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Social Networks: A Positive or Negative Effect on Society?

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3 November 2012
Social Networks:
A Positive or Negative Effect on Society?
Through the years social networking sites have become increasingly popular with sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others. These social networking sites offer an alternative way to communicate with one another without being face-to-face. However, these social networking sites have produced a generation of youth that lack simple social skills, not to mention the negative effects they have had on the educational system. Even though social networking has produced a myriad of negative out comes, social networking sites also allows the ability to exchange ideas and information faster, farther and better than conventional modes of communication. Politics have begun to use social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube to get more and more youth involved in politics than ever before. Social networking has become a major part of our everyday lives be it for communication, education or politics.

Communication is the main aspect of human interaction, be it verbal or physical we are always sending messages to each other. Since social media has become the dominate way of communication, people’s basic skills have been hindered; many of today’s youth do not have the ability to interact face-to-face. According to “Pro & Con Arguments” teens spend about 18 – 21 hours a week on social networking sites. Since teenagers are spending more time on the computer they are spending less time with family and friends. Because they spend less time with family and friends it makes them more prone to isolation. Isolation leads to lack of social skills and more depressed youth. Kids grow up and don’t learn the social culture of their culture, but instead learn the culture of the internet.

Web culture is cold and the people who only participate in this culture have trouble conveying emotion and getting messages across in a face-to-face situation. Prolonged usage of social networking sites and the internet in general has proven to cause a number of negative personality traits, mental issues and physical health issues. These health issues can range from indecisiveness, lack of an attention span, depression. But on the other hand social networking can be a great way to connect with people across the world, family, friends or even
business associates.

Social network sites have the ability to create relationships with people around the world from different countries. It also allows you to reconnect with family members and friends. These kinds of opportunities make it possible for people to strengthen relationship that are not able to be achieved in person. Also social networking is another form of freedom of expression. People are able to expresses their opinions about anything. Along with opinions people are able to put picture up and videos which shows who they are as a person. With social networking it exposes a person to new ideas and the ability to exchange them as well such as political debates.

Social networking opens many different chances for people; businesses can communicate with each other, job opportunities can be shared across the country or to even a select type of people, and romantic relationships can be made as well.

The educational system has also been positively and negatively impacted by social network sites. One of the negative impacts of social networking on the academic environment is that homework isn’t being done to its fullest potential because students have the distraction of these sites. Since it isn’t done correctly the student comes to class ill-prepared without a full understanding of the topic, and then ultimately students’ grades suffer. When 685 public and private schools were polled 71% of teachers believe that social networks are hurting children’s attention span. Social networking sites do not have students read long articles.

Students aren’t looking at the same thing for very long which is shortening their attention span. Also 58% believe that it is having a negative impact on their writing. With social network sites slang is being used and spelling isn’t care for. In their writing it is reflected because students have become lazy. Social network sites also have the ability to help students. It is a fast and effective way of retaining information, along with sharing or discussing information. 59% students who use social network sites use it to discuss educational topics and 50% of students use it to discuss school assignments. It is a way for students to contact one another in an efficient way to make sure the assignment is accomplished. 63% of teachers believe students find information more effectively through social network sites. 34% also think social network sites improve a student’s ability to multitask. One of the most powerful impact social networks have is politically and socially. Through social network you can spread a message in a matter of seconds.

When a child or person has been harmed or went missing one of the first places it goes on is the internet. People come across these messages and put them on the social media where it spreads. Because of the fast spread of this information justice is getting done faster, more people are being found and stories that would otherwise disappear are brought to light and to the attention of the world along with. A great example of the use of social networking to get a message across is the story of Kara Alongi. Kara was a New Jersey girl who had tweeted that someone was in her house and in a matter of hours people were tweeting she had gone missing and that she needed to be found before anything happened.

The amount of people talking about it, and reposting her tweet brought a lot of attention to Kara’s plight. Social networks sites have also evolved to become pivotal in the political world. On the positive side social networking sites are being used to spread a politician’s view, ideas, or promises. Politicians who capitalize off of the electronic medium are shown to attract a large new fan base previously thought to be unreachable by politics. Youth have become more and more interested in politics and have given many politicians, like Obama in the 2008 election, a sharp edge over their opponents.

But just as easy as it is to get positive news out and to promote yourself, it is just as easy for opponents to mud-sling on greater levels with whole web sites and Facebook pages dedicated to tarnishing your name. Sometimes it’s not an opponent ridiculing you; because of the increase in youth involved in politics today they create pictures call “memes” that solely exist to make fun of a person or situation. In regard to this current Presidential campaign, Mitt Romney has taken a hard blow on social networking, from his infamous “47%” comment to his orange appearance at the Latino/a convention. Social networking has revolutionized the political world.

Social networking has changed the world, from how we see it to even how we interact with it. It has been a catalyst for some strong movements, made moving and obtaining information infinitely easier and has instilled more world interest in youth. But it has also limited our capability to interact face-to-face, reduced our ability to focus and has become a new medium for some of the harshest forms of bullying ever. As it is with most things in this world, there are up and downs to the usage of Social networking but one thing remains constant. That it’s influence on our lives is not going to end anytime soon. Just as with most other things we will have to learn moderation and proper etiquette with this new tool so that it can be used to the fullest of its capabilities while avoiding the negatives it brings along with it.

Thesis: Social networking has become a major part of our everyday lives be it for communication, education or politics.
A. Con: Human interaction
B. Pro: Build relationships
ll. Education
A. Con: Academics
B. Pro: Fast and effective
lll. Social impact
A. Pro: Getting message across quickly
B. Con: Negative media coverage

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