Uncontrolled use of the social networking sites can negatively impact people’s ability to effectively communicate with each other

updates or asking for opinions from different people for research, sites like this help to spread the word in onefell swoop. This is why marketers all over the world are increasingly switching on to social media as the next big thing. My favourite aspect of social networking sites is the way they make the world a much smaller
place, helping us get back in touch with old friends we never thought we’d hear from again.True, there is the school of thought that says, “If welost touch in the first place, there was probably a reason for it!” which is where the argument of smart usage comes in. At the end of the day, it is up to you to be in touch with whom you want,share exactly as much or as little information as you want, and stay as private as you want.

Used correctly, it can not only be great for reconnecting with people from your past, but can also serve as an easy way of connecting with peoplewho matterin yourlife on aregular, constant basis by sharing your day-to-day activities, photos and videos — little things that tend to get lost with physical distance and the cumbersomeness
of more traditional means of communication. But for all the benefits — both for inter-personal relationships and professional networking — that social media offers, there are downsides as well.Here are some dos and don’ts to help make the most of these sites and avoid cyber-suicide:

DO use it for networking
Notice how many companiesare now asking you to find them on Facebook or Twitter?It’sa great way to not only promotea business or project,butalso help break theice with professional contacts. Especially in these difficulteconomic times, social media offersafreeand useful tool for career networking. You can find and connect with peoplein similar fields, post youremployment history and credentials,and also find opportunities
through former friends orclassmates that you may have not been in touch with otherwise. A word ofcaution, though, studies haveshown that employersareincreasingly using social mediasites asaresearch tool for background checks. So, be very careful of what you put up there — and how you manage your privacy settings. No matter what
your professionalaccomplishmentsare, having a potential boss see your wild, unhinged photos on your best friend’s hen’s night wouldn’t do your careerany favours!

DON’T become an addict
A survey by market research firm Mintel found that more than 50 per cent of adults in Britain
now spend more time online than they do speaking to friends and family.The constant stream of information on such
sites is what can make them addictive. According to Nancy Baym, a University of Kansas professor 36 |
of communication studies, “Compulsive Facebook use comes down to the fact that there’s a continuous dribble — every time you go on,something has changed. So it’s like a continuous link of hanging out in the halls with your friends
between classes or hanging around the water cooler at the office.”“Uncontrolled use of the social networking
sites can negatively impact people’s ability to effectively communicate with each other,” says Al Amari. “Excessive use can also lead to developing a sense of dependence, which has serious disadvantages such as becoming socially isolated and not involved in genuine relationships.”

DO keep yourself relevant
It may be tempting to get into the habit of letting the world know what you’re up to every single minute of the day — and many people do. A recent study revealed that 40 per cent of Twitter