By employing the term “social networking sites,” the media is doing a disservice to most people who participate on these sites. The connotation, especially to non-participants, is that people are running around these sites meeting strangers (… who are predators). EEK! We don’t want to think of our teens as networking with unknowns. (Moral panic ensues.) The verb form gives off a problematic impression and it obfuscates what people actually do on these sites. Most folks hang out with their friends. They go there to model their social network, not to engaging in social networking. (LinkedIn and other professional sites are different.)
I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.