. People from all around the world can find you.
8. You have your own place in the World Wide Web where people will always be able to find you.
9. The Internet is not FCC regulated.
10. They can be a great place for people to steal identities.

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