March 11, 2013
Society and Social Networks
Hal Niedzviecki’s essay, “Facebook in a Crowd,” emphasizes the difference between acquiring social network friends and acquiring real friends. When Niedzviecki logged on to Facebook, he realized he was close to having 700 online “friends” (958). But being that he didn’t know them personally like he knew his previous friends, he decided to have a Facebook party. After tabulating the responses, 15 people said they were attending, 60 people said maybe, a few hundred said not, and the rest ignored the invitation (958-59). However, on the day of the party one person named Paula showed up. According to him, “For chipping away at past friendships and blocking honest new efforts, you really have to blame the modern world. People want to hang out with you, I assured myself. They just don’t have the time” (Niedzviecki 960). Niedzviecki acquired 700 online friends, but spent the rest of his night drinking alone. He insists that society relies on social networks entirely too much to meet or interact with people. I agree that society is becoming too reliant on social networks to meet people because my experience on a social network confirms it. First of all, I agree that society relies on social networks too much because social networking is much easier to communicate or meet people. Online communication allows people to communicate with people freely and openly. Also, if people can be themselves without hesitating or if they choose not to interact with people they can simply leave the site. Yet, social network users meet a bigger variety of people online and can interact with them without certain hindrances people would experience when communicating in real life. In Niedzviecki’s essay, he states “I logged on to Facebook and realized that I was very close to having 700 online friends” (958). Niedzviecki managed to acquire that many friends online better than he would have attempted to acquire real friends. To give emphasis on why social networks are easier to communicate, I relied on Facebook various times to contact my best friend because it was the easiest yet quickest way to reach them. My best friend Caylin always seemed to be too busy to talk on the phone, so instead I insisted on contacting her on Facebook and she replied instantly. Communicating online is much easier to people because it’s considered a faster way then going to their house or calling them when they are busy. In the report Social software and educational technology: informal, formal and technical values, it emphasizes the values in the context of social networks (Pereira, Baranauskas and da Silva). It also states: Social software (social networks, wikis, and social bookmarking) is frequently cited as determinant of transformations that are changing the way people relate to technology (Pereira). For example, Facebook and Twitter are examples of how information and communication technology has pervaded every aspect of people's personal and social life. Sellen assert that we now live with technology, not just use it (4). What this means is that a broad set of factors that range from emotion, affect, sociability and human values, to issues of scalability, security and performance, have changed the interaction between people and computers (4). Not only does society rely on social networks to communicate easier, they also rely on social networks because they are afraid of real life communication.
Second, I also agree that society relies on social networks entirely too much because social users are scared or timid to speak to people in person. When users are behind computer screens they can do or say anything without being judged. Also when they’re online, it may be easier to say things they may not be able to say in person. According to the text, Paula asserted that the online friends he invited to the party may have felt shy about making a new friend, so they didn’t come to the party. I’ve also experienced a situation regarding to my best friend being scared or timid. My second best friend Shanell insisted on telling me the truth about what really happened after the game via Facebook because she was too afraid of how I would react in person. She told me that she was able to tell me how she really felt online because she was afraid to speak to me person and she knew we couldn’t have held a proper conversation.
In conclusion, social networks are extremely too much of a reliable source for society to communicate and meet people. Like Niedzviecki stated “you really have to blame the entire modern world,” I strongly agree with what he states. Society is replacing the traditional means of communication with social networks. Before the internet consisted of social networks, the original way to meet or communicate with people was through gathering or meetings, workforce and through mutual friends. If the society continues to rely on social networks, then social networks will continue to define our generation as well as the internet ensured the terms of communication today.
Niedzviecki, Hal. “Facebook in a Crowd.” The Norton Field Guide to Writing. Ed. Bullock, Richard, Goggin, Maureen Daly, Weinberg, Francine. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2009. 958-960. Print. Pereira, Roberto, M. Cecilia C. Baranauskas, and Sergio Roberto P. da Silva. “Social software and educational technology; informal, formal, and technical values.” Educational Technology & Society 16.1 (2013): 4+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Mar. 2013.