Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Social Notworking or Facebook the facts?

Am I social? Well I have signed up to about six different social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious and other fun and foolish ways to avoid actual face to face conversation. However I am not opposed to the idea of these networking websites, far from it, but I am not reliant on their nature either. I, like much of the nation, sit on the fence (but if I fell I would fall on a Twittering geek).

It would be hypocritical of me to ban these websites from my brainbox, as I am a keen online marketer and take a healthy spoonful of new media medicine daily, however, being involved in the industry also has shown me the drawbacks of 'logging on'. So let us begin with a fact (this is the bit you'll remember and try to impress your friends later) 49% of people aged 8-17 years old are using social networking sites regularly. Is this not the age where children are most impressionable? Is it a good foundation for communication? Or am I talking like a decrepit old lady? 

Let's have a look 


I believe that social websites are a very good form of communication, and can contribute to learning in the 21st century. They help us navigate and figure things out for ourselves by going through the processes on a webpage. They also are a good way to keep up to date with technology and share links, blogs, posts etc. I am very much against the pessimist for the social media generation, yes there are limits to how far you can look into a person's personal life, but that is obvious. The amount of parental controls, seem to me, not to be working and possibly because children as young as 8 years old are using these websites. The sites are a very useful tool, but in my opinion can be dangerous as well, as they are a community that shares a lot of adult content. This issue must attach itself to the parents though, and their restrictions on the child’s viewing. For the teenage and older, it is the choice of the individual; they can make up their own mind or follow the social general opinion of what 'MySpace' is all about. I have yet to meet a child who says, 'Facebook is good but I rather speak to my friends at playtime,' and I do not expect to, just for the same reason I feel the parent must restrict the child’s accessibility to content, they are not old enough to formulate that debate. However, I do expect a balance of both channels of communication. 

Counter Argument 


There is a good counter argument that'll have the people who write into 'Points of View' rubbing their hands with delight, that Facebook users, and others alike, can develop a shorter attention span with the increased development of technology available by pressing a few keys and navigating the mouse. Think about your time on a networking site and how much time you have spent on one thing. The adverts or applications that come up when an affiliate or 'similar application/artist/etc' pops up, this can be damaging to our nature and may lead to recklessness in times of serious commitment to a project. It does not just come down to a shorter attention span though, the big 'anti-social' argument is rife when people open there laptops or bang there acorn computer on. So why are they called social networking websites if they are really, anti-social? I find it funny though that it gets criticism for this, because the same argument was conjured up when the telephone was invented (damn that Alexander Graham Bell-end). You adjust, you change, the world spins, accept and move on that social networking is another facet to our communication bow. 

So stop winding your cars and start winding up your parents by logging on. Of course, it is important to talk face to face with your friends and colleagues, but it is also important, in this day and age, to get things done quickly and I feel electronic media pods like Digg can help us move forward. 

A Final Thought 


Do not be naive in thinking that Bebo will wash your dishes, and make your bed, nor will Squidoo brush your teeth or pay for dinner, but they are a 21st century tool so use them wisely and be careful.

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