Once upon a time, people were leery of giving out any personal information. Especially to strangers. These days, individuals post their email address, phone numbers, relationship status and many of their personal thoughts on social media networks. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the largest social network in the world: “”People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people,” he said. “That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.”
Is this over sharing of information beneficial or detrimental to society? Perhaps a little of both. On the pro side, people are able to keep in contact with old friends and family who live in distant locations. As for the negative side, a whole slew of problems arise. “Facebook” stalking on one’s ex significant other, vicariously living through other people’s lives, and losing real life connections.
For some people, collecting “friends” has become a favorite pastime. Despite the fact that a person may have over one thousand friends, in reality, it is only possible to maintain relationships with around one hundred and fifty people. And on top of that, most people on average only have one or two close friends (in the true definition of friendship), in which they can totally confide in.
It is this writers opinion that one day, people are going to be overwhelmed with social networking. Especially as new sites pop up every day, demanding one’s attention. This may not happen in the near future, but, at some point, it seems that individuals will miss the face to face human connection versus the digital kind.
An article from curiosity.discover.com had the following to say regarding the current amount of actual friends the average person has today, and comments on the social consequences of social networking.
“Interestingly, while Internet social networks may make us feel that we know hundreds of people, research is showing that we feel more isolated than ever before. A 2006 study published in American Sociological Review found that people in the U.S. had fewer friends than they’d had 20 years prior. In 1985, the average American claimed to have three close confidants (which could have included spouses or family members, in addition to friends), but by 2004, the average American had only two close confidants. One in four people reported having no one to talk to at all.” (How Many Friends does the Average Person Have http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/friends-average-person-have)
In conclusion, with the amount of information that people put about their personal lives online, it is hard to believe that many are still concerned with big brother watching over them. Social networks have practically became the tool to monitor millions of online users in their daily habits, likes and dislikes, purchasing preferences and political affiliations. Just to name a few. However, this is the world we live in, and if anyone wants any sort of anonymity, being more discrete about what is posted on their social network of choice may be a good practice. Or, there is the option to just be rid of social networking all together.