Social Network: an online community of people with a common interest who use a Web site or other technologies to communicate with each other and share information, resources(dictionary. com). There are almost 500 million users of social networks and spent over 700 billion minutes a month using them. Is this hindering our social skills? There are many ways that people interact with each other such as e-mail, texting, a social network but the least used interaction is face to face.
A negative impact that social networks have on our relationships is that social networks might strengthen our relationship with acquaintances and people we don’t see often; social networks weaken our strong relationships and also bring about physical social isolation. The term “social network” leads you to believe that you are in fact being social when these sites are used more for a phone book or search engine.
Instead of calling your friend and asking what they have planned for the night or weekend, you can just look at their posts to find out. This contact is very impersonal and allows the least amount of interaction between two parties Social Networks allow you to overestimate the level of intimacy you have with someone. Social networks allow you to think that a person is more committed to a relationship or friendship more than they actually are. You need to be sure you are putting in a balanced time of online and offline relationships.
According to a study by John Cacioppo (researcher at the University of Chicago), those who use social networks are more susceptible to the emotional contagion effects. An emotional contagion is the tendency to catch and feel emotions that are similar to and influenced by those of others. In his studies, it was found that loneliness alone was transmitted through social networks. Also, his study showed that 52% of those who have direct social network interactions with a lonely person they too will become lonely.
Those who have a “friend of a friend” connection with said person will be 25% more lonely. You’ve probably also seen that sometimes normal courtesy and politeness—aspects we would utilize in our face-to-face interactions are sometimes missing in the online space, that we would use in face to face interactions. Many of these social networks have a chat feature. Because of this many people don’t pick up on humor, sarcasm, and sympathy. Along with this, if you were in a face to face interaction you have the added facial expressions and body language.
Along with this chat feature people don’t have to talk directly so it is easy to hide behind the internet because you won’t have to directly address the problem. Because of social networking many people lose their ability to hold a conversation. Many people who use social networks lose the ability to spell correctly because they use shorthand such as U, tomoro, k and many others. Social Networks are very harmful, but if you balance out your online and offline relationships and don’t let social networks become your ‘hangout’, it shouldn’t be a problem.
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