Like Me? Follow Me.
How social am I! I have signed up to a ludicrous amount of websites telling me to update my status, fill out a survey on how well I know my best friend, remind me about my girlfriend's birthday and poke the neighbour’s dog. In a growing industry, developing at the speed we have demanded of it, I think that social media needs to find a balance between entertainment and shared information. I am not opposed to the idea of these networking websites - far from it - but I am not reliant on them either. I, like many internet users, sit on the fence... if l were to fall I would fall on a Twittering geek.
Facebook the Facts
It would be hypocritical of me to ban these websites from my life as I work in the industry and take a healthy spoonful of new media medicine daily; however, I like to have an open mind and look at the disadvantages of social media.
So, let us begin with a fact (this is the bit you'll remember and use to impress your friends later). A recent study showed that 67% of internet users do so for social media. Social networks are a very good form of communication and using them has become a part of our lives over the past decade; they will play a more significant role in the future.
Social networks help us to navigate and figure things out for ourselves by allowing us to not just be passive consumers - instead we have become content producers. Being in charge of the content means we have power; we like this, and there forms the mirror image of our personalities, all fitted snugly into a profile, blog, shared link, etc.
I am very much in favour of social networking sites - the same reason we like power is the same reason we like to be an individual, a trend setter and a ‘cool dude’ and therefore not conforming to the powers of Facebook and other social media sites is cool, but you cannot ignore how useful it is.
There is a good counter argument that will have the people who write into 'Points of View' rubbing their hands with delight - Twitter users, and others, can develop a shorter attention span with the increased development of technology. Think about your time on a networking site and how much time you have spent on one thing. The adverts or applications that come up when an affiliate or new application pops up can be damaging to our commitment to a project. Now I am not one for scaremongering but I feel that this argument has a case.
When the telephone was invented by good old Mr Bell then the same argument was conjured up, because we like to state our own opinions, we like the power, we like the argument, but you cannot argue against the trends.
You adjust, you change, the world spins, accept that social networking is another facet to our communication bow. So stop winding your cars and step into the future, leave the present behind because this is how fast we move now. I am a realist and strongly believe that these tools can play an important role in building societies outside the normal confines of our day-to-day offline world; but do not be naive in thinking MySpace will drive you to work in the morning, or that Bebo will treat you to a slap up meal. They are useful tools, but use them wisely!