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Social networking: fear or future

Posted by: | October 13, 2010 | No Comment |

Technology is an ever-growing and ever-expanding field in human existence, but it seems to repeat itself. I’m not saying that technology is cyclical, but that it moves across a line reaching into the future and sometimes there are certain patterns on that line that tend to repeat. Specifically, I’m referring to how people never know what to think about a new technology once it is thrown in the face of our society.

I saw “The Social Network” this weekend and aside from it being one of the best movies of the year, it got me into a discussion with my parents about new social technologies.

My mom believes that Facebook is a waste of time and did not see a use for it (don’t blame her, she’s 50 years old). She believes that Facebook, while meant to help people connect, is actually destroying people’s social skills.

I’m not one of these people that spend all day on Facebook or even leave it open in my browser while do other things. I probably only spend a total of ten minutes a day on Facebook (about the same for Twitter), and I completely disagree with her.

It seems to me that the older generation always looks down upon new technologies. I asked my mom whether her parents said something similar to her when she spent lots of time talking on the phone to her friends. That point shut up her, then my dad responded for her and supported my assertion. I then said that I’m sure when I’m 50 my kids will have some new tech way of talking with their friends that I don’t understand and believe is destroying society.

After thinking about this talk for sometime, I can see where my mom is coming from. Our social experience is rapidly moving online. Not just with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace, but with nearly everything the web has to offer. Dating, shopping, journalism, entertainment, education; all of these have become an accepted part of the internet. These used to be a part of our daily physical interaction with other people. I don’t mean to get too sci-fi on you, but what if one day we’re all just shells of humans with our brains connected into the internet? Should we be a afraid of this new and relatively unexplored technology?

Information Overload!!!

Of course not. As I said before technology moves in patterns. When some new technology like radio, television, phone, or internet gets added to our collective human experience, there is always some group that believes the apocalypse will begin as a result of it. Did TV ever destroy society? Did the phone or radio destroy society? No (least not yet). And it is doubtful that the internet and social networking will cause the downfall of mankind. I for one, am not afraid, but excited and optimistic to see where social networking will lead us in the future.

(Also, if you haven’t seen “The Social Network,” I highly recommend you do.)

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