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Friday, January 2, 2015

Contradiction in terms (Social Network)

Contradiction in terms (Social Network)

The ideal circle of friends varies by individual’s needs and ability to maintain.  Before the advent of what is the accepted Social Network of modern times (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., etc.), a social network was your circle of friends and relatives.  Friends and relatives are not like an item that you can send to storage and bring it out when you need it.  Some friends and relatives are needy, others are clingy, and In any case all require a level of maintenance.

The better the friend and or relative the less maintenance he or she needs.  It, however, requires a very smart and astute individual to be able to know which level is which, and then, the level of maintenance that you employ can and is a reflection of the kind of friend that you are.  As an example, if you ignore one of your good friends or relatives because you’ve determined that this is one of the good ones that don’t require a lot of maintenance, how are you being perceived?  Are you being categorized as one of the good ones or are you one of the not so good ones because you don’t actively nurture the relationship.

A good person (friend or relative) should minimally call or email a person considered a friend (or relative) at least every month or two, just to say how are you and how are you doing (more often depending on age or health conditions).

With regard to the modern Social Network the contradiction lies in the fact that some of the loneliest people are the type that are most drawn to it.  Imagine a person (possibly bordering on being an introvert), small circle of friends if any, and seldom attends celebratory events (parties) because of shyness.  All of a sudden they discover Facebook, a place where you can be as active as you want to be, and no one can put pressure on you to do other than as much as you want to do.  You can even decide to delete your page and no one will call you are knock on your door to see why you dropped out.  Soon you discover that you can even share your opinion without consequences because you are not held accountable.  You can even be the opposite of who you are, you can be a social butterfly.  You have the opportunity to re-invent yourself.

For some the social network can be a magnification of who they already are, and for others it is an escape from reality, and the opportunity to further remove yourself from interacting socially with real friends and relatives.  Lately I’ve heard people asking about someone and the responds most often heard is she is around I saw one of her posts on Facebook the other day.

Another contradiction is that many of the (selfies) pictures posted are either photo-shopped or of better years gone by (usually as many as 20 years).  With the old traditional circle of friends, you really knew the individuals you were interacting with and even sharing a cup of coffee with.  The new social circle includes deception at many levels and even the cups of coffee shared are virtual.

There is also the tendency to want to share all your problems on the social network because it garners you minimally sympathy and understanding (sometimes even money).  There have been instances where people have faked having a terminal illness and received large sums of money, sent by well-meaning individuals.

I am not anti the modern social network but like in everything else in life, I would recommend caution.  A very large world has just been invited to your home through the miracle of the internet, and that includes; criminals, scammers and other fakes.  With a little bit of caution you can make the Social Network a satisfying experience.  The best is yet to come….

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