Monday, 16 September 2013

Week 3: Social Networking

Posted by Beryl at 02:23

My third post!

As you can see in my second post, I do not really have any form of social media.

Yet, I am perfectly fine with it and my social life is not that much of a mess.

Which begs the question: Why are social networks so important that everybody is asking me to create social-networking accounts and yet why I myself am not compelled to get them and how am I (or more specifically my social life) surviving without it?

I wonder...
Social networks, as defined by Wikipedia, is "a social structure made up of a set of social actors (such as individuals or organizations) and a set of the dyadic ties between these actors". Social networking sites facilitates these ties, and these include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. In a previous module, I learnt a few terms that are applicable to the social networking context. These terms include weak and strong ties and network roles consisting of social insiders, social outsiders, social connectors, social neighbours and social gateways. They are all important terms that explain more about people's roles in their networks, as well as the complexity of the networks.

Moving on...

Social networking has many useful functions, I must admit. Below are my points in numbered form, because it is easier to read than a chunk of text:

  1. We can get the latest updates about people's lives, and keep in touch with friends any time and anywhere to keep relationships strong. 
  2. We can get to know more people who share the same interests as us, with platforms such as Pinterest to serve that purpose. We get to know people's links with each other, making it easier to discover that we share mutual friends. This information could come in handy later when we need favours.
  3. Speaking of favours, we can make use of our other weak links (such as acquaintances) to form connections as well. This allows us to request for favours in the future. 
  4. People can even use social networking sites to satiate their curiosities and follow celebrities to get updates about their daily activities, not to mention support them.
  5. Getting jobs could be easier too, as others can hire you or you could look for a job on platforms such as LinkedIn. 
  6. Mobilizing a group of people for a cause and getting fresh information is also easy with social networking. The Arab Spring is a prime example, as people were able to receive on-the-ground information in real time. Furthermore, social activists successfully utilised Facebook and Twitter to organize protests against the government. 
  7. The inconvenience of not having social network accounts when everybody else has one also encourages one to get them so that they do not get left out of conversations or other activities. 
  8. From the perspective of businesses, they are able to advertise their product or service to a wider reach of people. Promotions are also commonly presented through social media and people can even 'Like' a company's Facebook page to get offers. This marketing method is relatively inexpensive yet effective and efficient.

The quote below aptly sums up the benefits having social networks:

Very true.
However, much like my social media post, I don't use social networking sites as there are also certain downsides to their uses.

  1. Social networking requires one to be up-to-date with everybody else. The amount of information coming in might be overwhelming at times and it is hard sieving through the countless information. Lots of time is needed to go through the information as well.
  2. It is troublesome to manage your accounts. Having to constantly update your accounts seems like a waste of time sometimes, especially when it is just about random things like what you are doing now ("Am writing a blog post and it's taking forever!").
  3. There is less need to meet up in real life when you can know the details of another person's life through their updates.
  4. As more and more people go online to network, conversations become lesser. I personally have experienced this countless of times, where a table full of people would just be on their phones instead of talking to each other. No interaction?

  5. The need to social network could serve as a distraction, with many people unable to concentrate on conversations with their friends (like me) and even lessons.
  6. Through social networking sites we tend to see the worst in some people. There are the narcissists, the show-offs, and various other colourful characters that turn people off.
  7. Don't people feel like stalkers sometimes going through other people's accounts? I do not really like that icky feeling. The thought of people knowing something you did without you being aware of it is kind of weird too.
  8. I really feel strongly about my privacy. Therefore, social networking sites will definitely not help in this belief of mine. While there are times when I feel like sharing things but am unable to do so, I do not really mind as they can be used for future conversation fillers instead.

Here's a chart of interesting facts about social network users in different parts of the world:
Please click me for a better viewing experience and to find out which few countries Facebook is not taking control of!

As always, I try to put up some statistics that gives a better picture of the topic of the week:

I require clicking to have a better viewing experience as well!
The statistics don't fail to amaze me. As always, I am proud to not be a part of the numbers.

To round it off, I guess I am jaded about the social networking experience. At the start it might seem fresh and fun, but the thought of needing to constantly make updates (because I am that kind of person) will make me feel like a slave to social media (I had a similar experience with game apps that consumed a significant amount of my time). I feel that it is a little too late for me to catch up anyway, and it is too tiring to keep up with everybody. As I mentioned before, I have a small circle of close friends, and I keep my all contacts in my phone, so it is not like I do not have a social life at all or have no connections. Thus,I don't need a social network account. We all just need to put in the effort to actually get in touch with someone to catch up with them or sincerely ask for a favour to achieve the same result. Granted, this method might not be as successful or efficient, but it is nonetheless fulfilling (at least to me) to do so. Everyone has a right, and while people have the right to use social media, I have a right not to use it too.

Signing off! #berylhasnosocialmedia #totallyfinewithit


Anonymous said...

As a user of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I actually agree with you on your first point for the downsides of social networking sites.

Information-flooding on social networks happen to me rather frequently, especially on Twitter. When info-flooding happens on my account, I get an overwhelming and massive amount of tweets (like about 4 or 500+ of them) and being a Twitter-addict means I spend a long time trying to read each and every message and also view the pictures attached to the tweet.

There was once when I tried to (and was determined to) read through all the tweets on my timeline and when I finally managed to do so, it's SIX HOURS later. Yes, 6 hours. The info-flooding was that bad. Just that luckily, I was rather free that day and didn't had much work to do. If not, I could have done so much more within that 6 hours than facing my handphone screen the whole time.

Before Twitter, I used to view ALL the posts on my Facebook feed and remember where I stopped so the next day I'd know where to read till. Today I just scroll through Facebook from the latest available post and read till I don't feel like doing so anymore. So sometimes I take 15minutes, sometimes I take just 5.

SNS can get really addictive. It makes me feel that I have to read everyone's posts to keep up with them. Hence I am sometimes envious of people like you who don't do social media, because you people have more time for other things that people like me don't.

Huiwen on 17 September 2013 at 01:00 said...

Hashtags! Though you might not have any social networking accounts, you're still somewhat familiar with them, huh? :) Personally, I do agree that social networking sites are useful for the purpose of keeping up to date with people, particularly for Twitter and Instagram (which are the SNS that I use). It provides a different channel for communication of different content—the things that people post on those SNS aren't exactly the same as those they would talk about in real life. Sometimes, for me, these provide new topics of conversation amongst my friends because we can reference things that might've been done with other people such as going to restaurants or concerts, etc.

Just like you, though, I'm quite wary of what I reveal online! Which is why I don't post on Facebook at all—there's just too many eyes, and not all of them are people close to me either. I too agree that SNS just takes too much time, another reason I never go on Facebook (there's just too much stuff about things I don't care for). Even though I'm active on Twitter, I sometimes end up without checking it for an entire day.

Also, "am writing a blogpost and it's taking forever"—SO TRUE. Hehe.

poonie on 17 September 2013 at 02:34 said...

Totally agree with the list of downsides about social media! The one thing I really cannot get over is the lack of privacy, especially since I use gmail which is owned by Google who in turn owns Youtube and then they start linking all my accounts together and... you get the idea. Sometimes I just want to keep my accounts separate, you know? And sometimes I just want to stop receiving random emails/notifications from services that I've been automatically signed on to just because they linked my accounts. That's why I lock up my Twitter/Instagram, don't add random people on FB, and make sure not to post anything overly personal on Tumblr.

Also, the dongwan gif <3 So cute <333

Huien Loi on 18 September 2013 at 22:14 said...

Yes, I have to admit that I'm such a slave to social media so I've been actively trying to cut down on my activity (which has been going pretty well so far).

Sometimes, I feel that using social networking sites also gradually reduces the sincerity felt through messages. When I was 15, I used to be so happy to see all the birthday wishes on my Facebook wall. Now that I'm 20, whenever people that I'm not close to wish me 'Happy Birthday', I will always ponder, do they just wish simply because FB notified them? I slowly start to dread it when my birthday comes because when I thank them, I feel so fake. It's like we both know that it's not sincere on both sides, so I'd rather them not wish me at all.

Way to go Beryl! I really admire your determination!

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