SOCIAL NETWORKINGsocial-media-students

Anti-social behaviour

Remember the days wvhen being “social”, meant going out and meeting-up with other people?

If we look at the definition of both words [using our dictionary], it clearly states the following:

Social

Of or pertaining to society or its organisation: social questions. Friendly towards others, sociable. Living in a society: social beings.

Networking

Joining, a system of interconnected people, companies.

Now put these two words side-by-side, you’ll see we have people living within a society, joining organisations[groups/activities] while being friendly towards each other.

Sadly, there seems to have been a “breakdown” within many societies, leading to a rise in “anti-social behaviour”. The question then, is “why”?

Communication is a crucial element in our daily lives, whether it be with family & friends, or business, there exists this need to convey our thoughts. However, with an increasingly changing world, our society has been literally forced to conform its methods of communication to adapt to this new-age of technology. Everything is moving at a rapid pace, and we are all trying to keep up! Personally, I still enjoy “time-out” from my computer, to pick-up a notepad and pen, and ‘hand-write’ a letter to someone. Even though I know an e-mail [or fax] would deliver my news much faster, it isn’t always about convenience—-more a case of adding my “personal touch”, something many have lost interest in?

Think about it, when was the last time you actually sat down and wrote someone a letter?

The world of computers do have their benefits, but at what cost to the society?

Look at the number of Social-Networks [that you are aware of] that exist “online”, then consider the amount of people using these services—-speaking from my own experiences, it seems as though these networks altered our perception,with the hype being extremely contagious—-most of the people I had become familiar with “online”, were already participating in one or more networks, leaving me to feel slightly “out of the loop”—-was I being unsociable?

MySpace was my first choice and I quickly set-about ‘making friends’—-being a member had other advantages, especially during my days as a magazine-editor for an international music magazine; most guests were easily located through MySpace.

Eventually, MySpace had to take a “back-seat” to networks such as Twitter & Facebook, many used for promotional reasons, others, well, simply for fun.

The promotional-sources are never-ending, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much publicity a human can give to their campaign? Keeping track of passwords/user-names, checking-in on new-found friends/contacts, it all got a bit too hectic and I had to weigh-up all options and begin prioritising!

I suddenly realised my own life had been consumed by time spent “online”, my “real world” was in serious trouble and needed my attention!

In my case, observing other “online groups” slowly falling apart, was the reassurance I needed—-it simply convinced me that my decision to network “offline”, was the right choice.

I questioned how people had so much time to be sitting at their computer/s, and wondered about the amount of time we were all wasting? You only have to time yourself—-from the moment you “turn-on”, to the time you “shut-down”, it can be a rude awakening!

Then consider what your “online” time consists of ie: chatting/blogging/reading email? How often and for how long are you spending time on any one network? In all honesty, time can just fly by, but have you truly benefited or could that time have been well spent elsewhere?

My recent “sea-change” has opened doors to some real social-opportunities, the first being a short walk from home, great exercise! Like other people from around my area, we will meet a couple of days a week at our local Neighbourhood Centre for some ZUMBA—-Latin-dancing that is combined with steps to “tone-up” whilst having loads of fun!

Too many of us are under a misconception about “online” friendships—-and this doesn’t include people we are already familiar with “off-line”.

Even though we become members of an organisation/club/group, and we are friendly towards each other, we still overlook reality—-when making friendships via the internet we are taking risks, even though it can be a lot of fun, it can also bring some disharmony.

Reflecting on the numerous “online-acquaintances” I have made over the past 8-9 years, I know too well how our better judgement is tested—-after awhile, the novelty sadly wears off, and we drift onto other websites/blogs/networks. Many times I have proudly announced my “latest friend”, only to learn it was more than distance which killed the “idea”—-the internet moves faster than time, and unless we all stay fixed to the one group, change is inevitable.

Remember, we are mingling within a virtual reality so no matter how sociable we try to be, we are only human!

VIRTUAL REALITY:

The artificial world created by an interactive computer technology which gives the user the illusion that he/she has entered and is acting in this constructed reality.

It takes ‘change’ in the way we think and the message we send—altering our mind-sets in order to bring about this change is relatively simple.
Start by inviting one (or more) of your “online” buddies to meet….NOT online, but in real time possibly even for a coffee and chat. Not only are you doing soemthing productive in your day but are also doing the friend a huge favour!

To be continued……………………………….

©Debbie Stevens

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