Thursday, 21 November 2015 23:06
What kind of impact social networks have on our social relations? Does daily sharing of personal information with others and maintaining communication with several friends at the same time encourage our social skills and relationships or make them vulnerable?
Social networks offer the opportunity to provide easier and faster access to others
One quick "poke" or cute little virtual gift is sufficient indicator that we are interested in and that we want to start communication with somebody. Contacts are obtained quickly and easily, without the usual stress and strain that are often encountered in real social situations. Some people are naturally more closed, however, in the virtual space, everything seems much more relaxed and open to new acquaintances.
We have access to information and resources more than ever before
If we have a problem, question or want to share experience, it is enough to write a brief status and immediately after that, we get different answers from different people. It can help us to resolve the dilemma or indicate potential answers. Also, we ourselves can be useful and help other people with giving advice or suggestions.
Social networks allow us to more easily compare with others
On someone's profile we can find various details of his/her private life, so quickly we get an impression if that person is better or worse than us. Comparison with others can have advantages and disadvantages, depending on whether we estimate that we are "better" or "worse" than that person. However, the problem with comparing is that we always find someone who is better than us at something, and we become chronically dissatisfied.
Social networks often make us misinterpret virtual connections with real closeness
Real intimacy with people is built over time, through sharing experiences, thoughts and emotions, live, face to face, and often within a limited circle of friends. However, in social networks we easily fall into the trap of online social popularity, if we have a number of friends with whom we are in constant virtual communication and who like everything we post. That's how we build an illusion of our own rich social life and popularity, which disappears in the moment when log out. Moderation and balance between the virtual and the real social life is what will make our relationship rich.
Often quantity is more important than quality
Number of friends for many people is an indicator of social popularity and relevance. People, whether the ones we do know or we don't, become recognizable only as part of a growing mass of friends. It does not matter that with many of them we almost never communicate, they are still there, like extras on a virtual stage or even an imaginary audience. Also, we judge other people based on the number of friends: below 100, um, probably a loser; to 500 the ideal environment; above, um, threat, perhaps an online maniac. Often we are lost in the numbers, forgetting that none of us like to be seen as a number, unless it is the number one, the only, unique and invaluable.