Você está na página 1de 4

Brey Brisbane WR 13300-04 Professor Milberger 22 February 2013 Final Draft Social Networking Not So Social In the last

few years, online social networking has become extremely popular. From MySpace, to Facebook, to Twitter, almost everyone is expected to be a part of at least one of these sites. Even the Pope has an official Twitter account. Many believe that these new social outlets connect people more than ever before. Now from the surface this seems logical, but once the virtual world meets the actual world many do not know how to interact with each other, and frequently choose not to interact at all. I for one have over 1,700 Facebook friends, yet I would probably only say hello to 300 of them if I saw them out in public. This is only 17 percent of my Facebook friends. Why is this? There is clearly a disconnect here. It is possible that these social networking sites are stripping our generation of our communication skills. Despite the apparent connectivity of social networking sites, the majority of the relationships developed on these sites do not manifest into healthy real-world relationships. It is time to step away from the computer and shake a hand rather than add a friend. Before social media sites came about, face-to-face encounters were commonplace, and necessary if you wanted to build a substantial relationship with a person. If you wanted to say something clever to combat an argument, you had to say it within the flow of the conversation. If you wanted to lie to deceive the person your

talking to, you had to be convincing in your body language and your tone of voice. In these times you could not hide behind a screen and a keyboard. Today, everything has changed in the world of communication. There are dozens of social media sites with millions of people on them. It appears like a perfect formula for ultimate connectivity potential. However, you can have too much a good thing. Social media sites are often cluttered with a bunch of people the user has little to no interest in connecting with, yet the user still accepts them to be a part of their social media experience (Olanoff). On Facebook for example, there is an unspoken etiquette that if a user meets someone once, and then they friend request the user, the user is expected to accept them. Over time users acquire a collection of people they have met once, which leads to their timelines being occupied by people they share no common interests with. Now I am not saying there is no chance that you take some of these encounters and turn them into actual meaningful relationships, but I can speak from personal experience that most of them do not lead to much. Yet, these empty connections seem not to bother social media users because the sites are still being used. It is possible that people are content with these empty relationships as long as they appear to have a large amount of connections. This thinking speaks to the shallowness of our generation. In a survey taken by Good Mobile Phones in late 2011 concerning why people were Facebook friends with people they did not know well, 54 percent said they were being polite, and 34 percent said they kept them to look more popular. (Cohen). The point of social networking is to connect with people in a convenient fashion, but essentially it is really all about the user. When a user posts something on their wall or tweets something, it is all about their opinions and their experiences. When a user posts a

picture, it is all about how they look, and what they are doing in that picture. When a user has not posted something in a while, they get an email from Facebook, asking what they are thinking about. This constant focus on the user can breed selfishness, and make people do things you wouldnt usually do. Perception is everything in social media. People take pride in having a large amount of Facebook friends because of the perception that comes with it. People think that a person with a lot of Facebook friends must be very sociable, popular and interesting. These are all things people strive to be, or at least strive to be perceived as such. This is why people are willing to sacrifice actual meaningful relationships, for a plethora of superficial worthless ones. With this thinking in place it makes it hard for actual relationships to be developed. Matthew Brashears, A Cornell University Sociologist, came to the same conclusion after surveying over 2000 adults. He found from 1985 to 2010 the amount of close friends cited by people dropped from three friends to 2.03 friends. Forty-eight percent of participants only listed having one close friend. This means since the appearance of online social networking sites nearly fifty percent of people have two fewer close friends than before online social networking sites existed (Potter). Baroness Greenfield, the former director of the Royal Institute, quoted statistics that stated more than half of thirteen to seventeen year olds now spend more than thirty hours a week using video games, computers, e-readers, mobile phones, and other screen based technology (Paton). With these statistics in mind, it is apparent that a large amount of teenagers time is invested into these social technology tools. Because of this, children are beginning to show signs of regression in communication development. With all this new technology, a rewiring of the human brain could be manifesting. A survey of

secondary English teachers revealed that more than seventy five percent of the teachers thought their students attention spans were shorter than ever before (Paton). With the majority of students attention being focused on technological social media, they now struggle with anything that is not presented to them via a screen. This includes the development of meaningful relationships. The idea of online social networking appears beneficial, but in many ways it is flawed. What makes it flawed is not the design itself, but the flawed users who use it. Our constant need for reinforcement of self-worth combined with our desire for convenience couples to make online social networking an inefficient system. Now there are some upsides to social networking, such as promotion, but on a personal level it does not suffice. I suggest that users power down their computers, and begin to get familiar with genuine face-to-face communication. In the job market physical people skills are what make the biggest impressions, not your ability to instant message. When it comes down to peer-to-peer relations, there is only so much that can be shared between two computers screens. And many get too tangled up in a web of meaningless relationships, to even get that point. Too many connections lead to disconnection in the wonderful online world of social networking.