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Friday, February 19, 2010

Socializing in Social Networks: What happened to good ol' handshakes?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is right. Facebook or any other social media sites is not just a website, it's becoming a movement. The boom of social networking have become overwhelming that social media sites such as Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter (just to name a few) are included in the top most visited sites in 2009.

There has been great dependency of society on social media. It serves as a tool for interaction, however liquid, people are able to share and connect with each other over the most convenient means. Instead of touching base with just one individual, it gives a person to broadcast to all or his selected "friends". People whom we are, let's say, shy to meet and greet in person will appear more accessible using social media. Also, social media can serve as an interaction point of ideas and opinions compared to one-way process of sender and receiver. We get to say our two-cents worth without the fear of images of people pointing at you and laughing at what you said. If something totally embarrassing would come out, just delete your account and set up a new one or create a new persona/profile/username if you want to.

Hopefully social media sites wouldn't come to be a way of life that it interferes or even replace physical connection with actual friends. Our real social skills are ironically becoming less social and more anti-social. One observation is how people would interact in supposed social meeting spots, let's say a coffee shop. Instead of talking face to face (even making eye-contact), most would just pop open their netbooks and chat or exchange messages/comments/status updates on Facebook/Twitter and the like. And because of mobile web techonology, we could come to observe people, curiously silent most of the time, looking down on their phones during a nice dinner in a restaurant instead of conversations. We might as well be having dinners in our own homes, infront of the computer/phone; we bet more things will be discussed in that set-up.

Another thing, if you would take a look at your friends list, would you be able to say that all these people are your friends? The types whom you can connect to in person as much as online? Would you rather settle for liquid relationships than solid ones?

Lavalark is not saying social media is bad, but we hope that people would not forget that actual real life socializing capabilities make us interconnected on a deeper level more than any electronic means. Sometimes a pat on the back, a hug or a handshake followed by an exchange of "Hi, how are you?"s would be more meaningful than the "Add as a friend" button.


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