Social Networking: Positive or Negative #3

​   From my first and second blog post, I’ve certainly done a lot of work and personal research. For one, I made a survey and posted it on all of my social networking accounts to have people fill it out. As a result, 110 people filled it out (thank you if you were one of those people!).

            From my survey, I found lots of interesting information. When I was finishing up making it, I decided that I needed one last question. While I was trying to figure out what this one would be, I had a thought; I wonder how many people typically would remember a friends birthday if it weren’t for a facebook reminder? Pleased with myself for thinking of this question, I quickly typed it in, thinking that most people would respond with “Yes, of course I would remember a friend’s birthday!” Instead, my results spoke very differently. Turns out that 60% of people would not remember. To me, that is incredibly shocking. Because of that fact, I’m contemplating changing my birthday on facebook to a false date so a bunch of people wish me a happy birthday and then I get to laugh at them.

            From my survey, I also found the average time that people spend on social networking sites per day. The largest amount was that somebody said was 16 hours in total, which is astounding. The least was no time at all, and that was obviously from someone who didn’t have any social networking accounts. I tallied and found the average of my results, and created this chart:

Screen Shot 2012-05-21 at 6.06.24 PM
Screen Shot 2012-05-21 at 6.06.24 PM
I was also interested to see what social networking sites were the most popular, and so I made a question on my survey that the person could check all of the social networking sites that they have. From that information, I tallied the number of people who had each site and then divided it by the total number of people who answered my survey and made it into a percent, and then made this pie chart:
Screen Shot 2012-05-21 at 6.29.08 PM
Screen Shot 2012-05-21 at 6.29.08 PM
From my survey, I also found interesting small facts about the use of social networking. For example, I found out that 86% of people said that they were able to get in contact with someone whom they normally would not have been able to. Also, 42 people said that they have posted things on social networking sites that they regret. From those, 39 were teenagers. Lastly, 55% of people say that they have witnessed bullying on social networking sites.

            The most controversial question on my survey was “Have you found that you can express yourself better on social networking sites than you can in real life?” One of the best points that I saw was that when you’re behind a computer screen, you can think about how you want to articulate your thoughts and once you start typing words, you can always delete them if you haven’t posted them yet. Whereas in person, once the words are out of your mouth, you can’t take them back. However, a wonderful point that one of the responders posted was that “nothing on the web is ever personal or private, once it’s out there everyone can see it.” (here is an interesting article about that)

I even saw directly contradicting statements. One person answered “Yeah, because a lot of people are scared to say stuff to a person in real life so instead of confronting them in person, they will do it online.” After reading this, I was thinking about the wisdom of posting something online that you wouldn’t normally say when, as stated above, nothing is personal or private once it is posted. Ironically, someone directly stated against this saying, “No, because I believe that whatever you say on a social media site should be something you would say in real life.”

            One of the most interesting answers that I received, however, was this: “Better? No, definitely not. More carefully crafted? Sure. Those are different though.” Another one that can be discussed is when someone said “No. Social networking can sometimes remove the ‘human touch’ that is present in verbal communication.” Related to the concept of missing the “humanness” of a face-to-face conversation, one person answered “No, it’s difficult to communicate without using the non-verbals like body language, facial expression and tone of voice.”

Well, it’s time to make change. Throughout this entire process, I’ve been wondering what it’d be like to do a week without any sorts of social networking. And so, I decided to put this plan into action. Five of my friends and I (I tried to recruit more people, but my friends weren’t to keen on going an entire WEEK without facebook or twitter) started yesterday and are doing a week (May 28-June 4) free of these sites! Every day, we’re filling out a four question survey that I created which asks simple questions such as “How are you doing without social networking today?” and “Are you less distracted than you normally would be?” Results from this experiment will be posted next week.

            And so, the main question comes back: Is social networking good or bad? Through this project, I have become enraptured by both opinions, good and bad. I have heard excellent reasons for each of them, and I have certainly learned more about the topic itself. However, I only focused on a portion of the internet: social networking. With all information online, the use of google rather than textbooks, and the majority of communication happening on the internet, where is our generation headed? And once we become completely immersed in a technological life, will be able to get back out?

 Will we want to?

Here is my bibliography.

Comments (1)

Emalyn Bartholomew (Student 2015)
Emalyn Bartholomew

I really like how you maintained a neutral standpoint on the issue, pointing out the positive and negative affects of social networking. I think it was really interesting to see how people responded to your questions, as well. The survey was very well thought out, and I was also shocked at how many people rely on Facebook for birthdays. Nice conclusion to your series.