As a “social media intern” for the Globe Education Network – Online community for my 3rd quarter, I have gotten a chance to dive into many aspects of social media that were foreign to me in the past. I have been on Facebook for sometime, but the two new platforms that I have joined that I am most impressed with are Twitter and LinkedIn. I am a HUGE fan of LinkedIn because it is a much more professional social media platform that you only want to connect with people who you have directly done work with in the past. On the other hand, even though I have been greatly impressed with the power of connecting to mass amounts of people on Twitter, I see it being constantly abused, and sometimes I question how it is affecting the younger users on the platform. As if all of the magazines and paparazzi that invade celebrities privacy aren’t enough, now we get a chance to follow the personal lives of these celebrities in an even more creepier way on Twitter. Certainly only the celebrities who want to be followed are on there, and they feed off this attention and actually want youth to feel a personal connection to them. I am truly afraid for the youth that religiously connect and follow people they will never become in contact with, and I think it is simply unhealthy. During your youth, you are supposed to be developing your personality and social skills. I think for some people who get to engrossed into these platforms it just a set back, and why not engage in real personal contact? This isn’t the only thing that bugs me about social media, I think that full grown adults abuse these systems as well.
I am bothered by some users who think they can get away with saying whatever they please even though they would never say it to somebody’s face in the real world. This is where the I like to use the term “anti-social networking.” This term I use to describe anyone who prefers to talk about sensitive topics via social media even though they have the chance to discuss them in person. I can’t express how much this bothers me, and how unhealthy I believe it is. I think that when people engage in these “anti-social networking” tendencies enough, it can severely downgrade how they handle real life situations. To me this says, “since I can’t handle myself in difficult social situations, I can deal with it later hiding behind my computer.” Am I saying that it isn’t ok to debate over various topics on these platforms? NO! That is one of the great things I love about social media, is that there is always someone out there who is going to have an opposing view. I am saying that don’t use it as your “go to” scapegoat of emotions that should be channeled in other areas.
So what is my point in all of this? I love to social network through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but just like anything else in life needs to be handled in moderation. If I were a parent raising a child, I wouldn’t let them join social media until I know they can handle it (whatever age that might be). Call me conservative, but I want my children to develop REAL social skills before they join the virtual world. I am also a believer in building your own social community, but don’t let your social community overshadow your real life connections. The way I see it, if real friends come and go, your virtual friends will come and go even quicker. I am awaiting some comments by people who maybe disagree with what I have to say.