As recent as 30 or even 20 years ago, the hives of all the social meetings in the country were local clubs, pubs, restaurants or going to each others homes for a nice evening together with close friends. Or in the case of children it was places such as the park, school, the local streets where they lived, an open field to play football in or just run around and go crazy in, the possibilities were endless! However, nowadays there is only one place to meet and talk to friends, and that is sitting at a desk and tapping away on the computer. Social networking is the biggest single growing industry online in the whole world and millions of us are part of it that share online texting quickly and easy.
How it all began…
Whether we like it or not, social networking has become an integral part of our lives. In the past, people who used to sit inside were the socially inactive ones, and the people who had the fewest friends with which to go out and have fun with. However now people who sit inside on the computer can be the people who stay most in contact with their so called “friends”, but is it better now, or were we really in our prime social age all those years ago so it seems, in the days before we could talk to a hundred friends on the same screen all at the same time?
The Modern perspective…
In the 80’s, before the mass instigation of computers into every household in the country, people actually met up and went to see each other! As shocking as this might sound to anyone growing up in this day and age, it was possible to have friends and see people without evening owning a computer. Show a teenager a stamp in out modern day and age and they probably wouldn’t even know how to use it! This is not because they are stupid, don’t get me wrong, it is purely because they have never ever had any use for them because none of them will even be able to remember a time when they couldn’t just pick up their phone and send a text message to a friend who most probably lives less than 1 minute down the road.
How it should be…
Right now you may be thinking that I am a middle aged man in a grump with all of this new technology that keeps coming out, partly just because I can’t understand how to use it in the first place. But I am actually an 18 year old teenager, and as you might expect I am on Facebook and I have an msn account, but I sometimes wish I didn’t have to be. Even at my limited age, I can remember when I was young, (about 8 years old I must have been) and whenever I came in from school, without fail, within 5 minutes my best friend Stuart would be at my house ringing on the doorbell (the old fashioned way of ringing someone I guess) and we would go out of the back of my house and just kick a ball around, there was no goal, no pitch marked out, it wasn’t even flat, but we didn’t care in the slightest.
We played for hours on end, day after day and we never once got bored, threw our jackets down on the overgrown grass for a goal and just played. But who needs to play football when you can play FIFA 2011 online with your friends, sadly this is the view of all young children now. They would rather play each other on an Xbox or PlayStation instead of actually playing! Back in the time when people went out and met up with their friends in person, the age which sadly I think we are all seeing the end of, people used to have real friends! The kind of friends that you could spend hours on end with and never get bored, the kind you could trust with your life. I’d love to see the results if there was a survey to see how many people would trust their “friends” on Facebook with their lives, I seriously doubt it would be a percentage more than 0.01!
Social Networking has some good points (but not many)…
In all fairness, maybe I’m being very cynical, I mean Facebook is a good way to meet new people, (although when I say meet I mean it in the loosest possible meaning of the word because most of the people you find on Facebook you will never see in person in your life). I am not ashamed to admit that I am also on Facebook, along with the other 500 million people in the world, but I am not on there because I prefer it to seeing people in person, I made myself an account a few years ago because not being on Facebook was actually preventing me from seeing my friends absurdly.
Facebook has now become the number one place to find out about everything that is going on, on average people on Facebook made 90 pieces of content per month, and admittedly most of them is random stuff which only the weird people who chose to spend their life Facebook stalking people care about, some of it is vital to read if you want to go anywhere that day. Without Facebook I wouldn’t know about half of the time that my friends are going out and want me there, so in that sense it has now managed to become necessary to have Facebook in order to have a active social life.
Is it worth it?
Sadly, I feel that I have to concede to social networking, because they seem to have won the war and nearly 250 millions people log onto Facebook every single day! But as much as I feel that it is a near necessity in life today, I still feel that it isn’t a patch on the real world, on average, the users on Facebook have 130 friends, but they spend so much time on the computer that they probably don’t know 130 people in the real world anymore! Nearly a tenth of the world’s population are a part of a social networking site, and so they have now become alive virtually and on the screen, however, as a result of this, are all of these people becoming only virtually alive instead of really living?