Social Networking: The Anti-Social Element ? [pic] Launched on 4th February, 2004, Facebook is a social networking service and website having 600 million active users (as of January 2011). On March 11, 2010, Computer scientist, Dr. Irwin King told the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, “If Facebook is a nation, it would rank “third” in the world. Imagine the mass. Imagine what you can do to reach the “third” most populated nation in the world. ” Phew!!! With six hundred million registered users, this community is the “third” largest “Nation” in the world after China and India. It is not just about Facebook.

In this developing age of social media and networking, people who don’t have even a slight idea about Twitter, hi5, Friendster, LinkdIn and of course, Facebook are considered as if they are some “out-of-the-world” thing. There is no point, just reading this article. You notice it daily. Look around and chances are that you will find people buzy, with their heads down, at a bus stop, in an elevator, or even when sitting in their friend circle, Tweeting about how they enjoyed at a party, updating one liner humorous status on Facebook, or suggesting some newly added friends on LinkedIn.

Obviously, the creativity is so inherent in these new technologies of social networking that it appeals to our mind and we don’t even realize when we get addicted but the real concern is that this may lead us to lose our enthusiasm of real life interactions and sadly our desire to connect with people in person. Alex Jordan was a PhD student in Stanford’s psychology department. Jordan observed his friend’s reactions after using Facebook. After a few observations, he deduced that his friends started feeling contemptible about themselves after days of rigorous involvement in facebook.

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They used to scroll through their friend’s photo albums, attractive bios, and lively status updates and posts. “They were convinced that everyone else was leading a perfect life”, he said. Yes, it’s human nature to overestimate the happiness of other people: especially their close ones. According to Dr. Aric Sigman, a psychologist, the working of genes is altered with the increase in virtual interaction with other people. He said, “It decreases the “cuddle chemical” oxytocin, which promotes bonding”. A study at the University of Southern California also reported: People – most especially the young ones – who are regularly involved with such sites will likely have difficulties in the way they react with people. The custom of logging in daily to see the updates of one’s profile has also begun to take away our ability to keep our focus on something for more than an hour or two, thus making attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and absolutely real and possible effect. ” Also, people confidently post their personal information on these sites thinking that they have secured all information using privacy settings.

They just don’t realize that it is but possible for a computer fanatic to intrude into some or all of your information/personal space. When it comes to social networking, it’s not the same as face-to-face communication and real-life interaction. The way people connect in real life is imitated over these social networking websites and even in video conferencing like, Skype. But a replica is never the same as the real thing. Here is a good solution. Instead of just enjoying posting comments being glued to your mobile device or computer, pick up your phone and schedule a meeting with your loved ones…

Greet each other everyday… Instead of just using your fingers and thumbs on keys, shake hands with your friends… Handwrite a thank-you card… The point here is balance. A balance should be maintained between the actual social life and online social networking. As a result of this balance not being maintained, people tend to lose their actual identity on these online social networking sites and what they portray is a “wanna-be” personality. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our actions. Actions are always triggered by motivations.

The presence of online social networking and our active involvement motivates people in our circle to use it. This addiction of online social networking is leading us to nowhere. The losses in being an active user are very well highlighted. Well, the perception of the use of social networking varies from person to person. Contrary to the harm it causes, these social media services can be used effectively for marketing, advertisement and sharing information and knowledge. Nawaz Rahman Abbasi New Delhi, India


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