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Social Networking: Does modern day networking sites make people unsocial?
There is vast difference noticeable in the behavior of youngsters and middle aged persons today that was not observed about two decades ago. Then it was mostly outdoors and hangouts with friends in person, more games, and more real socialization and formation of peer and following groups, clubs and hobbies that involved social interactions and learning. While the TV and radio did make adverse impact, it did not keep people from other pursuits but the advent of internet has changed human life like never before. Some of the concerns that have to be addressed in the use of modern gadgets are the addiction and psychological pressure that people get -- commonly called the technology overload. Individuals get pressurized in using the gadgets as in the work place or for pleasure that leads to a kind of addiction having negative consequences.
The second aspect is the social isolation the youth are experiencing if those youth have computer, and one aspect is gaming and the other is the internet. Earlier the internet was just a network that one used to send mail and often chat with a stray cat that one found online. But the situation changed with what came to be called the 'social network sites'. Now things have progressed so far that persons learn of what the next door man is up to and get invited to events only by the Facebook page. There is lesser and lesser interaction between persons directly and most of the youth spend time clicking away in a shady corner of the house rather than go and punt a football. 'Achievements' are no more academic but what the social site targets and calls achievement. "I have four thousand followers of Twitter" is a great achievement than I got A grade in mathematics. Today what one eats, what one wears and what is the best course of action, and even help is done and influenced by the social sites. Is this good for us? The technology cannot be eliminated, but the fall out can be contained. Thus the evil of addiction must be contained. Hence the question -- is it good or bad? Prima facie it appears quite wrong. The thesis therefore is:
Thesis Statement: "Social networking/the internet makes people unsocial and damages human relationships and/or communities."
Though the thesis appears closed to the possibilities of the benefit of electronic networks, one must not assume that the proposal is to shut oneself off from these advantages. Salt does have its uses, but in moderation. Let us then examine the views o those who are alarmed by the advent of these networks, before entering the actual arguments. The earlier generation, who grew up with football, dating and TV, and perhaps appreciated Bach more than the MP3 rock music that is downloaded from the net can be a reference point: Amy Goldwasser, the editor of the 'Red' Teenage magazine for girls: speaks up for the new generation. She goes on to note that the new generation is not interested in reading books, writing or books. They are more interested in the electronic media, texting and online communications. They are more addicted to iPods than the society that they have to live in. while they have become good record keepers and adepts at email, blogging and writing their thoughts out on blogs, and have become bloggers and keepers of their lives online, they have lost the basic touch of their culture and the internet has taken over the class room. (Goldwasser, "Red' Teenage magazine for girls")
At this rate in future a generation will grow up without the fundamental knowledge of the 'Three R' sand also the fact that about 16 or so hours of a teen per day is spent online. There are thus tragic pockets of ignorance developing in the young. That there is an alarming tendency that is to be found with the latest developments cannot be brushed aside. Now the question is what is so powerful and attractive with these media that they have a whole generation the world over hooked to them? The causes are many, and therefore at this juncture it becomes necessary o dissect the very concept social media and see what type of animal it is and the possible reasons why like the Pied Piper attracting rats, it attracts the young to stay always- about sixteen hours of a day in its' confines.
Social Network: What it is-
Social media is defined as public operated and mostly free services on the electronic section which is interactive, and sometimes not interactive. This includes sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other blogs and sites that allow users to post content and access them free. In modern times the cloud computing technology has virtually created private and public shared systems that can be accessed by selected individuals or whole groups or even the whole world. (Chartered Institute of Public Relations Social Media Panel, 102)
The interest in the social media begins in 2006 when Swift media published the world's first social media news release. These were attempts to use the media for the public relation venture of firms. Thus PR Newswire, Source Wire, PRWeb, Real Wire and a host of special services sprouted that features releases from the PR of companies and commercial news. The next step was the creation of online news rooms, chat forums and public interaction sites and blogs. This argument can be taken further to show that today about half of the adult internet users have used a search engine to look up their name and see what information was available about them online, while the younger user who is active online are often the self appointed PROs for issues and concerns and also are reputation managers in several dimensions. Many social networking users share what they see online. (Chartered Institute of Public Relations Social Media Panel, 102)
Has it affected the youth?
A research published by Kord shows that the social sites are not good for academic and intellectual development. (Kord, 19) Thus online social networking was a negative influence on college students, about 125 of whom were to enrol or re-enrol in a college with habits of social media use was studied, and it was established that the students who average of 2.5 hours on online social networking websites showed significant correlation with quantitative evidence that online social networking influences first-year residential students thus making it a potent factor in decisions to remain or drop out of college. This research may be indicative of one side of the equation. However there is more to show that the net is affecting young persons. For example, Cooper, et al. have conducted a research where they have been successful in showing that there is a new genera of psychological being called 'online sexuality' never found before. (Cooper, et. al, 53)
The internet has changed not only the perceptions of sexuality, but also has changed the way humans found relationships. The thesis goes on to show that today the internet relationships affect face-to-face or real interpersonal relationships, and has brought to the fore the problems of the new alternative communities and sexually disenfranchised people. One of the major problems in this regard is the commercial aspects of internet, and it shall be dealt with below. However the commercialization of sexuality, according to the research creates moral, and productivity problems besides the decrease of interpersonal skills. These sites that are based on sexual themes have the tendency to increase the pathological aspects of cyber sexual behavior according to Cooper. (Cooper, et. al, 54) A paper by Fusco et al., who have of late researched on the latest location-based social networking -- LBSN applications, warn that the new tool is utmost dangerous. The reason is that it is a convergence between location-based services -- LBS and online social networking -- OSN. (Fusco; Michael; Aloudat; Abbas, 18)
With this a person will have the service to be able to track the exact location of a friend, using a smart phone, or any computer. The users invite friends and so a circle is formed in the research the potential impact of LBSN upon trust in society was studied and the researchers found that there is more willingness from the users to share their location data with any one like family, friends, commercial entities and even strangers. People are now sharing their data and location with the persons they trust and are reluctant to trust the government and co-workers. What would be the implications? (Chartered Institute of Public Relations Social Media Panel, 37)
In future it may bring about more stalkers, cyber criminals and persons who wish to know the details of another person for malicious purposes to the fore. The real villain behind the spread of social network is not the technology per se, but the villains are the companies that make use of these sites for commercial gain. There are more marketing books written for…[continue]
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