Social Networks: Are They Truly Connecting People?

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 Social Networks: Are They Truly Connecting People?

Social Networking sprouted up at about the beginning of the 21st century. This concept took the world by storm, and now over 1 billion people use the internet to connect with friends, family and coworkers. The majority of these social networkers resides between the ages of thirteen and twenty eight, and although some of these people are using Social Networks to do business, the majority of it is spending doing just that: Connecting with friends. So the question remains:

Are Social Networks just surface interactions, or can they dive into human relations?

The question is solely simple, but the answer most certainly is not.

A recent movie came out based on the creation of the largest network out there: Facebook.

Jesse Eisenberg starred as the accused Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, In the movie called The Social Network. Side note: great movie. Moving on, a specific line to my attention: "It's like taking the entire experience of college, and putting it online." Now obviously it's not possible to replace college with Facebook, but the point he made was quite obvious: Facebook is like life on the internet. Well is it?

I personally do not believe that social networks can fully replace human interaction. Now, although I do not condone it in general, I do not agree with those who believe it's right to spend hours at a time chatting friends and looking at pictures instead of going out and actually doing things. With social networking, I believe it's okay to reconnect with old friends, post pictures of recent events, and even use the Facebook wall to check up on what's happening. The line is drawn between that and spending multiple hours daily chatting and "friendly" and wall-posting. These interactions severely scratch the surface of human complexity, yet its impossibly easy to become hooked on living through little more than these interactions alone. Let's face it, the Facebook for instance, has a like feature and a commentary feature. Now think about yourself. Are you so shallow that the only interaction between you and a person can be expressed through liking and typing? Facebook is very well developed, yet is not nearly developed enough to fully capture any type of relationship.

Now, it's naive of me to think that the only thing that you do is spend time on your computer connecting with people. You have school, or work, or even just the at-home life. But before social networking, a lot more time was spent physically connecting with people than it is now. Why? Because it's a lot easier to set up a conversation with someone just by clicking a few buttons than it is physically meeting up with someone. That's understandable, yet it should not be set as a replacement for a family get together, or a party. Social networking has become a part of many people's daily lives and will continue to do so, there's no denying that. But just remember to keep in check the amount of time you spend reliving memories on a social network compared to actually living in the real world. If you're asking yourself, which should be a bigger part of life, you've got some things to figure out, because in reality, they should not even be close.

Justin DesLaurier

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