Saturday, 26 February 2011

Social Networking

Love it or hate it, Facebook has become part of life for many of us that frequent the internet on a regular basis. I have no intention of dissecting the service offered or ranting about privacy issues, I just think that our interaction with what is offered, is worth exploring.



I have to say I "get" the idea, its all in the description, "Social" & "Networking"  Using computers to keep us connected takes the technology of a telephone into the next generation.. The idea that we can share a little of our lives with others is great. I have friends that have families scattered around the globe and Facebook allows an informal way of keeping in touch. I also have, friends, kids and family that organise their social life via Facebook events, or chats. I recognise too that it allows everyone to have their "15 minutes of fame" 

I have had a Facebook account for sometime now, Mrs RJR and my 2 eldest, Rachel and Jake do too. Our youngest Ruth doesn't and that's because we are strict and believe if an organisation states you have to be 13 to join they mean you have to be 13. It frustrates me when I hear radio discussions about Facebook not doing enough to protect the youngest... They shouldn't have accounts in the first place, you have to enter your date of birth to sign up, if you are under 13 you would have to be a little sparing with the truth.

As a family we have a good relationship and my kids are happy for their parents to be "Facebook Friends"  seeing their profile. I do think its important that we know what are teenagers do and who they interact with, not just in life but in their virtual lives too. Having said that, although I check in on their pages, I rarely join in their conversations. If something was going the wrong way advice would be offered off line face to face.

But....

I cant help feeling that Facebook users miss the point and the opportunity offered

Many times I used to log on and straight back off, because lots of Facebook content is a list of one line half teasing Status updates, I say teasing what I mean is  .."Albert is...recovering after a takeaway"  ......what does that mean?? Did it make him ill, has he eaten to much, do I need to call and offer my condolences, chastise for being greedy or send round some Rennies ?? I solved a lot of this by removing some "friends" from my list !
Now Albert (made up name) might not be very big on story telling but how about ....."Albert is resting after having a great Indian takeaway, Had a great evening with friends and watched our favourite show Take me out" ........This would have given me a bit more to go on, perhaps motivating  me to interact or Network in a Social way ??   I guess what I am getting at, surely the idea of a Social Network is that it makes us more social, next time I meet Albert and know what he likes to eat our relationship is a bit better?

The second point is mainly a concern for the more innocent, in particular our Youth, many times I wonder if they remember what they write is not the same as a Private Message or Email, it is basically PUBLIC !  Yesterday I saw a comment on Jakes wall by a friend, giving her Mobile Number out ?? This cant be a good idea can it.? Surely doing this via an inbox message or chat would be safer. I see comments and behaviour by kids that  just doesn't reflect the way they are in the REAL world. So point 2 I worry people forget that Facebook is not a game or Virtual world if you hurt or offend some ones feelings on line they are really hurt!

Finally I have seen a lot of desire for a "dislike" button. To me this just takes even more sociality out, to be a social network you have to socialise don't you ?? Lets all stop using the "Like" button and start using the "comment" button !!!!! If you dislike you can comment on that too !!


Feel free to socialize, interact and share your opinions on this, there is a comment box below but sorry no "Dislike" button :)

3 comments:

Ruth Teal said...

Only 4 months dad:)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Sensible analysis. I'm not on facebook but who am I to pontificate re its merits. Its not for me, so what. Whatever makes people happy.

Lynn said...

Well said John. I agree that the user needs to rely on their common sense and remember that whatever is posted on line never really disappears!

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