Social networks became the people’s everyday reality, and today the public is divided into the proponents of using these services and opponents who focus on the advantages of the face-to-face interaction.
Furthermore, the users of social networking services can also be divided into groups according to their attitude to this popular online activity. From this perspective, it is relevant to speak about four different attitudes to social networks and users’ behaviors that are characteristic for people all over the world: social networking addiction; the everyday use of social media to contact friends; the use of social media to find new friends; and avoidance of using social media.
Social networking addiction is one of the most discussed challenges associated with the use of social media. Many people, young persons in particular, can be discussed as addicted to social networks because they almost cannot live without using such social media as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and Instagram. These people prefer spending much time while using social media because networks can provide them with a kind of entertainment, communication, and information. As a result, many young people prefer checking statuses and posts in social networks almost every minute.
Those people who use social networks every day because their friends use these media also demonstrate their high interest in such online activities. From this point, the positive attitude to social media is associated with the opportunity to contact friends and follow the changes in their life regularly. It is important to note that young people are more motivated to join social networks if they know that their friends use them day after day. Thus, in this case, the use of social media satisfies the people’s need for belongingness.
Furthermore, social networking is also perceived as an opportunity to find new friends and develop new contacts, including professional ones. If some people use social networking services to find new friends and influence their personal life, the other category of people uses such services as LinkedIn in order to influence the professional life and find more useful contacts. In this case, the potential of social networking services is positively evaluated by users, and these social media become perceived as large databases where each user can find friends and information about interesting people.
However, there is also a category of Internet users who do not like using social networking services because they discuss such online activities as barriers to the active ‘real’ life. The reason is that the use of social networks is a time-consuming activity associated with catching a lot of information of different types. As a result, the opponents of using social media choose face-to-face interactions instead of online communication because of the possibility to manage time and avoid posting the personal information.
From this point, the development of social networking services can be discussed as a new social phenomenon, and it is almost impossible for Internet users to stay indifferent in relation to this online activity. That is why, it is appropriate to speak about differences in attitudes to social media that are typical for active Internet users and those persons who do not prefer online activities. Thus, the role of social networking in the people’s life is significant, and differences in attitudes are caused by the role that social media can play in individuals’ everyday lives.