Reality Check: Social Networking Sites

Posted: March 4, 2010 in Ramblings
Tags: , , ,

Reality Check: Social Networking Sites

Recently, some trouble has been stirred with my actions on Facebook. In an effort to save this person (and myself) the embarrassment, I will keep it anonymous.

Everyone has differing opinions and perspectives. I believe social networking sites like Facebook, or MySpace are merely news applications from friends, groups, and favorite businesses in order to stay in touch or see the daily updates in their lives.

There is another perspective that people have. Some see these sites as a personal extension of their lives. They have such a passion, they feel it is less than an application, and more of a personal attachment.

I’m not saying this is wrong, as that would be judgemental, and I’m trying not to be. But it is my opinion, that bad things can (and do) happen with this perspective. The reason for this thinking is that status updates, like other news items, may not always be entirely accurate. Exaggerations, vague updates, and even manipulating words can confuse and change peoples minds. Bad language and hurtful remarks can result.

For example, recently, someone on my friends list in Facebook was posting updates that I would rather not see or read. Just like a news site in my online reader, if you don’t like it, you simply remove it. Unfortunately, removing someone from your friends list has the unfortunate side-effect, to those that see FB as more than an applcation, to be representative of removing them from their personal lives.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. This problem was the cause of differences of opinions on what social networking sites really are……Web applications displaying news.

In hindsight, I could have just asked that person to stop. But, then, who am I to change that person? Maybe I’m the only one? I certainly don’t want to think my parenting skills are better than others (their not, believe me). And then, who am I to say that the parents are wrong? These are just opinions, and I respect people and their parents too much.

Social networking sites are most definately useful, but can be dangerous if you lose too much of yourself in these virtual realities. Preying abusers, stalkers, and criminals also browse the sites. Putting too much of yourself and your trust on these public applications can be risky.

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