Introduction to the Research Essay - Social Networking Paper

Erica A

Mrs. Luiz

Introduction to the Research Essay

21 February 2017


                                                                 Social Networking


            Why is the use of social networking sites so necessary and beneficial to today’s society? With the constantly growing use of them in everything from business marketing to everyday life, it seems as if social media has taken over the world. While this may seem frightening to some, it is in fact a good thing for a multitude of reasons. From allowing people to connect with each other to the surplus of mental and physical benefits, social networking truly is a revolutionary convenience. 

[TS] Some people say that social networking may have detrimental consequences and harmful effects on its users. [S1] It is even believed that these sites could be negatively impacting and influencing children’s minds. [E1] As director of the Royal Institution and professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford, Lady Greenfield suggests, “‘Social network sites risk infantilizing the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterized by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathize and a shaky sense of identity’” (Wintour). [C1] This shows that although said websites are revolutionary and convenient, a person’s quick-flashing screen could very well be distracting them from a much darker reality. [S2] However, as much as people argue that social networking is damaging to a person’s mental well-being, actual scientific studies have not yet confirmed those assertions. [E2] Instead, spending time online may be doing just the opposite, yielding positive results. [E2] Research by Moira Burke at the Human-Computer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University has shown that partaking in various online social activities, whether they be messaging friends or sharing pictures, can boost physical and psychological health, as well as provide an outlet for face-to-face relationships to blossom and grow stronger (Conger). [C2] This shows that the magnitude of benefits derived from participating in social networking sites easily overpower the miniscule worries of people who simply do not understand enough regarding the subject they are arguing about. [C] Moreover, social networking has as many beneficial aspects as it has users.

[TS] Perhaps one of the most important features of social networking is that it has been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of health problems. [E1] Sharon Jayson reported in 2009 that research from Scientific American Mind had revealed an array of advantages that could be derived from taking part in social networking sites. [E1] From substantially increased life enjoyment to added resistance to various illnesses, the then-new form of connection and communication was found to be wholly beneficial to people’s health and happiness (Jayson). [C1] If people can simply take a fraction of a minute out of their day to check in with friends and even post a picture, those small acts can benefit them immensely and improve their life overall. [S2] To add to that, additional essays from years prior also came to conclusions very much like the one previously mentioned. [E2] Those studies observed that “feeling like a part of a larger group helps in stroke recovery and memory retention and boosts overall well-being” (Jayson). [C2] Since social networks are made up of multiple people communicating with and affecting each other, online ones are extremely effective at manifesting those positive health benefits. People can measure the number of “friends” they have, and because it is often greater than the amount in real life, it makes them feel like part of an even bigger group than they normally do. Thus, they see more improvement in their health and more resistance from illnesses because of it. [C] The most crucial element of these wildly popular sites is in fact their amazing ability to reduce the risk of health-related issues and improve resilience against future ones.

            [TS] Another upside of social networking is that it helps build relationships and maintain preexisting ones. [E1] For example, Emily Neill, 39-year-old single mother of two, uses Facebook to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances since she is too busy to find time in her everyday life to meet up with them in person. [E1] Neill’s commented, “‘It makes you feel like you’re part of something even if you’re neglecting people in the flesh,’” (Davis). [C1] So although fellow internet users may not be in each other’s lives physically on a regular basis, it is virtually effortless for them to still have a presence in one another’s day-to-day existences in a digital form. [S2] In some cases, social networking sites might even be more efficient in forming and sustaining close relationships than actual face-to-face interaction. [E2] For instance, Neill commented that “Facebook has brought her closer to her already close friends, whom she has little time to see because of kids and work” (Davis). [E2] She claims that communicating with people over Facebook has allowed her to maintain strong friendships, and says, “’I know more about [my friends] now than I did when I was in regular contact with them’” (Davis). [C2] Unequivocally, using the internet to connect with another human being works wonders for keeping friends updated and relevant in each other’s lives, especially when there is no time to do so in person. [C] Overall, social networking sites allow individuals to maintain their relationships with the people around them and grow closer than ever before.

[TS] On top of those positive outcomes, online networking sites have also been found to improve a person’s mood and help them relieve stress. [E1] Researchers have discovered a link between mental well-being and use of social media. [E1] According to Moira Burke, a researcher at the Human-Computer Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, “‘the more people are engaged with Facebook by any measure, including number of friends, hours on the site or volume of sharing, the better they feel,’” (Conger). [C1] The better people feel, the better their life becomes overall, and who doesn’t want to improve their life? [S2] Additionally, a person’s social networking account can be used to help them alleviate stress. [E2] Burke said that “’[l]ooking at your own profile is self-affirming, so when you’re under stress, you’re better able to manage that stress. This artifact of your social life makes you feel better’” (Conger). [C2] Since people can create their profiles to look however they choose, from coming up with fun usernames to adding song lyrics to their about sections, they can express themselves in their online presence any way they want. [C] Likewise, the fact that social networking can assuage stress and lift emotional state makes it an extremely beneficial resource and enjoyable pastime.

[TS] Using social networking sites also teaches two valuable skills that are necessary knowledge in this digital age. [S1] The first one is of the technical variety, such as how to navigate the internet and articulate intelligent responses online. [E1] Lisa Tripp, an assistant professor at Florida State University, says that “’[c]ertain technical skills in the coming years are not going to be just about consuming media. It is also going to be about producing media. It is not just about writing a blog, but also how to leave comments that say something’” (Goff). [C1] “Producing media” is essential to the modern world, since interacting with other people and sharing information online is the key to a tech savvy society. [S2] The other skill social networking teaches fellow internet-users, specifically adolescents, is how to convey their online presence with sophistication to an audience through trial and error. [E2] Simplified, this means that “anything from a video clip to a profile page is going to reflect the self-expression skills one has, so teens might as well practice what will say who they are” (Goff). [C2] In this modern day and age, it is difficult for a person to find something that sets them apart and makes them unique, so engaging in social media is the perfect way to help further self-discovery and expression. [C]Furthermore, from the technical to the social side, online networking sites offer many valuable skills than can even be implemented in everyday life.

Most certainly, social networking’s ability to bring together and promote well-being makes it a revolutionary convenience that immediately improves the lives of all who use it. [1] Although some still oppose and others simply do not understand, the use of social media isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it is a much-needed gear in the intricate workings of today’s society and only continues to grow more popular. Without it, people would not have the means to interact and keep in touch from virtually anywhere on planet earth like they do today. And truly, a world where social networking doesn’t exist would be a sad, lonely place indeed.














                                                           Works Cited


Conger, Cristin. “Is Online Social Networking Good or Bad?” Discovery News, 28 Apr. 2010,



Davis, Lisa Selin. “Does Facebook Replace Face Time or Enhance It?” Time, 18 Jan. 2009,



Goff, Karen Goldberg. “Social Networking Benefits Validated.” The Washington Times, 28 Jan.




Jayson, Sharon. “Flocking Behavior Lands on Social Networking Sites.” USA Today, Gannett

            Satellite Information Network, 28 Sept. 2009,



Wintour, Patrick. “Facebook and Bebo Risk ‘Infantilising’ the Human Mind.” The Guardian,

            Guardian News and Media, 24 Feb. 2009,