The Impacts of Social Networks It created hues and cries among the American intellectuals when Mike Sachoff revealed the result of the survey by Arbitron and Edison Research on the use of social media. The surprising revelation is that more than three quarters of the teens and almost the same percentage of middle aged persons in the nation presently use social media…
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As one enters one of the social network giants, Facebook, for example, one sees a world of real lawlessness and thereby fearlessness. It is found that one can embed or share any information from anyone and there is no fear of copyright infringement. In addition is the fact that anyone who wishes to say anything to the world can do so as far as it does not cross into the boundaries of mere indecency. Thus, it seems to me that gone are the days when media giants biased valuable news of international importance and continued feeding the public such spiced ones that served no role of media but of business. Now, one cannot stop a Palestinian from boldly uploading a human right violation video or other people around the world from watching it. It is no more necessary for Reuters to report what happens in Iraq as it is available to the entire world through the eyes of an Iraqi woman, an American soldier, or even an Al-Qaeda terrorist, and that too, without the axe of editing. Thus, it seems to me that the most attractive feature of social network sites is the promotion of free speech or the implementation of real democracy in its absolute sense. However, the question that arises in my mind is if it is right to reveal everything to everyone. For example, though most of these sites require that one should be at least 14 years of age to get an account, it is possible for children to adjust their age for this great purpose. Admittedly, no one can claim that all those guys one meets in such social networks are there to tell truth or to promote virtue. Evidently, a considerable proportion is there only to trap the innocent, because at present, social networks are a safe haven for those who want to masquerade. So, despite the so called stipulations on age as imposed by the administrators, the young and naive and the antisocial get a chance to meet and exchange ideas. Evidently, not all minds are good resistors to temptation. In simple terms, the excess of sex and violence in the virtual world of social network sites is not good for children. It is rather surprising to note contradicting views on the effect of social networking sites by various scholars. For example, one study asserts that social networking sites lead to digitization of relations. It is claimed (addictionblog.org) that many youngsters prefer social networking sites for interaction to face to face communication because they find it comfortable to express themselves in this way. So, they tend to alienate themselves from the real world outside, thus creating a social stigma. When their next door neighbor remains an alien, another stranger from another continent becomes their close friend. Evidently, this will considerably alter the concepts of community, neighborhood, and friendship and so on. On the other hand, another study claims that as social networking helps people gather necessary information much faster than ever before, they get more and more time to spend with their own families and friends, and also in other social activities. Admittedly, both the sides are correct, to some extent. In fact, there is a benefit of social networking sites over and above the real society. That is, one can easily find like-minded people in such networks as the networks arrange people in virtual communities based on all
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