April 4, 2013
The internet has a greater impact on people today than ever before. It has been a constant source of news, entertainment, and education for users around the world for more than twenty years. However, the most revolutionary of its technologies, social media, did not achieve mainstream popularity until about ten years ago. As a result of this new development, Facebook, Twitter, and similar services are becoming the most visited destinations on the internet. These websites allow users to quickly and easily share pictures, links, ideas and messages with other users. The question is do these self-proclaimed social networking tools actually encourage human healthy human interaction? The evidence suggests that they do. These services, through a combination of accessibility, simplicity, and intuitive design promote positive social behavior by encouraging interaction among friends, relatives, and coworkers. According to Kaplan and Haenlein (2010), social media is “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” (p.61). As a result of the developments, the manner in which the majority if internet users were forced to use email, instant messages services, or obscure message board posts in order to interact with one another. However, due to the emergence of these new communication forums, users can now share messages, pictures, and links almost instantly. Despite the accessibility, shallow learning curve and simplicity these sites offer, users must consider the overall impact their online social activities have on their offline social circles. What effect does spending time on these websites have on real-world relationships? According to survey data reported by Raine, Purcell and Smith (2011), “33% of…internet-using active group members say the...