How much of our lives in Social Networks is social?

We all live and breathe Social Network today. But how much of that communication is social and how much of that information is actually rather private? It is well known that social interacting has been a great breakthrough with sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. They have entered all aspects of our lives, from business, social to private. In this day and age, it’s becoming more and more challenging to make a clear cut between them, to somehow know which belongs where, and how much of that ‘real life’ we are supposed to share.

A decade ago, Social Networks were just a trend that was starting to flourish, the word Facebook wasn’t known, Twitter was seen as a meaningless tool and LinkedIn was seen by many of us as a digital curriculum. Finally, Social Networks have grown into an imperative part of our lives. At present, one cannot perceive the world without socializing through social networks. And it’s really surprising that phones were only used to send text messages and make calls. This indicates that Networks have changed our society permanently. Twitter and Facebook are two of the places where most of us go to access various sources of information. Even journalists live tweet their opinion about a particular situation. Besides that, we can read different points of view that can help us to reach our own conclusions about a specific topic. If we can’t communicate with somebody on the phone we can maybe send them a voice or a text message. Maybe use Facebook Messenger, tweet them or Viber text them. Also, you will know what other people do when reading their publications in this social accounts. Now, being aware of other people, being alert of what is trendy, what is in and what should we do to be like everybody else and fit in better is expected of all of us. If you, for example, apply for a job, even before they invite you to an interview they screen your Facebook Profile, check your LinkedIn for suitable connections or revise your thoughts on Twitter in order to ‘measure’ how sociable you are and will you be the appropriate match for the company. So those of you who still have a big resistance on Social Networks are seen like people who cannot fit in well in today’s society. Because in their opinion social Networks allow you to amplify a message worldwide, which for the entrepreneurs is a unique opportunity. Previously, corporations had to use millions of bucks just to advertise their business or products around the world. Now they can get it for free using us as their supporters.

These platforms have imposed a new form to relate; they are used to broadcast data in areas such as policymaking, commercial, sporting or university circles. A lot of studies have revealed that extreme use of social networks can lead to addictive behaviors and promote negative aspects such as bullying, cybersex, information and identity theft, among many others. Lately, there has been an upsurge in Internet management, which has become very important because it permeates all our daily activities. The platforms we use are medias of communication that have conditioned the way we as humans interrelate with each other. Some people spend a lot of time on the Web and can prioritize this activity above their personal ones, above families or even work. They do this because they compensate to some extent, some shyness to communicate face to face with other people, as through Facebook one can present himself as a young person, intelligent, attractive, wealthy; and thus compensate for something that in his real social life he doesn’t have, that is to build an inaccurate image of what one is. This does not happen to all users of social networks. For this to occur, the person must have certain characteristics in their own subjective structure. Among the encouraging characteristics of the Internet is the increment of academic level of the population, as it has shown to be a useful tool that has favored obtaining and updating information; also it increases the skills and competencies of people who use it. Social networking today is not only associated with digital natives, i.e., young people who have grown up under this system; it has been found that older adults have also been integrated into this type of communication and, unlike the middle-aged population, in some case there have been lesser difficulties to engage with this new media. So, we must recognize the positive impact on educational aspects and the development of information, but at the same time, we must be cautious because these social networks are affecting people’s lives and driving them away from their social space.

According to some experts, 301 minutes is the average time a day spent on the Internet; and the usage of social networks is the third most common activity. But, when a person spends a lot of time using social networks and the Internet that can develop into an addiction. When the person doesn’t have control over the time he/she spends online that’s when is considered an addiction. Because of this, that person has affected other aspects of his/her life, behavior, his/her thinking and emotional and social relationships. Treatments for this type of addiction consists of programs in which we examine what is the key motive for such activity, which generally replaces deficiencies in the social or affective domain. Thus, there are groups where individuals exchange experiences and seek to strengthen social networks with their families and environment, in order to break this general isolation in which they find themselves. The main advice given in these groups is if we use a social network we need to keep a certain quantity of space between our privacy and the people who have the right of entry to it. Prudence is a very imperative factor that can help us to avoid the damage that other people can cause.

When Zuckerberg started Facebook he stated that it the network wasn’t created to make money but in order to fulfill a Social function. According to his words, the global information infrastructure should resemble the social: a web built from the bottom up, among peers, rather than monolithic, from top to bottom, a structure that has existed to this date. The freedom demanded by users on the Internet, like everything else, is attached to a certain responsibility. All users are not journalists and communication specialist, but many of them report from social networks. In a digital world with total freedom, where laws have not yet managed to reach, it is the users who must demonstrate a common sense that often it isn’t shown. In a time where the reporter can be any, the right to information should be a required reading for many. Social networks have a social role in identifying with the media and becoming a showcase for them. And the users are converting into informants when they use these social networks and personal blogs in order to inform other followers of the social network. Something that governments fear is that users will report truthfully on a thorny issue that mass media are trying to hide under political pressure. That way, situations like Arab Spring or the 15-M Movement are emerging. Faces of freedom acquired on the Internet. The guarantee of democracy in many countries, because they are responsible for informing objectively.

Social Networks have altered the way we communicate, we congratulate our birthdays, we choose partners or politicians for whom we are going to vote. Their attraction is very easy to clarify. In a world where we are living fast, the communication is reduced to instant messaging for direct human contact has been replaced by messages on the screen. This, however, is not always a bad thing, because any communication is better than – none. But let’s not overlook that when the Internet was created it was structured as a connection for the academic population to interchange useful information. With time, the power of the Internet grew and it began its commercialization and the formation of a new virtual world, which is similar to a jungle with the main base – social networks. On the Web, people are goods and numbers, subject to manipulation, given the large number of current information, and the rush for sensations in order to win as many people as possible, i.e. goods. And since the modern man in a consumer society on a daily basis is alienated from nature and his biological needs, his instincts, especially social – associating in a group – now beginning to meet on an artificial way – through social networks. With the Internet, people are only one click away from connecting with all the world at any time and in contact with a vast library of various information (positive and negative), which has remarkable addictive potential, and leads to increased secretion of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for the feeling of satisfaction. So it seems like that the longer people are online the longer they are satisfied.


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