Rise of the social network

January 18, 2011
Social networking, a relatively new aspect to the internet, has engulfed many people into the realm of virtual interaction. Millions – including myself – are very familiar with the social networking scene. Leading this online rage is the internet site Facebook. Facebook is a way to talk with friends via comments, messages, and “pokes”. You are also able to post “Status Updates” and share photos, videos, and a multitude of other things with Facebook’s features.

Facebook and other social networking sites may seem like a fun way to spend your time and an advance in our civilization, however I see the rise of the social network as a catastrophic demise in the human society.

As 2010 came to a close, also came the 500 million mark of Facebook users. With this, Facebook also surpassed the monster internet search engine Google, in becoming the most popularly visited site. In just 3 years Facebook was able to go from 9th place to 1st in having the most unique on-line visits.

As the site continues its rapid growth, more and more people – young teens especially – are being sucked into the addiction of Facebook. Another shocking study earlier last year by The Nielson Company discovered that the social networking site consumed 6 hours of time per person in one month. That’s hundreds of millions of people sitting down for 6 hours on Facebook alone. And doing what? Writing comments to people, instant messaging, and possibly playing one of Facebook’s thousands of apps and games. All of these activities are either unnecessary wastes of time or a way to avoid real human contact. It’s reasons like these that have shown me that social networking will soon enough eliminate the realness of human to human communication.

Opponents might argue that there is a positive side to this virtual communication. On Facebook and other sites like it, users gather a collection of “friends”. These friends usually range from family members, to genuine friends, to acquaintances, and even to people who merely go to the same school as you. Then when someone posts a new status update, all of their “friends” can see it and therefore communicate with that person through their status. Facebook users have been studied and seem to have a boosted self-esteem when using Facebook, but for the mere fact that they post a status update and receive comments and/or “likes” on their post. Facebook can give the user a false sense of importance and attention that maybe they are unable to achieve in the real world.

Yes, if my opponents made this argument I would have no choice but to agree with their claim. However there is yet a major flaw in this thinking. When a teenager realizes that they can get this spike in self worth by using Facebook, they will undoubtedly return, eventually becoming a regular to the social networking site; spending countless hours with this virtual communication. Meanwhile, this teen’s social awkwardness will continue to increase as they consume themselves with the internet and Facebook, rather than real contact.

Not only can this addiction to social networking cause social awkwardness and isolate human beings, but it can also be physically damaging. The social awkwardness in society could easily manifest itself into a form of autism. As the social networking phenomenon increases, the 6 hours of Facebook time per person last year, could rapidly swell to triple that. People will be spending so much focused attention to the computer that the lack of challenging our brains could lead to a plunge in attention span and weakening of the immune system.

I too am a victim of social networking; that is what prompted me to write this. I think that we need to scale back our Facebook time and submerge our minds in the outside world, friendships, culture, and education. Many conclusive studies have shown that constant Facebook and social networking use leaves the user at a high risk for physiological as well as physical deterioration. Not to mention, recent data shows that sites like Facebook is becoming more popular and people are spending an increasing amount of time on Facebook, possibly leading to a drop in educational and outdoor related interests.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

KIMBERLY said...
Sept. 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm
NightGoddess17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 21, 2011 at 8:11 am
I am a person who doesn't have a Facebook account or any other social networking account, other than this website, if u could call it social networking, and I have to agree. The idea of a Facebook is a little ridiculous. If you want to talk to your friends, go out and do so. I really like how opinionated you are and how you backed up your point with hard-hitting evidence. Great job!
NightGoddess17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 21, 2011 at 8:12 am
by the way, i like your usrename
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