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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
 
Online social networking is becoming incredibly popular day by day. It attracts millions of Internet users every day since social networking sites such as Facebook, Friendster and MySpace can be used to serve many purposes. Business people use social networking sites as a marketing tool while university administrators use them as a tool for communication with students and staff. One of the most famous social networking sites is Facebook as proven by statistics in a report by Alexa.com, a web information company based in the United States. Facebook ranks first among the 100 top sites surfed by Malaysians. There are several advantages of online networking inclusive of cost, credibility and connectivity, but it is time consuming!

Cost matters to most people. Therefore, using online social networking is the best way to communicate with people in the world since it is cheap. In a social networking site, an entrepreneur can scout out potential customers and target markets with just a few clicks online which cost less and adds a boost to conventional advertisements and promotional strategies. For example, a film producer spends thousands of ringgit to produce an advertisement about his movie. Then he spends a lot more to advertise his movie on television. However, by using social networking sites, the advertisement can be advertised at a minimal cost. It will also allow him to get immediate feedback and comments which can be tremendous. For a business person, this is the best way to move forward whether on a budget or not.

For personal users, social networking sites can be used to keep friends and relatives close. By posting a status on Facebook wall, friends who are studying in Melbourne, for example, will know what you are doing in Malaysia without incurring cost. This is much cheaper than making a phone call which can be rather expensive. If there are photos to be shared with friends, you can just upload them and then tag your friends no matter where they are. They will receive immediate notification of the uploading. So this saves you from printing photos and mailing them to your friends. Further, it may take weeks for photos to reach your friends overseas. Thus with online networking, you do not have to spend a lot of money to keep in touch with friends and relatives.

In business, gaining customers' trust is very important. That is why many companies, no matter how big or small, have created a social network page to make sure they can post information about their products or answer queries. If you are able to gauge your customers' interest on both the personal and professional levels, you will definitely gain their confidence. As long as you do not push your customers too aggressively, you will do well online.

Having an online social network account also helps you build new connections. You become friends with people who have other friends. You may get connected virtually with friends of friends by searching your friends' lists. You may also create your own web of connections that can give you leverage if you play your cards well. As long as you give as well as receive, your 'new friends' will most likely stick with you. These connections are valuable in the long term.

However, being an online social networking user would just be a waste of time if you are not into technology. This is because you have to become an active member of the community and spend a lot of time building up your reputation. The key to social networking is to enjoy and have fun whether you are doing it for business or for other purposes.

For personal users, being online on social networking sites without discipline and control can create problems. According to studies conducted by researchers in the United States, users who do not control their online activities, especially on social networking sites get addicted to these social networking sites. Hence, a mother might neglect her children and household chores or school-going children do not complete their homework all because they want to be online, 'update' their status on the Facebook wall and comment on others' status.

In conclusion, it is up to you to consider whether you would like or dislike to be a user of online social networking sites by weighing the pros and cons of online social networking. However, if you choose not to be a user and do not have a Facebook account, do not blame your grandchildren if they do not call you up to ask after your welfare. So what are you waiting for? Start Facebooking now!

     
    What do the following words or phrases refer to in the passage ?
  1. it ( paragraph I )
  2. This ( paragraph III )
  3. their ( paragraph IV )
  4. they ( paragraph VII )
     
    Using contextual clues, find a word with the same meaning as the following words from the passage.
  1. credibility ( paragraph I )
  2. boost ( paragraph II )
  3. immediate ( paragraph II )
  4. gauge ( paragraph IV )
     
    Answer the questions below based on the passage.
  1. In your opinion, why should entrepreneurs in Malaysia use Facebook as their marketing tool ?
  2. What are the advantages of marketing a product using online social networking sites ?
  3. How can someone build connections using social networking sites ?
  4. Based on the passage, what will happen if a person does not control his/her usage of online social networking sites ?
  5. What does the author mean when he says, 'it is up to you to consider whether you would like or dislike to be a user of online social networking sites by weighing the pros and cons of online social networking.'
     
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    Answers
     
1.   online networking
2.   posting a status on Facebook's wall
3.   the companies
4.   a mother and school students'
     
1.   believability, trustworthy
2   raise
3.   instant, quick
4.   judge
     
1.   Facebook ranks first among 100 top sites surfed by Malaysians, and it is cheap.
2   It is cheaper and entrepreneurs will get immediate feedback about their product.
3.   By connecting themselves virtually with friends of friends by searching their friends' lists.
4.   He/She will become addicted to online social networking sites.
5.   We have to think whether to use online social networking or against it as long as we consider the benefits and negative impacts of using it.
     
 
 
 
 

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