Monday, October 18, 2010

Social Media

To me, social media such as Facebook and MySpace are as important as the mobile phone or email. Social media has opened up an entire new gateway of connectivity and now allows for people to be constantly connected.

I find social media a blessing, in particular Facebook. I am well aware there is fierce debate as to Facebook's usefulness versus its negative impact on social behavior, but to me I think it is almost as revolutionary as the phone. With Facebook today, we are able to stay connected with hundreds of people and also connect with new people. We are able to share photos and music and create events and groups. I am not a Facebook fanatic, far from it, I don't spend my free time browsing it waiting to get the latest news from my news feed. I use Facebook as a tool. If I want to leave someone a message that is not urgent I will use Facebook, if I want to invite friends to an event that is happening I will use Facebook, if I hear a new song I like, I will share it on Facebook. Facebook for me is a utility, and a useful one at that.

I am well aware of those who are skeptical of Facebook and other social networking and media sites, who argue that these social media sites are destroying our social culture and invading our privacy and I have to say I agree with some of what they have to say. I do not feel like it is destroying our social culture, however I do feel it is changing it, and maybe not in the most positive way. When you speak to someone from one end of a computer to another, you are not face to face and the consequences of what you say are far less dear then if you were having the conversation in person. To me when you sit behind the keyboard you become a 'social hard man'. You say things you would never say in person because you know the consequences will be far less severe and to me this is changing the way we interact with each other. Real life relationships are becoming far more shallow as we find it difficult to have deep conversations with each other in person. As compared to twenty five years ago when face to face was almost the only way to tell your other half it wasn't working, or to iron out complications, today we can simply text or IM in an extremely informal manner, which to me is ruining our social interaction. In terms of my relationships I try as best I can to keep my relationships as real as possible and address any problems or deeper conversations in person in order to retain that sense of "being real". I find it extremely sad to see friends end a relationship by simply clicking a button on Facebook and I fear if things continue to go this way future generations will lose out on a plethora of emotions that are felt when two people interact together in person.

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