Weighing up the pros and cons of social networking
IN AN age where every type of technology is at our fingertips and we constantly gain new ways of accessing information it is worth considering what the social cost is. While we text as we walk, check emails en route to work and tweet what we had for breakfast we are in danger of becoming less socially competent as we function in a multimedia bubble.
Nobody can doubt that the advancements in technology are of priceless benefits in certain ways - I can only imagine with dread how a newspaper was put out in pre-computer and email days.
While in professional terms being able to work on the move has become invaluable and endlessly efficient but on personal levels it has seen many of us favour a quick and easy text message as the ideal way to send a birthday greeting or other good wishes.
When did this shift occur and is there not something very unsettling about people who gauge success and popularity by the number of Facebook friends they have. How many of these people do they actually know in person? I don't think I know anyone who would prefer to receive an e-card in place of the real thing.
Some might argue that social networks are responsible for keeping them in touch with people they might never meet such as those who are travelling or who live in other countries.
For all the positives there are also negatives such as cyber bullying, lack of censorship where children are con- cerned and identity fraud.
One just had to quickly scan certain internet forums to find all manner of 'experts' keen to force their opinions on others as they hide safely behind their identity-less usernames. Where children are concerned their home pages often feature content which should be far beyond their tender years but goes unchecked by parents.
Blogging has also opened up the world of ' journalism' to the masses with anyone with a computer facilitated in their endeavours and granted access to a ready and eager readership.
Of all that I have experienced and read about technology of late none sickened me more than the trend favoured by celebrities who use Twitter to sympathise with others over bereavements, miscarriages and more.
While it is the only method that adoring fans can use to contact their idols, fellow celebrities should be ashamed to use social networking in such circumstances in a bid to merely feather their own nests under the guise of compassion.
All such media should very much be taken with a large pinch of salt. There is a safety for users that a persona can be crafted and sent off into cyber-space which they never have to back up or live up to. How much the truth should be stretched is up to you.
How many Facebook friends do you know in person?