Let me just be clear from the very start, I know that in the world today there is a need for social networking, at least to some degree. People use these sites for connecting with loved ones around the world, keeping up with old friends, for promotional purposes (maybe one day, after I get a publishing deal, I might look into that), or just for fun. There are so many different sites out there, it started with Myspace, then expanded to school’s with Facebook (which of course became public), then site after site popped up! Even LinkedIn, which is a site for job seekers and a way to stay connected with co-workers, is basically a huge social networking site, yet as they say in business, it is all about networking. Over time and as the popularity of the sites continue to grow and shift between age groups, one has to wonder how helpful or harmful are they?
Being of my generation, it seems almost weird for me to say, but I am not a fan of the social networking sites. I used to be one that liked being on Facebook to see what my friends were doing, where they were going, or what jokes were funny, but then of course there is always drama!! Why do people care so much who is friends with whom?
“Oh my gosh did you see the Becky unfriended Tina?!”
“OMG I know right, what is up with that?!”
I can just hear a conversation like this, heck I have been a part of a conversation like this! I feel it is ridiculous to worry about who is your friend on a social site, especially when they aren’t even your friend in real life. Why do I need to know what my first grade friend is doing now, when we haven’t talked in almost 20 years? “It’s cool”, people have told me, but I have friends now, with my busy life, that I don’t get to see or talk that much too, so why try to go and worry about someone I don’t even know anymore? To me, it seems a little absurd.
Also sites such as these are breeding grounds for hostile behavior. We are no longer actually connected on these sites and bullies are cowards so this gives them the perfect platform to spread hate and malice. Most times people can see a video, find it funny, like it and then it becomes a viral hit, when one never knows just how much someone else could be hurting from it. There have been countless stories of teens taking their own life or those around them because they have been bullied online. A good site for help for events such as this is: Stop Bullying, it offers tips and support. For me, this is the worst thing to come out of these sites, although I realize this is not necessarily the norm, an issue like this must be addressed when looking at social sites.
I know that I am speaking to a generation and honestly I am a part of a generation that thrives off of the power of social networks and yes I do see the benefits of them just as I recognize the harm. Sometimes we are not able to see loved ones, so being able to keep up with what your niece or nephew is doing half a world away, yes that is an amazing ability. With all the technology that keeps being created we have smart phones and even our computers with webcams that can make video calls, why not keep in actual contact by calling regularly? Why do we rely on virtual contact over real interactions?
I am a huge fan of the movie The Social Network that stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook. I don’t think their could have been a better representation of just how unconnected our social networking sites are. This movie of course must be taken with a grain of salt, but like most great ideas, Facebook was slightly if not blatantly stolen by Zuckerburg. He was a man geared on creating perfection in a social network and he didn’t need nor did he give much care to anyone around him. How can we use something that is created out of greed and ambition and lack of care for human interaction and say it’s the greatest thing ever invented for it? Of course, it was business for him and there is no team nor much care in doing business, it’s about the money, so how much of that mentality went into the actual creation and execution of the product?
With social networks, majority of what we are doing is feeding big business. Facebook and Myspace are ways of making people rich and those who created it are just getting richer. How did we connect before, by actually connecting? Why is that not good enough anymore? Are social networks the answer for creating a more social society or for creating a society that no longer actually connects? Go out into the world and see how many people actually are “connecting”? How many people even notice you over their smartphones or checking their “friends” status? Are we becoming a more connected world or just creating a greater barrier between ourselves and the society we live in?
- Social Networking (annieluu26.wordpress.com)
- Connect and disconnect: Internet addiction is disturbing Indore (dnaindia.com)
- Digital Media: Is social networking a tool in making new friends as well as enemies? (eloisecollins94.wordpress.com)