Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace have become hugely popular over the last decade. In fact the popularity has quadrupled from 2005 to 2009. Social networking sites have generally expanded the number and diversity of people a person can interact with. Interpersonal relationships are no longer restricted to people in the neighborhood, church, mosque, school or workplace. Instead the pool of people someone has the opportunity to meet is almost endless. With any emerging technology, especially one that has significant implications on the pattern of human interaction and communication, there will be proponents and opponents. This essay will express my disagreement with view that media-based relationship and ‘communities’ have a damaging effect on our society in general but rather plays a major role in the success of modern human relationship. The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it (Weiser, 1991). It has become obvious that whatever happens, social networking sites have become ingrained into the everyday life of the average modern man. Whether you are an opponent or proponent of it, it is generally agreed that it is not going anywhere. Social networking sites have become a necessary tool in the evolution of man in an increasingly complex and global society and the benefits accrued from it far outweigh its disadvantages. This essay will express three arguments based on the benefits of social networking sites on our society. One of the most important benefits is that social media have become a powerful tool for social and political change, secondly it also allows people to create new relationships, strengthen old ones, meet people of different backgrounds and cultures and finally for creative expression in a new medium. Some of the disadvantages associated with social media include security of information posted online, reduction/limitation of face-to-face social interaction and loss of revenue due to workers using social media during working hours which majorly results from misuse.
Looking at the first argument which is social network been a powerful tool for social and political change, events in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt which have been called “Twitter Revolutions” can be related to this. This is as a result of the critical role played by social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in the so called Arab spring. According to Beaumont P ( 2011 ) of the Guardian in his article “The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world”, social media played an unavoidable role in the Arab uprisings. The importance and impact of social media on each of the rebellions was such that the government attempted to shut down the internet. In fact, the Tunisian government did shut it down briefly, for 16 days in August 2008 this shows how powerful the role of social media sites plays in social and political change, but after a threat by cyber activists, the regime was forced to back down. In Egypt, Twitter played a crucial role in the uprising against Mubarak whose government ordered mobile service providers to send messages rallying his supporters. In another instance of the importance of social media in enforcing political and social change in the modern world, the US State Department asked Twitter to delay a network upgrade that would have taken the website offline during protests of the Iranian election in June 2009. Twitter was used to overcome government control over phones and the ability to remain anonymous helped protect people who were spreading information. A lot of people argues that those using social media sites as means of revolution are been lazy and might not the be actual truth of the reality, however it does help in people been informed about what is going on and viral spread of informations makes revolution unavoidable. Hence, with the internet reaching even the...
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