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Social Networking

Social Networking is a major aspect of society today. Everyone uses the internet and social networking is just another step. Today there are millions upon millions of users in social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. Social networking sites are just one way in which a person can communicate with friends, family and work associates. Another stage of social networking is social communities. Social communities are more-or-less MMOs (Massive Multiplayer Online), there are plenty out there but the big ones now are World of Warcraft and Phantasy Star Online 2, just to name a few. The social community I want to address is not as big as the two names mentioned above but is one of the hottest names out there Second Life. The Second Life is basically a virtual community in which you interact with other people; you customize your character to make it look like you (or not) and you go around the online community.
Now, Second Life's type of social networking has many, many positives to it. For starters online communities like Second Life have a business aspect to it and business students and entrepreneurs can practice methods on a networking site like this before they put out their real product. Even if it isn't a 100% guarantee success, it still is a way to learn, rather than just throwing yourself out there inexperienced. Another positive is it can help people with disabilities, by teaching them how to interact with others and vice versa. People with speaking disorders, or people who have had a traumatizing event happen to them, can learn how to re-interact with society and others again by using this website or any others. Another beneficial aspect of this website is it is fun to the user. This isn't a graded process or something serious, there are over one-hundred thousand users wanting to meet new people, and mistakes aren't costly, it is a learning process.
Barack Obama was able to use social networking to his advantage for his presidential campaign. Obama created a social networking website known as www.my.barackobama.com (otherwise known as MyBO) and through this website, Obama was able to reach out to the millions of people who use the internet today. MyBO had many features, as it posted Obama's speeches at different states in case you missed them, had a donation box if you wanted to support his campaign, and even had a SMS (text-messaging feature (only if you had registered for the website and signed up for this feature). Because Obama was able to connect to his younger voters (through his website and SMS) and his older voters (by the simplicity of his website and the great informational database it forgave) Obama was able to win the delegate count and eventually the Presidential Race. A key factor to know was the donation money Obama received for his campaign, according to the article "How Obama Did It" about 48% of Obama's donations came from online donations of twenty dollars or less and it lead up to $340 million by June [2009]. The next step Obama took in his website MyBO was to persuade people to "get out and vote". So MyBO used public records of people registered to vote in all areas and will be able to monitor their recent activities such as donation amount, how many house meetings they went to, and other things. In my opinion, Obama was able to win the Presidential Race because his methods, especially in social networking, were ahead of his time and directed to all people and the "everyman". Obama is a great speaker with great ideas, and he was able to spread them with his social network MyBO, in which he was able to surpass Clinton with the Democrats and eventually beat John McCain.
As there are many positive aspects to social networking there also many negatives. One growing downfall is that of cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying is basically the same as bullying someone but it is done online. One such victim of this case was the suicidal death of Ryan Halligan. Ryan was a young child, thirteen to be exact, and he was constantly being bullied, at school and then as soon as he got home; the same kids from school would bully him online, otherwise known as "cyber-bullying". When a kid at that age is reading all these cruel things, it is obviously going to get in his head; he had to put up with constant abuse 24/7 as he had no safe haven. Now, that is no reason to go and end your life because of what some people think, but maybe someone's confidence is low or they really care about self image. Who knows what kind of things, reading all these hate messages does to a person like that, you don't know since you aren't that person.
Does that mean don't join in on the social networking fad? No! Social networking is the key to the internet for teens and kids today. If you don't have one you get left in the dust, as all your friends have one; so you have no choice but to join otherwise you're left out. PBS goes around asking the kids what is it about Myspace, etc. that is so great? And they respond you can keep up-to-date with your friends by leaving them comments, maybe meeting new ones, when people are in relationship, basically everything about everyone. At one time there was a competition about who can get the most "friends", but the kids have learned you only really are friends with less than half of your "friends" online and only talk to about 25% of them. But, not all about social networking is good. Sometimes your "friends" can talk bad about you, instigate you, leading into something big like a fight at school (where you witness these girls fight over a comment from Myspace.com- in part 2 near the end). You have to be smart and careful about whom your friends are, I don't go accepting everyone off the bat just because they want to be my friend. Maybe if they message me hey whats going on…we met here once…, then I'll start talking to you, but complete strangers aren't your friends and some kids still need to learn that. As no cares if you have X amount of friends the real question is who you actually talk to in the X amount.
As you can see social networking is a major part of the internet today. Social networking helps kids with disabilities to learn how to interact in society with a virtual society, it lets friends catch up or meet new people, and even teaches us about others. Problems sometimes occur online, as kids feel they are free online and can "truly be themselves", which can lead to poor judgment and bad behavior on both sides of the family. Parents can become over-protective and bearing of their child, while the child becomes isolated in his online communities. The PBS program mainly goes over this problem with a more parents vs teens/childs approach, with the conflict being resolved at the end with more interactivity together and trust. But, as social networking can be bad also, it is mainly reflected on the choices of the person using the computer, because the computer and websites give all chances to block anyone, but it your choice. I feel without social networking, it would be harder to communicate to a bigger variety of people around the world (like Barack Obama) , nonetheless in our lives today. Social networking is a major key in society today and it is going to keep on growing bigger and we have to be ready for it, the good and the bad of it all.

2 comments:

  1. Social networking is a huge part of the internet today, and it has come a long way. The fact that it not only allows people to communicate but helps the disabled learn to interact is a huge bonus. I agree with your statement that without social networking it would be harder to communicate to a bigger variety of people around the world. Social networking allows for people to do so much and its expanding so rapidly that soon enough you will be able to do almost anything and everything you wish to do.

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  2. I agree that social networking is a profound key in social interaction these days, and that it has really developed a lot since the start of the internet. An interesting point you brought up was the thing about friend requests on these sites (e.g. Myspace), and is cool to see that since this documentary, the need for having a large number of friends is pretty much useless if people are just friend requesting each other at random.

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