We find ourselves in the midst of a rapidly growing phenomenon that we call “social networking.” What once was an enigma to most people has now grown into a common household topic.
Words began to take on different meanings:
– “Poking” someone no longer meant, “to touch somebody with one’s own finger.”
– “Nudging” someone to do something was no longer an act of rubbing up against somebody to move away, and
– “Tweeting” was no longer an action only birds could do.
Our world has evolved, greatly, especially in terms of networking.
The statistics can’t be finalized, due to the fact that our society’s networking use continues to grow.
At the rate we’re going, it appears, our children will no longer need to learn to have any social skills—they’ll just need to be able to operate a basic computer operating system (and being able to type 100+ words per minute will get them far along in life as well).
Courtesy of Youtube.com, I extracted a short video posted by a web log devoted solely to social media, Socialnomics.com, regarding the “Revolution of Social Media,” asking straight-up: “Is Social Media a Fad?”
“We no longer search for the news, the news finds us..” –Socialnomics.com
“Social Media [is]… a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.” –Socialnomics.com
It’s interesting to see just how dependant we’ve grown on social networking, on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn.
My question, however, is—Why?
Were we fed social networking growing up, or are we simply influenced by the society we live in, and want to fit into the “social norms?”
I conducted an extremely informal interview/survey with 30 people, ranging in age and college background. For the most part, the result held true to what I believed prior to doing the interviews:
I asked the question: “Which social networking sites do you use?”
The answers came in: 20 people, the oldest being 25-years-old, had a Facebook and/or a Twitter; 5 people, being between 26 and 35-years-old, did not use any social networking sites; and 5 people, exceeding 35-years-old, used Facebook.
Many of the other statistics I had found from the survey clearly upheld this “social standard” of social networking: How long have you had the accounts? How often do you check them? Update them?
The other two trending topics that were really expressed during the course of the interviews were:
1) One’s privacy could be a great risk factor in having a Facebook. Many of those I interviewed, whether they were part of the networking or not, said they felt that one’s information could be taken from these media outlets and be abused.
2) Many of those interviewed also felt that social networking sites can be used in a professional manner, to promote one’s self or one’s own business. This whole idea of marketing one’s self is something that I’ll discuss in greater detail in a future blog post.
Social networking has its positives and negatives, to say the least—it can expand one’s horizons to different people and agencies, or it can harm one’s reputation and tear at the seams of privacy.
It’s hard not to get lost in the cloud of social media—we have to work and be our own filters. It’s necessary to have a solid head on our shoulders and utilize these media outlets to our own benefit. Of those I interviewed, people less than 30-years-old used social media for fun—it’s not bad to have entertainment in our lives, but we cannot be absorbed within it.
We cannot allow these social networking sites to get the best of us.
How do we brush off the negative?
We can simply become more media literate, or:
Perhaps we can just nudge them away?
Poke them out of our lives?
Fly away, and tweet as we go?