Social Networking: Has It Replaced Face-To-Face Interactions? Essay

Social Networking: Has It Replaced Face-To-Face Interactions? Essay

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Ten years ago, if you were to ask a random person on the street how many friends they had, they probably would have thought a short while and told you anywhere from 5 to 20 people in their lives were considered friends. Ask an average college-age person today, and the answer might very well be several hundred. The term ‘friend’ has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to the advent of social networking technology, and the degree to which our culture is now connected to the internet. Computers were just the beginning of our layers of connections. Cell phones, video game systems, and even TV’s are now wired into the net. Connecting to friends and loved ones who are located a world away is now instantaneous thanks to email, instant messaging, and web-cam programs like Skype. The past decade has certainly seen society become much more tech-savvy and electronically linked.
One has to wonder if all this increased instant communication has taken a toll on our culture. The tradition of sending letters and greeting cards has been overtaken by email and e-cards. The same sentiment is there, but does the recipient feel the same effort was made to contact them? If we want to visit a relative but are short on time and funds, we just hook up the webcam and have a family video conference. We’ll get to talk to our loved ones and see them, but no hugs or warm embraces can be exchanged. Can it possibly be the same?
Let’s consider the example we started with, a random college-age person today might tell you they have several hundred friends. If so, they are probably considering their online friends from social networks like Myspace and Facebook. Many of those people may only be casual acquaintances, met once at a party or social function where the...

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...Center for the Study of Technology and Society. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.
The Social Network. By Aaron Sorkin and Ben Mizrich. Perf. Jesse Eigenberg. Columbia Pictures, 2010. DVD.
"Social Network: the Interaction Is Involuntary." Web log post. Jack's Opinion. Mar. 2011. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.
"Social Networks/Blogs Now Account for One in Every Four and a Half Minutes Online | Nielsen Wire." Nielsen Wire. The Nielsen Company, 15 June 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2011. .
Wallenstein, Andrew. "Why Can't Facebook 'Friends' Accept Rejection?" Day to Day. NPR. 7 Aug. 2008. National Public Radio. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.
Watkins, S. Craig. The Young and The Digital: What The Migration To Social-Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means For Our Future. Boston: Beacon, 2009. Ebook.

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