What are some ways these technologies can be used?
As mentioned on some of our readings these social networking sites can be used to keep in touch. I can use myself as an example of "keeping in touch" during the years of my overseas duty. I served in the united states navy for 5 years and 4 of the 5 years I was stationed in overseas in Japan. Because I seldomly return to the States my only means of staying in touch with my friends at home is via social networking sites; in my case I used MySpace.
What are the benefits of these technology to society?
There are millions of people in the United States and these social networking sites can connect people from different parts of our country. It allows us to find similar commonalities among ourselves and others through theses sites. One of the major benefits to society is the business aspect. In reference to the article "What's next you future in social networking?" by Chuck Hamilton, businesses are taking advantage of these sites by means of expanding and finding new customers. And more importantly business utilize these social networking sites to test market their brands and ideas. It saves companies large sum of money and even possible losses. If say, an idea or brand fails in these virtual market tests a company will suffer zero loss. Or if the results were positive then it it is an opportunity for the company to expand on that idea or brand.
Is there a dark side?
Of course, with every advantage there are disadvantages. Social networking sites can allow individuals to become preyed upon. As an extreme case young teenagers, females, and even older folks maybe stalked or some how manipulated be a sex offender. In a less extreme case it allows everyone to be preyed upon by businesses. We become victimized by constant advertisements. Because companies have the ability to target their audience we are prone o be "bother" by constant bombarding of advertisement.
In the future.
I believe that social networking will continue to grow, but more for businesses. As far as social networking for individuals? I believe that we've exploited every aspect of it. But this is just my opinion. Who knows with 6.7 billion brains on Earth something new is bound to be created in the near future.