Over recent years, social networking has emerged as a primary form of communication for many people in keeping up with their social circles amidst their busy lives. One of the major social networking sites, Facebook, has become the number one choice of many who use these types of sites. As with anything, there are always positive and negative aspects of technology and the way in which it changes our lives.
What many people do not realize is how much it is changing the dynamics in how we tend to interact with each other. Years ago, people were able to keep things private. With technology, our lives have become an open book and keeping our information private is next to impossible. As a result, we have to learn as a society what is acceptable and what is a social taboo when it comes to the use of sites such as Facebook.
Because social networking is so new, we do not have those unspoken rules ironed out, and as a result, we see postings with what most would consider inappropriate. The problem is the poster does not exercise restraint and is oblivious to their fopaux. Other times information is posted that someone would never bring up in a face-to-face conversation, but because they are behind a computer monitor and not seeing the reaction of their readers, they don’t even realize that their post may be a bit too much.
Then there is the whole privacy concern. People can take pictures anywhere and post them onto their pages and even “tag” you if you are on their friend list without your permission. Even though you can remove the tag, sometimes the damage is already done. Privacy is also a heated discussion due to the fact that Facebook is continually changing their privacy controls and their privacy policies. This makes it hard for the average user to keep the information they want private out of the hands of others.
With the newness of social networking sites and society’s need to catch up with social rules that come along with this new type of social interaction, many of us need to reconsider what information we are releasing on these sites, things that we post, and other things we display. Just because you cannot be physically seen when posting something, it doesn’t mean that others are not forming negative opinions about what was just posted. Personal information that would not be stated to someone in person does not need to be stated on a cyberspace wall. Remember that people from all social areas in a person’s life will be reading what is posted. Grandparents do not need to know in detail what just happened at a friend’s house last night. Employers are now looking you up on social networking sites to see what type of person someone presents to the world. Do they really want someone who can’t hold their tongue representing their organization?
When using a social networking site, we all need to realize that we are in public for everyone to see. Knowing how to handle yourself will be key as we move into a new era of socializing and interacting with others. We can use this new type of social interaction for our benefit or our demise. It’s all up to us based on how we handle ourselves and what information we give .