Justin Lalputan, Broadside Correspondent

A British firm is ready to release a camera that will revolutionize social networking as we know it. Known as the SenseCam, it is worn around a person’s neck and is able to capture images every 30 seconds without manual operation, effectively allowing a person to effortlessly put every minute of their life on the Internet. Is this an example of people taking social networking too far?

This leads into the general debate about social networking sites: some say that social networking can be dangerous, others argue that it is beneficial and healthy to interact with others, even saying that there are positive aspects to social networking.

Now, with an item like the SenseCam, I beg the question: when is social networking taken too far?
The first problem that many people have with social networking is the issue of stalking. In this day and age, many sexual deviants find their prey not by prowling the streets, but rather by prowling social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.

In the Internet world, these deviants can silently search for and look at the multitude of pictures of young children and teens that are available on social networking sites.

To counter this statement, some suggest that while the pictures are up on display, not everyone has access to them. For example, on Facebook, users have the option of making their pages private, to only be viewable by people that they know and trust, though their profile picture is still viewable. Despite this fact, every year, there are young people who fall prey to sexual predators on social networking sites.

Even though social networks do have some negative aspects, they also have positive aspects as well. I know from first-hand experience that Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people that I otherwise would not be able to communicate with.

I have cousins in other countries that use Facebook to talk to me for free, as opposed to making expensive international phone calls.

I feel that social networking is a positive thing overall. As long as parents monitor exactly what their children do on the Internet, and also watch who they interact with, there should be fewer problems with child predators. Also, teens and grown adults need to be smarter about the type of material that they post on Facebook.

Sometimes employers may visit social networking sites in an attempt to view candidates for a job. Therefore, having that picture of you when you were wasted at a party as your profile picture may not be the smartest idea.

In the end, I think that social networking is taken too far when a person starts putting their life out there for everyone to see. It’s one thing for a person to show their mother a picture of the Christmas party they had with their grandparents, but it’s a completely different situation when a person starts showing you a picture of them skinny dipping to complete strangers. Not only is that unnecessary, but iit can be dangerous.

Common sense is the best policy when it comes to social networking. If you post something on the Internet, make sure it’s something that you wouldn’t show to a random stranger on campus, because there is a chance that they could actually see it.

Social networking can be a great tool to connect people to those they care about, but at the same time it can have an extremely negative impact on them, if they choose to misuse it. It can be a scary thing when someone goes from following you on Twitter, to following you home.