I am a strong believer in the power of “social networking” websites. Websites like LinkedIn and facebook have the ability to connect people and aide in nourishing positive relationships, without a doubt. However, I often wonder, just how social are “social networking” websites?
First of all, what does it mean to be social? According to Dictionary.com:
“so⋅cial [soh-shuhl] ~ 1: pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club. 2: seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.”
Lately I’ve been noticing that people are becoming more reliant on their computers to communicate. Everything is expressed through text. To me it makes perfect sense that relying too much on computers to communicate will, in turn, make us less proficient in face-to-face interactions.
This effect seems to be most apparent in today’s youths, many of whom have grown up with computers and internet access. Talking with a group of first-year college students recently, it became clear to me that they had little understanding of the importance of face-to-face communications. A sign that relying on text communication has a negative impact on our ability to be social in the real world. So, my question is, do social networking websites like facebook actually foster anti-social behaviour?
In closing; while the facebooks of the world are great for keeping connected to those you know and do business with, creating meaningful relationships from scratch with them is not easy. The importance of traditional networking must never be overlooked!