January 20, 2011
The Past, Present, and Future of Social Networking
When social networks started online there were many who felt that it would lead to less social interaction offline. These doomsayers claimed that, in the future, people would sit in their houses, staring at a computer screen and never choose to meet, in person, anyone outside of the online social network they were a part of (Dubner, 2008, Reader response). Although I can attest to the fact that social networks, in my case facebook, can be somewhat addictive; it is also true that more social interaction offline is organized online than ever before through these sites. Social networking sites have brought the “six degrees of separation” concept into evidence for most of the world, online and off. Social networks will lead to a larger and more diverse group of social and business ties offline for future generations. When social networking sites first became popular, adolescents and young adults thought this was anonymous way to speak their minds. It soon became apparent that there is no such thing as anonymous on the internet. The offline bullying and bashing that adolescents thought they could avoid by socializing online, occurs just as readily in a social network setting. In an online social network, information reaches a much larger audience. However, doomsayers are wrong in saying that these problems were caused by social networking sites; if anything, the problems are merely brought more to the forefront. This would explain why, by posting explicit information or photos, young adults felt larger repercussions in their offline world. In response to this, parents have started to monitor their children’s social networking posts and young adults divulge much less information then they did previously. Fisher and Wright quote Calhoun, who states the effects of the internet”matter much more as a supplement to face-to-face...