Information technology has revolutionised the mode and pace of our interactions worldwide; the social networking sites being one of the most interesting and fast growing communication interfaces of the decade. Technically speaking a social networking service is usually an online service, which focuses on building social networks amongst people who share common interests and activities; users interact over the Internet through e-mail and instant messaging. Some popular global social networking sites include Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Nexopia , StudiVZ and Tuenti.
Social networking sites are nowadays virtually acting as distribution channels for business and marketing activities of the corporate houses; they support faster communication at reduced costs. Corporate recruitment and promotional activities are increasingly being carried out through these sites. Companies are also using them as customer relationship management tools. These sites provide inputs to the firms about the fast changing consumer preferences and choices. The flip side of the story is that it entails exchange of unnecessary information; security and privacy issues are also involved.
The growing prominence of social networks has changed the method of recruitment in many organisations. Detailed personal information contained in the profiles helps companies to pinpoint specific skillets and recruit individuals who would be most suited to their requirements. The process is faster, cost efficient, and promotes better management of the recruitment process. Disadvantages include information overload, exclusion of applicants not using the Internet, and an impersonal process of recruitment. Amongst all the networking sites, Linkedin is the numero uno in recruitment; Facebook comes second, while Twitter is a close third. Currently, Linkedin has more than 101 million users over 200 countries, Facebook over 750 million and Twitter has more than 75 million users. The significance of social networking sites as an interface for business and recruitment purposes is bound to increase in future. This channel holds great opportunities; infact, we might see company policies exclusively designed to suit the online platforms. According to an annual social recruitment survey 2011 by ‘Jobvite’-an online service that helps businesses utilise the resources of social networking sites-89 percent of business enterprises plan to recruit through the social media this year, as compared to 83 percent in 2010.