Sociology

How does Social Networking Affect Socialization



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In modern day social networking has rapidly soared to become one of the most common ways for people to exchange messages, dialogue and share information.

As a result, social media has played a large role in shaping the transformation of ways people communicate with one another. Just a mere decade ago people used to either meet for coffee, stop by one another's house or pick up the phone and call, but modern society is a fast paced world.

In a world dominated by technology, and many individuals possessing an innate need for continuous streams of information, social networking effectively fulfills the desire for both the ability to send and receive quick, if not immediate, responses.

While people may still interact with one another in more 'traditional ways' such as coffee or phone calls, today many people are more apt to learn or receive the latest news about one another through Facebook rather than from a personal inform. How many people learn about the happenings of family and friends online? Even of those who live nearby?

Is this a negative evolution? Perhaps, but in some ways the ability to globally socialize can be a positive. Here are a few ways social networking has affected socialization, for better or worse:

♦Less Phone Calls

While many people becoming attached and dependent upon their cell phones, this has more increasingly evolved from calling to communcating through text messaging. However, with smartphones becoming increasingly popular, web capabilities and apps to allow people to easily indulge in social networking through their mobile devices is perhaps slowly, but steadily scaling back the need to actually talk to others. Today much communication takes place via electronic text and a high percentage likely occurs through social networks.

♦Decreased Face to Face Interaction

Being so many people spend an inordinate amount of time on social network sites, there must be benefits or else people would not indulge. It is likely the sheer convenience of online socialization makes this option of connecting with others very popular and attractive.

However in an age where time often feels to be at a premium, many people are likely to connect with friends and family on social networks rather than spend time socializing in person. As a result this ends up with less face to face interaction, which can eventually significantly impact personal relationships.

♦Less One on One Interaction

Social networks are rooted in the philosophy of shared information. One person sends a message, there is an option to send to everyone in the network. Facebook and Twitter are two of the most current popular networks in 2010 and each offers a way of sending out a singular message where it can be streamed to all connections.

In this respect people are receiving large amounts of information, but do not necessarily reply and 'speak' one on one. If this trend continues it will be interesting to see how the dynamics of relationships evolve. Relationships that have lowered levels of individual interaction may suffer or become distant.

♦More Information Shared

One fascinating aspect of social networking is the ability to share and receive information. The larger the network, the more information being spread. In this respect people are exposed to many different lives and obtain a keen insight as to how others live and what they are thinking, both near and far. Expanding on familiar knowledge and learning new information is a terrific opportunity.

♦Diversity

Through social networks people who never would have had the opportunity to interact can share thoughts, knowledge and ideas. The diversity of people and information located on the web is nothing short of amazing.

People today can learn so much more using the technological platform social networks provide in order to interact. Knowledge and insight can be gained through varying perceptions and perspectives of the many people who can now socialize locally in a global network. The world is certainly becoming a smaller place thanks to technologies such as social networks.

Social networking has had a significant impact on socialization. Some of these changes are for the better, some for the worse. With every new development in any society there are always going to be some tradeoffs in order to obtain the benefits. Each member of society has to individually decide whether or not these tradeoffs are worth the costs.

How social networking eventually impacts socialization as a whole remains to be seen, however, it current trends continue, it seems to be that a world a few decades from now will barely recognize familiar over the fence conversations between neighbors and picking up the phone to make a call.

 

More about this author: Leigh Goessl

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