I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You: Reflection
Social Media began affecting our communication and relationships as early as 1969 when the first internet service provider become available to U.S. universities. In 2002, Friendster, the first social media website available to the U.S. was created and gained over 3 million members in just over 3 months. One year later, MySpace launched. In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg, a 24-year-old Harvard student, created Facebook, an online social networking service. This service was originally a way for students to interact. Today it is the world’s largest social networking service and allows over a billion users to connect though posting photos, sharing links, and comments which all appear on a “News Feed” that blasts out this information to all your virtual friends. For the current generation, this new way of communication is facilitating the act of never losing contact with anyone they have ever met. It also allows anyone on this platform to create new relationships with people they are interested in connecting with via internet.
In Clive Thomas’s “I’m So Totally, Digitally Close To You”, he discusses how Social Media has both positive and negative effects on relationships with friends and acquaintances. Thomas puts a large focus on the website Facebook. He discusses the pros and cons of the privacy level, ambient awareness, and effects on “weak tie” relationships that websites like Facebook create. He explains how this constant online communication, ambient awareness, gives you a sense of someone’s thoughts, actions, and experiences without actually being present. Thomas uses creditable sources such as Zeynep Tufekci, former assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, whose research is based on social interaction between society and technology. His research also includes Robin Dunbar, a British Evolutionary Anthropologist Professor at the University of Oxford, who specializes in primate behavior. Thomas concludes that the real issue of social media is the quality of our relationships with those around us. Are we spreading ourselves too thin among our “weak ties,” leaving us with fewer close relationships?
There are both positives and negatives to social networking. After reading his article, I began to reflect on my own experiences and looked further into the information he presented. I found Thomas’s piece to be extremely accurate and I agree with the majority of his claims. Thomas goes deeply into the limited privacy these websites provide, the ambient awareness that brings a whole new meaning to knowing someone, and how your “weak ties” may be stronger, but also impacting your real life relationships. The article made me realize how much this social media craze is affecting our population and myself.
Are you concerned people are watching you? If not, let me point out some...