Social Networking is changing every day. New ways to communicate and interact through online networks is a trend that is so immensely popular that it is harder and harder to keep up with this new technology. People spend such countless hours using social networking for business use and personal use that many people have become dependent on modern technology and social networking for their everyday lives. What then is the cause for this social networking craze?
The social networking craze is based on popularity and trendiness just as fashion is based on the same principles. People are always looking for the next best thing that catches their attention with new features, looks and customizability. In “MySpace, Facebook, and other Social Networking Sites: Hot Today, Gone Tomorrow? ” by multiple authors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the authors wrote that “success of these (social networking) sites will depend on their ability to retain the interest of their members. Websites such as MySpace are examples of websites that at one time had many users and were one of the biggest social networking sites worldwide; However in recent years, websites such as Facebook, and twitter have taken over the spotlight and made MySpace the old toy nobody wants to play with anymore. (352) People are always trying to create new social networking websites to compete with the current websites that have millions of users. For a website to be successful, it must first appeal to the users’ liking. Users like websites which are easy to use and interact with, have sleek designs, have new features, and catch the users’ interest.
Once a website has achieved all of that, it must continue to keep up with trends or users will get bored very quickly and move on to the next newest thing. Social Networking can be very useful in interacting and keeping up with family and friends, even ones across the world, but with all good things, someone must ask “how does it hurt how we live our lives? ” The average American spends approximately 5 hours per month on social networking sites; however, some users can spend much more time on networking sites and develop an addiction that takes control of their lives and makes them become dependent on them to find fulfillment in their lives.
According to Theodora Stites’ article “Someone to Watch Over Me,” Theodora checks her instant messenger, e-mail, messages, bulletins, invitations, friend requests, comments phone messages, Facebook, Nerve, MySpace, and Friendster before even brushing her teeth in the morning. Why must Stites spend numerous hours on so many social networking sites? “I need to belong to all of them because each one enables me to connect to people with different levels of social intimacy” Stites says.
The worse problem, however, is the addiction to social networking that leaves someone incapable of communicating in the real world (358). Social Networking is being relied on by people too much and consequently they aren’t able to communicate as effectively in the real world and don’t learn what to do without it. In “Social Networking Sites – A Critical analysis of Its Impact on Personal Social Life” the authors state that “Social networking users face severe health risks because they reduce face-to-face contact and become addicted in a virtual world of relationships. Sherry Turkle writes about the use of cellphones by kids in her article “Living Online: I’ll Have to Ask My Friends,” and says “the adolescent does not have the experience of being alone, of having only him or herself to count on” (223). Social Networking is becoming a place where people can have a voice without argument; that can be viewed as a good thing, but also creates a problem as to people not being able to voice themselves in the real world for fear of people judging and being argumentative with them. It can also affect productivity in the workplace.
Employees spending numerous hours on social networking sites can decrease productivity and cause problems for businesses who are paying the employees to sit on the computer and not get any work done. Self-control can be the key to solving many problems, especially when it comes to social networking. In “Social Networking Sites – A Critical analysis of Its Impact on Personal Social Life” the authors also state that according to U. S. Internet activity in January of 2010, users spent an average of 7 hours a month on Facebook.
By limiting how much time you spend on social networking, and creating a balance between online interaction and real interaction, social networking can become a great part of life. (224) How does it help how we live our lives? No matter what people say about how bad social networking is, it can also be very helpful for communicating with people around the world which in some cases would never have been possible without social networks. In some places, communication by telephone is either nonexistent or can be extremely costly. With social etworks, all someone has to have is a computer and an internet connection, and no matter where in the world that person is, communication is right at his/her fingertips. In some circumstances, social networks can also provide more productivity in workplaces. In a controlled environment, employees would be able to send messages, pictures, video, etc. to other employees within a matter of seconds to someone around the world. Video conferences are becoming more and more popular. Businesses, instead of sending an employee on a long and expensive business trip, can rather communicate through a video conference in a matter of minutes.
Why is there an emotional dependency on social networking? Addiction can cause emotional ties to social networks, just as Theodora Stites became dependent on social networks in order to communicate and interact with individuals. Once the emotional dependence is taken away they don’t know how to interact or live without that online interaction where everything feels safer to them. What can we expect from the future of social networking? Developers will always be pushing to find the next best thing to top all others. In “Social Networking through the Ages,” Stephen Fry writes “How does this help us predict the Next Big Thing?
That’s what everyone wants to know, if only because they want to make heaps of money from it. ” Facebook has become a multi-billion dollar company; it is worth approximately $50 billion dollars which makes upcoming entrepreneurs very interested in what can be gained in the land of social networking (364). Social Networking isn’t for everybody, and that is okay. I respect the people who don’t feel the need to be bogged down by the need to be a part of a social network. It frees up a lot of time that those people can use to pick up hobbies.
In “Faceless on Facebook,” Kate Beals wrote that “After great urging from my younger, hipper friends, I gave into pressure and registered on Facebook. ” After setting up her Facebook and finding out what it was all about, she “stopped altogether. ” She wrote, “My life is too busy to think so much about myself—or worry about what I am saying about myself. ” One does not need to be a part of a social network in order to be in the loop with what’s going on in the world; however, those who are part of a social network can benefit by easily knowing what their friends are up to, where events are occurring, what’s going on in the news, etc. 369-370). One of the issues to be aware of on social network is the issue of cybercriminals. With more and more people using social networks, it is becoming easier for cybercriminals to steal user’s identity and information. Cybercriminals feel safer stealing information and people’s identities because they can hide behind computers and have more success that they normally wouldn’t have in the real world. Pedophiles have also been using social networks to lure in their victims.
In “Social Networking Sites – A Critical analysis of Its Impact on Personal Social Life” the authors write, “Teens easily believe in Love with the person they met online but actually they are falling into a trap of sexual predator” (225-226). Some people may be thinking “How does this affect me, and what should I be doing? ” Well for one, becoming addicted to social networking can become a serious problem. It can start to control your life and determine how you live your life.
I’ve seen numerous people become addicted to computer use and social networking that when put in a group of people have panic attacks and don’t know how to interact with other people because they are so used to being safe behind a screen. Online interaction can be a marvelous thing in moderation, just like all addiction. Before you create a Facebook, MySpace, twitter, etc. or even if you are already a part of one or many social networking sites, you should ask yourself how important it is to you and to evaluate yourself to make sure you will not become addicted to social networks.
Make sure that you also only accept friend requests from people you know in real life, and even then one should be careful that someone is not posing as someone you know, but in reality is an internet thief looking to steal your information or who might even be a sexual predator. A scheduled time to review your friends list might be a good idea to make sure you are not being victimized by cybercriminals. Checking your friends list once a month can help make being a victim of a cybercrime less likely.
“MySpace, Facebook, and Other Social Networking Sites: Hot Today, Gone Tomorrow?” Writing and Reading: English 1020 and English 1050, Custom Edition for Terra State Community College. Boston: Pearson/Longman/Custom, 2011. 352-356. Print.
Beals, Kate “Faceless on Facebook” Writing and Reading: English 1020 and English 1050, Custom Edition for Terra State Community College. Boston: Pearson/Longman/Custom, 2011. 368-370. Print.
Das, Biswajit, and Jyoti Shankar Sahoo. “Social Networking Sites –A Critical Analysis of Its Impact on Personal and Social Life.” International Journal Of Buisness ;Social Science 2.14 (2011): 222-228. Buisness Source Complete. Web.
Fry, Stephen “Social Networking Through the Ages” Writing and Reading: English 1020 and English 1050, Custom Edition for Terra State Community College. Boston: Pearson/Longman/Custom, 2011. 363-364. Print.
Rosen, Christine “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism” Writing and Reading: English 1020 and English 1050, Custom Edition for Terra State Community College. Boston: Pearson/Longman/Custom, 2011. 372-380. Print. Stites, Theodora. “Someone To Watch Over Me” Writing and Reading: English 1020 and English 1050, Custom Edition for Terra State Community College. Boston: Pearson/Longman/Custom, 2011. 358-361. Print.
Turkle, Sherry “Living Online: I’ll Have to ask my Friends” Writing and Reading: English 1020 and English 1050, Custom Edition for Terra State Community College. Boston: Pearson/Longman/Custom, 2011. 364-367. Print.