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Monday, 16 January 2012

The big Twitter/Facebook debate...

Is it unsocial to social network?

I'll be honest, I truly love both Twitter and Facebook. I've had accounts with both for years. I've only recently worked out how to use Twitter and now I really can't stop tweeting. This must annoy my 'followers' but for the reasons below it'll become apparent why I just don't care! (I do a little but I'm working through it). Ive been updating my Facebook status' in a similar vein since I opened my account.

Being on maternity leave, social networking has been the only way which I have been able to keep in touch with the outside world. I haven't had time to read papers. Or watch the news. Or even speak to people some days.

With Twitter and Facebook I don't need to. I an just log on and there it is. News from all over the world updated as it happens. Who needs anything else? In addition to that it carries peoples opinions and they are invaluable. Not the opinions of a newspaper editor. Not the opinions of a news broadcaster. No political interference. Just the opinion of the man on the street. Scroll down and undoubtedly you will find the opposite opinion. I love it.

I also love putting my own opinions out there. Lets be honest that's why I've got a blog. I love being able to wade in there with my own unique opinion and stirring it up a bit. Doing it on a social network allows me to get my point out there in an uninhibited way. No one interrupts you before the end of your sentence. Of course they can comment later but by then they have your full thoughts.

You also have the power of editing. You don't like a post, you can take it back. You cant do that with speech.  You can also consider how best to put it out there before pressing the post button and telling the whole world what you think.

It sounds like I'm trying to suggest using social websites instead of interaction in 'real time'. I'm not. I love people. I just like the addition of the network. That way you never really have to be alone.

They are there all the time. Even in the middle of the night. They're not put off by a screaming baby or lack of makeup. You don't have to make them cups of tea or seek out new forms of entertainment. You can just be yourself. Right then and there with no airs and graces. You can just pick up your phone and be connected to a world wide network of gossip, advice and bitchiness. Fantastic...

For me, It's been like a lifeline enabling me to keep in touch with what's going on outside my bubble. For others its not so good. There are those people who become obsessed with social networking. 9some people may say I'm in this bracket...I'm not honest)... they literally step out of the reality of life and hide behind a computer screen. They cant handle the harshness of life and so they stop living in a conventional way.

There are those who have on line relationships. I don't just mean those who use sites to create Avatars. They aren't happy with who they are in reality and therefore they create a kind of super being of themselves. or rather of who they wished they were. This way they get to control everything about their persona. The way they look. The way they act. The skills they get the picture.

They marry one another, have babies, get careers and die. Basically they have a life in a different dimension. A life that they can control by logging in and out. (In Japan its even illegal to kill an Avatar - it can carry the same sentence as the murder of a person - such is the value of the Avatar). Surely this level of commitment goes beyond social and ventures into the realms of danger and risk? This is often where people invest time and money and forget to live for real because that just doesn't seem as important as the character that they can create and control.

The other factor is security. Are we really safe to put ourselves out there? My parents (who don't have accounts unsurprisingly) are constantly in fear that my bother and i will fall foul of fraud as a result of our networking. They are convinced that simply opening an account pretty much means your details are provided to a criminal war lord so that they can wipe your bank account and pass themselves off as a twenty something solicitor from the midlands...

Of course this isn't necessarily the case but there are some precautions that you should take. I can understand why people have reservations. I really can. I know there is a darker side. You just have to be careful. I mean if you add Rythearsh Uyjxfbsa from Kazakhstan with whom you have no mutual friends, just to boost your 'numbers' then in my opinion you are asking for trouble. Why would you?

There are ways to protecting yourself and accepting dubious friend requests isn't one of them...

The other thing is putting too  much of yourself 'out there'. do you really want everyone knowing your business? Should you really argue with members of your family in full view of your Internet world? No of course not...its like reading a script for Jeremy Kyle...great for those who read it but not great for your dignity.

For me they are great. I can watch the world go by at the click of a button. I can see what goes on and comment if i like. That suits me just fine.

I think that like everything in life, social networking is fine in moderation. Don't let it take over your life, stay safe and remember to live. then enjoy one of the most innovative inventions of our generation!

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