This Article is About
social networking
social networking sites
emotional chord
facebook
sharing photos
twitter
greener pastures
pat on the back
skype
social networks
Social Networking: How Social Is Social?
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Just how social are social networks? It occurs to me that people spend an awful lot of time socializing on the net. I know I do. And I feel there is a place for social networking in our lives. Social networking is great for finding people we’ve lost touch with over time: old school chums, you or extended family members who moved far away, or people you used to work with after you or they leave a company for greener pastures. And it’s great to build contacts and a network of followers on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook has got to be the most used site for this type of social contact and interaction. There are many other social networking sites but some take technical skills the average Facebook-er may not have or doesn’t need. If all you know is how to write a Word document or use email, you can still set up and use a Facebook account. You use it to meet new people and stay in touch with friends and family. To let people know what’s going on in your life and finding out what’s going on in theirs.

One thing that seems out of proportion is the hyperbole that abounds on these sites as there seems to be an inordinate amount of love and laughter bandied about in these online interactions. Slightly funny anecdotes raise gales of online LOL’s or ROTFWL’s. And many things that deeply sadden us are quickly identified as bogus by Snopes.

Aside from Facebook there’s a slew of social sites for personal sharing or connecting with others in a more businesslike manner. And blogs. And Forums. And Chat rooms. And sites still that are strictly for sharing photos and photo albums. You get the idea.

While you can keep in touch, or touch some emotional chord in those who read your online posts, you can’t actually touch anyone in a tangible way. There is no real hugging or pat on the back. The one-on-one, face-to-face connection is lost in the online world. Yeah, you may be able to see them on Skype, but try feeling the warmth of a hug, shaking a hand, or giving a kiss.

I have nothing against all this online busy-ness and feel it definitely has it’s place in our world. However, I think too many people are so wrapped up in it that they forget they live with and around other people who are right there....go ahead, give them a hug - just for the heck of it...just because you can!

I am a bit concerned that the upward trend of social networking, and texting for that matter, is discounting the true value of interpersonal relationships. Where once I would see people in restaurants and coffee houses sitting across from other people and actually holding an uninterrupted conversation, now I see people answering their phones, or sitting alone talking on their cell phones, or texting, or accessing Facebook on their handheld gadgets. Or worse still, sitting with someone else and completely ignoring the other person (or each other) to socialize in a more techy way. I find these behaviors somewhat anti-social, myself.

Many people choose to text or tweet or use any number of ways I’m sure I don’t even know about rather than simply open their mouths and talk to each other. Isn’t it easier to talk on the phone than to wear out your thumbs texting? And I have to wonder if we as a society are losing the art of conversation unless it’s in the form of abbreviations and acronyms? Are we really too busy to say ‘by the way’ instead of BTW? No kidding, this stuff is acceptable in oral conversation these days too. Keep up, Pops!

BTW the acronym BTW has more syllables when spoken aloud than the actual words that make up the acronym.

Some things are just too personal to lay them out there for all to see on social networking sites. Good thing, too. Otherwise we may never have a reason to pay any real attention to each other when we’re together. It’s certainly not anything like the old days...the days when you didn’t have at least a few devices on which to socialize and access the Internet anytime and anywhere you want.

Why not use that newfangled device to make arrangements to meet that old friend or co-worker for lunch sometime soon and actually follow through? Maybe you’ll find actually being with the person a richer and more rewarding experience...with cell phones and tech toys turned off.


Street Talk

  

For some reason I can't reply more than two deep here...so Heather! His name IS Lalli! I AM NOT KIDDING!!! Not so amazing if we were there in the same decade cuz there were only about 150,000 Icelanders there then. Don't know haw many now. He has a sister, Magna, and a brother, Dovry. Don't know if I spelled Dovry right - I was on the base at Keflavik about a decade before that...but Lalli was still in Iceland after I left.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Oh, no! Wrong Lalli! So obviously there's two of them wandering around Norway now!! It would have been an amazing co-incidence! Only replying 2 deep is normal. It often stops me and maybe they do it so people like us can't carry on so much...lol... you know SA is good at enforcing 'good' behaviour! ;-) So do you remember any Icelandic?! ;-)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Goldendine, Stepfa! (phonetically spelled of course) I only knew some simple phrases back then and don't really remember them now. But I looked Icelandic apparently as any Icelanders who came to our office approached me first and just started speaking to me in Icelandic. Since the language is Germanic, I could usually decipher what they were saying so I answered them in English which always astounded my co-workers...LOL I'd like to carry this on on FB but can't find you...My FB is AnnMarie Escher Bless!

  
  about 7 years ago

I'm like Rob and renewed lots of Icelandic friendships via FB. I'd spent a year there nearly 25 years ago and suddenly all these great people are back in my life. Half our family is also overseas and Skype is fantastic. My kids know their great grandma personally because of this. There are always going to be pros and cons. I keep my FB private - I know everyone personally that's on there - although I now have a public profile (Heather Bradford Writes) for all you strange guys who are hanging around my online environment now! And each week I have real coffee with real friends. It's all about finding a balance! lol or is that roflol.... and of course I'm only really smiling! How deceptive it all is!!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

OMG! I have an Icelandic friend who now lives in Norway who I met when I lived in Iceland about the same time you did! How funny is that? I was there for two years. He and I mostly just call each other on the phone and email. I don't think he has a FB account. Thanks for the insightful comment.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Hahaha.... if you tell me it's Lalli it would be an amazing coincidence. Seems there might be a few Icelandic people in Norway. I was in the north, Olafsfjordur, in 1988.

  
  about 7 years ago

Hers a hug AnnMarie, I find FB good for making contact with friends lost due to the reduction of size of the world. When I left Rhodesia I lost contact with many friends, only to find them on FB. Many the other side of the world and many almost next door. It is a very useful tool in this way. What I don't enjoy is the banter and political head banging that sometimes occurs.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks for the hug, Rob :) FB is very useful for those reasons but I think we take it a little too far sometimes. Like the scene in Two and a Half Men where Alan's son is texting his girlfriend and she's responding and their sitting on the same sofa! And I don't really care what people have for breakfast or need to see a picture of it.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I like your article and agree with your argument. But there are a few things that I like about social networking--I am an invalid and I get a great deal more socializing in my home office than I would otherwise have access to--plus, my online acquaintances don't have to deal with my differing-ability-ness, even tho I make no secret of it--it just doesn't matter when two or more people are interacting online. Also, I've never been much good at getting out and meeting new people--ever since my school days I've missed the easy friendships of people who gather together each day--and Facebook, etc. have made my present life (at age 56) more like those old school days. Real people are great, but they're not usually as easy to get together with as 'FB friends'.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

You are right Christopher. I was going to add this aspect to my article but found it was getting too long and that it may have been a little off-point, so I didn't. I have a friend who is housebound in a wheelchair and only can go outside on the warmest of days. He mainly stays connected with others via online resources and the phone. Of course, I visit him when I can and those times are best for us. Thanks for pointing this out for me. :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Can I have an online hug from you guys! :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Great article. Seems like everyone is using social networking for something.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Al4256  

There is an unhealthy obsession somewhere in it all. Interesting article.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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