Social Networking and Friendship

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In the time it takes you to read this sentence 684,478 pieces of content will be shared on Facebook, 100,000 people will tweet, hundreds of thousands more will “like” an Instagram photo…and that’s if you read very quickly (Marrouat).

In this age, the Internet is used for everything from socialization to education. For these purposes the Internet has many advantages; anyone with a computer with Internet access can find that information, and anyone with a connection can add to that information, which makes the Internet the collected knowledge of millions of people. Perhaps the most popular use of the Internet, though, is its use as a tool for socialization. From forums where people gather to talk about the same interests, to Facebook where people socialize with friends and acquaintances, the Internet has revolutionized how we interact with people. Because of this dependence on the Internet, our relationships with other people are weakened, according to Clifford Stoll, because human relationships rely on face to face interaction for creativity and maintenance. In “Isolated by the Internet”, Stoll explores some of the effects this change from primarily face to face interaction to text based interaction has on people’s emotions. Stoll poses the theory: “The overwhelming majority of online friendships simply aren’t deep. One participant ‘appreciated the e-mail correspondence she had with her college age daughter, yet noted when her daughter was homesick or depressed, she reverted to telephone calls to provide support’” (Stoll 650). Stoll expresses the idea that while the Internet is useful for regular communication with all sorts of people, it cannot replace phone calls or face to face interaction in building relationships and pro...

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... people need a prior relationship in order for the Internet to prove useful, because the lack of personal interaction on the Internet creates a nearly insurmountable barrier.

Works Cited

Akst, Daniel. "America: Land Of Loners?." Wilson Quarterly 34.3 (2010): 25-27. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Feb. 2012.

Disalvo, David. "Are Social Networks Messing With Your Head?." Scientific American Mind 20.7 (2010): 48-55. Academic Search Premier. Web. 13 Feb. 2012.

Fisher, Richard. "Unfriend Me Not." New Scientist 207.2768 (2010): 02. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. Marrouat, Cendrine. “The Impact of Social Media on Society (infographic).” Social Media Slant. N.p., 29 July 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

Stoll, Clifford. "Isolated by the Internet." Mind Readings: An Anthology for Writers. Ed. Gary Colombo. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002. 648-654. Print.
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