Social networking has become the crux of our society. In October 2012, Facebook reported having one billion monthly users, according to SocialNetworking.ProCon.org. This makes Facebook the most popular social networking site in the world, with 1 in 7 people using it daily. Each and every day, Facebook manages 2.5 billion status updates and check-ins, over 300 million photo uploads, and over 2.7 billion “likes.”
Twitter comes in second behind Facebook with over 500 million users worldwide.
So, what are all these people talking about? It seems as though people’s lives are incredibly interesting and exciting as we scroll through our news feeds. It can almost become depressing when we see everyone else always having such a great time, and we wonder how do they have the time? When do they ever work when they seem to be traveling or at the pool everyday? Where do they get the money to do all these awesome activities?
When, if truth be told, social networking sites like Facebook is all what one person decides they want it to be. This video is a perfect example of how social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can be used to exaggerate activities and inflate egos.
Social networking is, of course, not always a negative entity. Facebook can help us reconnect with childhood friends, it can reunite us with college buddies that we’ve lost contact with, it can help us stay in touch with family that live in different states, and it can help us in our business as we relate to clients.
However, we can’t ignore the cons of social networking on our society if we allow it to control our lives. According to SmallBusiness.Chron.com, Cornell University’s Steven Strogatz claims that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter “can make it more difficult for us to distinguish between the meaningful relationships we foster in the real world, and the numerous casual relationships formed through social media. By focusing so much of our time and psychic energy on these less meaningful relationships, our most important connections, he fears, will weaken.” This is absolutely true.
SocialNetworking.ProCon.org reveals that companies throughout the world have issues with employees who access social networking sites at work for personal use vs. business use. These businesses have a legitimate concern regarding a loss of revenue from decreased productivity while their employees are on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, SocialNetworking.ProCon.org states that in 2012, 64 percent of employees were regularly visiting sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Personal or intimate relationships also seem to face issues surrounding social networking sites. The Wall Street Journal reports that more than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, based on a survey conducted by Divorce Online (a UK-based legal services firm).
Wall Street Journal continues to say, “Over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases using social networking, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. ‘I see Facebook issues breaking up marriages all the time,’ says Gary Traystman, a divorce attorney in New London, Conn. Of the 15 cases he handles per year where computer history, texts and emails are admitted as evidence, 60% exclusively involve Facebook.”
Rachna Jain, a psychologist with special training in couple and marital therapy, gives her professional opinion on Facebook, telling DeseretNews.com, “It is definitely another distraction from primary relationships. You see that when people are talking on Facebook, not to their partner, with them right there in the room.”
Jain continues to say that Facebook is all about connections. Jain goes on to say that the idea needs to be that whatever rules or guidelines you have for connections needs to be followed when on Facebook. For example, if you wouldn’t leave your significant other for somebody for a drink, you have to ask yourself if you should be on Facebook corresponding with this person (instead of corresponding with my mate).
Maybe this line of thinking would save relationships instead of breaking them.
There is also the issue of false intimacy when connecting on Facebook. Jain says when people spend a large amount of times on social networking sites, they begin to believe and feel as though they truly know and are friends with the people they are communicating with. And people can say and post things that aren’t true, and you would have no way of knowing.
Shaldjian, a culinary nutrition specialist in Phoenix, thrives on Twitter, mainly for business purposes, according to DeseretNews.com. She says, “As far as friendship goes, a lot of people don’t put out their real selves, and sometimes when you meet with them, you kind of wish you didn’t. People aren’t honest on social media.”
Jain says it can feel very intimate, but if you’ve never actually met the person, it’s not. They are really not your “friend” as you would call them. She warns against making certain connections when you are involved in a relationship with someone else. Jain says sometimes people share intimate things because they are looking for support, or they simply want attention.
Bottom line, don’t confuse social networking living with actual true life living. Most people’s lives aren’t as glamorous as they appear on those sites, and be wary of making connections with someone other than who you are in a relationship with. Don’t let social networking ruin your real life. Just enjoy the true to life friendships you have, and spend time with your lover not someone on social networking sites.
Photo Credit: OhMyGodd.com