20 04 2009

Last week’s readings concerned online networking sites, and while I think they’re an interesting study of human nature and social interaction, I tend to be a bit on the ‘scoff-y’ side when it comes to analysing them in the way that we tend to do.

The way that society works nowadays is that we do spend more time on the internet than we ever have before. Yes, people spend excessive (and sometimes scary) amounts of time on these sites, and in their most extreme form (ie. Second Life), I think that they can be rather detrimental to the life of a person in the ‘real world’. But, these really are the extreme, and for the most part I think that SNSs are a facet of most people’s lives, but they’re not dominating us.

The boyd and Ellison article actually states that ‘most SNSs primarily support pre-existing social relations.’ This is certainly the case for me and any of my friends who use such sites (incredibly, I still have quite a few friends who don’t engage in online socialising). I use SNSs to check in with people who I regularly see offline, and none of my ‘friends’ are people who I’ve never met. In an age where we have less time to catch up physically due to work and time constraints, it’s pretty easy to log on, say a quick hi, catch up on day-to-day things, and basically nurture the relationship between ‘outside world’ meetings.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a coffee and eye contact any day over status updates and ‘Gemma likes this’, but it’s handy to have a system to let people know that I’m studying, and I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth.




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