The origin of social networking can be related to social gathering which started even before the internet was invented. It was derived from the life style of people and relationship among different age groups, society and people sharing similar interests.
Today social networking have improved in such a way that people do not need to travel miles to gather or network with others. The internet technology have made it very easy for people to meet, share ideas, make friends and relate with one another. To some people, social networking today is a good influence and to others it is said to be a bad influence, but we all know that everything comes with advantages and shortcomings in life.
The usefulness of social networks today cannot be bypassed. It has become so useful that it affects the life of both the young and old, organizations and the world at large.

It has become a good source of information
A friend making tool
Social life tool
Dating tool
Educating & learning tool
Marketing tool
Social networks affect our lives in these and many more ways not listed. Before the invention of online social networks, people had pen pals which was basically friendship by pen writing, but now people in different parts of the world can chat, share materials and relate virtually using social networks. There are many social networks online today including the popular ones; Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and upcoming ones like; chathour, Cleakstar and many more.

Today, we can all say that social networking have contributed positively to the way we live our lives. But what are the side effects or disadvantages of social networking in our everyday live?
Some people are now using it as a crime committing and abusive tool. Some have been hurt from using social networks and even harmed from the use of social networks. Many have turned it into a scamming tool, sexual harassment tool and all other social vices.

Even with these side effects, the usefulness of social networks can never be overlooked in this age. People can avoid or cub the bad influence of social networking by;

Educating others on the positive sides and usefulness of social networks
Controlling age groups that are allowed to access it
Penalizing those who abuse the use of social networks

Author's Bio: 

I am a web developer/software engineer who loves writing to educate and entertain.