I pulled this from my "unpublished articles" archive from a few years ago. I'm sharing it because I think it is even more relevant now to the success of writers and businesses than it was when I first wrote it. Read below:

Social networking as a trend, has taken on a life of its own since the concept, and its acceptance, first burst onto the technology scene almost a decade ago. For many, there exists a love-hate relationship between social networking and their private lives. About six years ago, right around the time when blogging had become trendy, I was one of millions who jumped on the blogging bandwagon, albeit at first reluctantly. Admittedly, the lack of privacy to one’s thoughts and ideas was not all at once appealing, but with time, I was able to get on board having learned the many benefits social networking offers.

Studies have shown that social networking has both its advantages and disadvantages, as with any other means of communications and networking. This article will focus on the benefits of social networking.

The Human Element: As much as it is known that social networking is missing a human element due the limitless number of false identities and personalities that exist on social networking sites, the fact still remains that real human beings (many of whom are real and genuine) prance around online on a daily basis. As a writer/blogger, I have first-hand experience of how social networking circles can be beneficial by providing that human element. Most of the friends/acquaintances I’ve made in my social circles are a result of social networking – most of whom I have never seen in person. Also many of us fail to acknowledge the fact that our acquired knowledge is not enough to get us ahead in life. We often times fail to acknowledge that our social connections can get us even further, making our knowledge valuable in the process.

Far-Reaching Abilities: Everyone today seems to be involved in one social networking site or another – some roaming multiple networks at a time. Yes, it can sometimes get overwhelming, but there is no denying that in one way or another, social networking is a global phenomenon that has caught on fast. For business owners of all sizes, social networking has proven to be a necessary tool. In a recent survey, an overwhelming 94 percent of survey respondents said they plan to use social networking and other social media to promote their books and themselves, according to Dana Lynn Smith, author of The Savvy Book Marketers Guide to Successful Social Network Marketing. In a recent Nielson Online survey, Facebook alone had 29.9% of the global internet users compared to MySpace’s 22.4%. Imagine being able to reach that many people over a short period of time, something that was almost impossible only a short time ago when social networking did not exist.

Building Personal Reputations: Of course, hiding behind a computer screen and posing as someone you’re most likely not can be disturbing on so many levels, but for personalities who genuinely wish to build a personal reputation, but are too shy to do so in public, the anonymity that social networking provides can be a good thing. While not everyone who says they are friendly and outgoing on Facebook actually are friendly and outgoing, there may be those who feel more comfortable being anonymous but who still wish to connect to people on a more personal level that does not require a face-to-face meeting.

Expand Your Professional Circle: Social networking is a great place to connect with other professionals just like you whom you would probably never get a chance to meet in real life. LinkedIn is a good professional site that links professionals from across the globe in various fields with varying degrees of interests. In a place like LinkedIn where many professionals create smaller groups tailored to the specific needs of its members, personal interaction can be even more beneficial. Making contacts within a professional circle is also a great way to increase your chances of finding a job, if ever you should find yourself looking for one.

Social networking, however, is not only for the benefit of those seeking business prospects and exposure. There are also those who owe their dating lives, lasting friendships, and even marriages to social networking sites like Facebook, blogs, MySpace, Hi-Five and others. The benefits are numerous if one cares to see the positive side of social networking sites. And just as with any invention, or anything else for that matter, too much of everything can quickly become a bad thing. So while social networking does in fact have its numerous benefits, there are also downsides to it when it’s overused and abused. But either way you choose to look at it, it seems social networking is here to stay. We all might want to find ways to adjust how we communicate with others. Google Plus just joined the revolution.

 


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