The phrase ‘social networking sites’ is pretty self explanatory – a place to be social through technology.
However, how social does it actually make us? Before the world of social networking, people would communicate with each other via text messaging, emailing or most of all, verbal communication. If you needed to talk to somebody (especially conversations too long to text), they would have to speak in person or over the phone. However, since social networking sites became so popular and so mainstream, nowadays the main way most people contact each other is through sites such as Facebook.
Don’t get me wrong, the invention of social networking sites is fantastic. It’s a great way to quickly communicate with others, arrange events, promote businesses and so on, but has it reduced our ability to be social verbally? I believe that if I did not have a Facebook account, I personally, would end up ringing people more often to talk to them. A lot of the time if you want a proper conversation with somebody it seems like too much effort to text, so rather than ringing them up, typing on Facebook is a much simpler solution.
However, it could also be argued that social networking sites in fact do the opposite – in that they enable people to communicate even more. I’m pretty sure everyone who has a Facebook account is friends on there with people they don’t actually talk to – people who they perhaps knew from school, or friends of a friend. However, if Facebook did not exist then they most probably would not have any kind of contact with them whatsoever. The same applies with Twitter followers. Even though they perhaps do not talk to one another online either, by sharing photos and updates allows one another to still have communication by connecting with them through viewing and ‘liking’ their posts.
It is interesting to wonder what our lives would be like without any social interaction online. Would we go out more? Would we meet more people? Or would we all be rather isolated from one another? I believe that although it reduces the chance of people interacting with each other offline, it widens our ability to be more social. We talk to people who we perhaps wouldn’t usually talk to in person, it allow us to talk about things that we perhaps would not feel comfortable saying face to face, and we can share our experiences and thoughts to many people at the same time.