Online social networks reduces the amount of face-to-face conversations that people use to have back in the twentieth century. A social network is an outlet where people can chat, make new friends, share experiences, bond, and meet together- all at the same time. Common websites like Facebook and Twitter, more intensely Facebook, fit the description perfectly, when describing a niche for social interactions. Although they are an easy gateway to gratification, they diminish the quintessence of real human interaction.
Back in the old days, typically the mid to late 1900s, people did not have all these fancy virtual websites so often there would be personal conversations. But now, it is becoming a problem for us to be able to approach and speak to people or make a phone call, without seeing it as awkward or a hassle. According to the article Why can't we all just stop texting and have an actual face-to-face conversation for once?, by news editor David Thomas, people are starting to consider things like ‘’What? TALK to someone? Who does anything as old-fashioned as that any more?” Now a days people text, tweet, and make Facebook post. Although these modes of communication are certainly convenient and easy-to-use, they are definitely not as effective as a legitimate phone call. In the article, Social media is Transforming the Way We Communicate, by Sukhraj Beasla, a blogger on viralheat.com, this was her reaction of phone contacting: “I stare longingly at the phone missing out on hearing a dial tone, the butterflies I get when it connects through and the person on the other end picks up and I hear their sweet voice.” Obviously by her reaction, it is reasonable to say that the feeling of a phone call, in comparison to a text message, is much more intimate. It also says that old ways of communicating via phone call, face-to-face conversations are more real and feel a lot more human because they trigger emotions like jitter and nervousness.
The biggest problem of social networking sites is anonymous intimacy. This is when people spend countless hours on Facebook and Twitter and start to develop a false sense of actually knowing and befriending people who they communicate with. According to Rachna Jain, a clinical psychologist specializing in couple and marital therapy, this poses problems because considering what really makes an intimate relationship: “shared experiences, shared time together — like doing things together — and it relies on a shared history.” Being on Facebook or Twitter does provide some form of shared experience, since there is involvement in the same spectrum of imparted information; however, there is still a digital divide. There
is a big difference in feelings when you are in the presence of a person as opposed to being accompanied by people online. In person, there are facial expressions, body language, and voices are heard. They are a lot more resilient indicators of someone’s feelings toward a person than online because none of those characteristics are present; feelings are always mislead online and can never always be able to be estimated well, so it can’t really be telled when someone really considers a person to be friend or not. That is why communicating online is more effective in making friends.
Considering what anonymous intimacy does on social networks, It gives off a fake feeling of engagement and makes it seem a user has thousands of friends, when really the numbers are quite shorter. The infographic: Is social media making us socially awkward?, given by Sam Laird, a Mashable reporter, states that “despite the ease of connecting online, only 50% of Facebook users have 100 or more “friends.” This means that only half of all Facebook users have actual and real relationships with other people, not 1000 or 3,000, which is blown way out of proportion. The friend list is what keeps people tuned in and gives the false idea that someone has all of those friends, but they really don’t. This is because instead of going out and making actual friends, people would rather add or follow random people on Facebook and consider them a friend when they really aren’t. The statistics don’t lie, in the article Is Social Media Destroying Real-World Relationships?, it says that “20% actually prefer communicating online or via text message to face to face conversation, while a third said they're more likely to approach someone new online than off.” This shows that people are endeavoring more to make these “fake” friends/followers on facebook and twitter rather than developing real relationships and friends through personal communication, in the 21st century.
The sheer fact that the preference of online chatting is more prevalent than face to face conversations shows that people don’t talk as much personally. As a result of this, there will be less intimate relationships if these trends continue to rise, because people will prefer the more artificial feeling of communicating online (less personal bonding), rather than in person.
Laird, Sam. "Is Social Media Destroying Real-World Relationships? [INFOGRAPHIC]." Mashable. Schools.com, 14 June 2012. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. <http://mashable.com/2012/06/14/social-media-real-world-infographic/>.
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Beasla, Sukhraj. "Social Media Is Transforming the Way We Communicate." Viralheat Social Media Is Transforming the Way We Communicate Comments. Viralheat, 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 08 Oct. 2014. <https://www.viralheat.com/blog/2013/01/15/how-social-media-is-changing-the-way-we-communicate/>.
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- Thomas, David. "Why Can't We All Just Stop Texting and Have an Actual Face-to-face Conversation for Once?" Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 18 July 2012. Web. 08 Oct. 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2175274/Why-stop-texting-actual-conversation-once.html>.