In recent years, the growth of Social Networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. has been phenomenal and it is still continuing to grow.

Across the globe, the audience for social media services has risen 25% between August 2007 and August 2008, according to comScore.

Facebook, the mother of social networking sites, is reportedly on track to having half of the UK population registered as members in the near future and the average user is said to use the site for a quite astounding 6 hours a month.

And this only looks set to increase, with the recent figures showing that, in the past year, the number of unique visits has risen by 107% from January 2008 to January 2009.

The other Social Network contenders, MySpace and Bebo, are also continuing to expand, but at a fraction of the rate of the leader, Facebook.

It is also a similar story for Twitter as in the space of just one year the Twitter traffic has increased by a whopping 974% in the UK alone, which is estimated as four to six million people now Twittering.

Social Networking sites may seem harmless enough and you could even say that they should be good for the population, as they are encouraging people to be more ‘sociable’.

However recent news articles and television coverage would strongly disagree. With the Daily Mail recently writing an article called ‘How using Facebook could raise your risk of Cancer‘ and many more claiming that social networking sites are in fact very bad for your health.

Judging by some of the incoherent rambling you see on Twitter, we would have to agree – it clearly affects the brain!

Should people be more careful with how and when they use social media sites?

Doctors are claiming that the social networking web sites are not encouraging users to be more sociable, at least not in the conventional way anyway, as they are having less and less face-to-face contact with actual human beings, which is consequently damaging their health.

Social Media was originally designed for people to share their thoughts and views about different topics with other members, and also share content, links, photos and videos etc.

It is now used by a lot of businesses to target wider audiences and niches that would primarily be hard to reach, as a marketing tool to promote their products / services.

It’s now proven that these web sites are encouraging people to isolate themselves from the world, without really realising the effect that is it having on their mind.

Users still feel that they are interacting with people but this isolation can, it appears, cause a host of health problems and could dramatically effect your mental performance.

However, with more and more people becoming familar with these services and registering to the web sites it is becoming more attractive as a marketing platform for business owners.

As an SEO Agency, we promote the advantages of using social media as an effective marketing tool.

However you need to get the balance right and consider the implications it can have on your health and definitely not allow them to take over your life.