The term social networks appeared long before the internet and online networks. In 1954 it was introduced by an American sociologist James Barns. Recently social networks become more and more popular. And with their growth they start to influence all spheres of people's lives. The results of different researches say that a half of the internet is already covered by social networks. There are various social networks that we can use to interact with anybody nowadays. Some of the most popular online social networks are such as Face book, Twitter, MySpace, Flicker, Friendster, Foursquare and many more.
According to Wikipedia, a social networking service is an online service, platform or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people to share interests or activities and people with similar or somewhat similar interests, backgrounds or activities make their own communities. A social network service consists of a representation of each, their social links and a variety of additional services. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events and interests within their individual networks.
The good points related to social networks are they enhance people’s friendship and love relationship because they allow users to seek and share the information to form a new relationship community. Secondly, it would create a community those users who make new friends without geographical boundaries. Thirdly, it would help the users to find love partners. These of characteristics highlight the components of enhancing people’s several kind of relationships in reality. However, I do agree that the use of Internet can lead to isolation. As we get used to interact online, we will spend most of our times with Internet. This in turn causes us to abandon face-to-face interaction where bonds and relationships with family and others can be enhanced.
Many researches proved that people who are actively involved in online social networking obviously show their bad effects on actual relationship with people in their life. It is estimated that 68% of the world’s population has visited a social networking site. Face book has the largest group of users estimating 400 million users as of February of 2010 and has just added 140 million new users in April of 2010. According to research done by All Face book and Online Dating University, they claimed that the social networking changing the way we interact with each other in the real world. For instance, using the social network can help boost your self-esteem. However, constantly checking your profile on the site can cause stress and anxiety that you might miss important updates from friends, offend others with your own comments, have to ‘friend’ someone you don’t like, or might not be entertaining enough to be accepted by your friends.
Online social networking actually detracts from the communication abilities of society, especially the young. When our communication skills are gradually lessened, we begin to spend less time talking to families, experiencing more daily stress, and feeling more lonely and depressed. Moreover, lack of personal communication due to excessive online social networking usage can have an overall negative effect on mental and physical health. As we all know that communication skills are critical for everyone, yet use of the online social networking is undermining this development from time to time.
Larry D. Rosen, a social media researcher at California State University in his plenary talk entitled, “Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids said that, teens who use Face book more often show more narcissistic tendencies while young adults who have a strong Face book presence show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviours, mania and aggressive tendencies. On the other hand, some argue that the online social networking has a positive effect on social interactions because it allows us to form friendships online. However, the capacity to meet a virtually unlimited number of people is actually extremely negative; write Jean-Francois Coget and Yamauchi Yutaka in their paper, “Untangling the Social Impact of the Internet.” In addition, I also do believe that we will not be positively impacted by communicating through a computer screen if we already do not have the self-confidence to socially interact in reality.
On top of that, I believe the advancement of technology has negatively impacted our social interactions because it detaches us from what is happening around us, obstructs communication, and spreads the concept of instant gratification. Society must be able to utilize technology while not allowing it to impede social interactions, particularly for those who are easily influenced during our formative years. In addition, our world must learn to embrace technology without allowing it to negatively impact the creation of functional adults in society.
As social networking sites become more popular by the day, the rise of negative social effects within our society also greaten. We have and will see further instances of cyber bullying; more cases of identity theft and additional privacy breaches. We will also see our strong relationships diluted to a more superficial and ‘convenient’ type of relationship. We will continue to see a further decrease in productivity within workplace and also more instances of company’s reputations and names being brought into disrepute. Social networking sites have had a huge negative impact on our mental and social health and will continue to do so into the future. It is also now evident that social networking sites facilitate all these problems, and without them they would cease to exist. Therefore it is undeniably true those online social networks in fact cause more harm than good to our real social interaction day by day.
As a conclusion, internet life which involved online social networking cannot stand on itself without real-life communication. If we understand the qualities of face-to-face communication that influence the impact of such communication on people and their social interaction, we would be able to predict the probable influence of any new communication technology. Obviously, people use the internet, in other words to help them achieve their real-life goals. And rather than technology's changing people's social and psychological reality, in other words, people change their use of technology to facilitate their creation of a desired social reality.
Last but not least, the online social network users should closely examine their behaviour, to ensure that excessive time online will not negatively impact their real social interaction tremendously. We shouldn't throw our computers out the window, but neither should we charge on blindly into complete dependence on the internet. As with many things in life, it seems that moderation and balance is the key to maximizing the online social network positive effect. Therefore, I still strongly believe that online social network has giving us a bad influence to our lives affect our real social interaction rather than good influence.