Facebook- Friend or Foe?

If I were to take a poll of how many people have heard of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or any other social networking site, I could already tell you the results. EVERYONE has heard of them, and most participate on at least one of them, if not more.

Social Networking is defined as “internet web sites that allow users to create personal profiles, upload pictures, create lists of favorite things, and post messages to connect with old friends and meet new ones,” according to my all-knowing Media and Culture textbook.

Through some research I found a question that I feel really is the main question social networking boils down to: “Is social networking socially enhancing or socially isolating?”

If you want to take a look at the site I found on this topic, feel free.

There are many pros and cons of social networking (as you can see, if you go to the site *hint*).

The pros they discuss are staying connected, meeting new people, and conduction business. I think these are all pros, but also cons.

Staying connected is great, but there is no need for me to stay connected with someone I met at a party one night, that I will never see again. Yet, most of the time after a party you will have at least a few friend requests waiting for you the next morning.

Now, let’s talk about meeting new people. I know there are wonderful fairytale stories of people meeting online and falling in love, but for every story that ends happily there is one that ends horribly.

Rapists, and other criminals can easily pretend to be someone they aren’t and take advantage of the fact that you cant see them online. This is a worrisome thought for adults, but also for kids who don’t know any better, and are merely to trusting at their age.

Conducting business I actually don’t have many conflicts with. Although it loses the people-to-people interactions that I find to be a fun part of business, it does open the markets to wider audiences, which could end up really helping out the economy one day.

Not only is it affection business, but communications. Newspapers, magazines, TV shows, Movies and more can now all be found online. I don’t think this new phenomena will kill the communications market, but it will definitely have a huge impact that will make companies have to adjust to the new demands.

The cons the site talks about are social depression, loneliness, and depression. To me that all basically means that by spending our time on the the computer and our phones looking at pictures of people we don’t know, and having conversations without seeing the others face, completely kills our social skills.

We spend time looking at people instead of being out in the real world, meeting new people. Sure, we can meet people online, but that just brings me back to my point that you can never really trust someone you meet online.

Talking to someone on the computer is completely different that in person. If you disagree, feel free to argue me, but I believe there won’t be too many of you.

When you are talking to someone via texting, IMing, or Facebook-ing you have time to sit and think about what you are going to say. When you get thrown back into the real world you loose your quickness to respond and often think too much about your response when it should just come naturally.

So, after hearing my argument, tell me what you think.

Is online social networking socially enhancing, or socially isolating?



~ by erinnhesse on March 28, 2010.

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