The Internet is the latest series of technological breakthroughs in the interpersonal communication that followed the telephone, radio, television, and telegraphs. The Internet provides innovative features. It bridges the immense distance and reaches mass audiences. The reason why the Internet seems to be so powerful is because it combines the main characteristics that no other mechanisms possess (Zaphiris, 2010). First, the Internet holds large resource of information for the entire world; second, it allows people to gain access to an interactive mechanism that enables them to communicate and chat with each other instantly.
The Internet not only holds an inexhaustible amount of information that is as vast as the ocean, but it also has interactive mechanisms such as net to net, net to people, and people to people communication. This involves usage of modern social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, My space and Google+ among others that have revolutionized the way people live, communicate, relate with others (Zaphiris, 2010).
However, due to the instinctive intermediate, dispersed, unregulated, and open nature of the social networks. These social media networks have changed the nature of people’s connection with others in the social world. It has brought a long-standing social problem, and most importantly it has influenced human qualities due to the change of interaction patterns in the interpersonal and group processes (Zaphiris, 2010).
Social networks are normally considered to be vital in people’s lives, but they also affect their social life in ways that are considered as being inappropriate. Human, social dimension normally involves developing relationship with others and living the real world. Therefore, people need to interact and develop social relationships (Zaphiris, 2010). Using social networks to fulfill this purpose is normally helpful. However, excessive use is normally harmful to social ties and influences social human qualities negatively. Social networks have been criticized as being a powerful source of pornographic material that normally makes the users to be addicted for hours each day. During these hours, individuals are usually separated from their family and friends hence resulting to loneliness and depression. Hence, it weakens the social and community ties of a person.
Although most people view social networks as being a solution to social interaction problem, others view them as being a curse that has intruded the center of human interaction. Dispassionate and hard-nosed observers conclude that social networks have changed almost every aspect of people’s lives such as private, social, cultural, economic, and political. This is because it deals with communication which is a core of human society (Love, 2005).
Social networks normally cause resentment in a relationship, either in a family or friendship relationship. This is because they are highly addictive and makes one put more priority on spending time on the social networks sites. This leads to feeling of being neglected, anger, and a sense of seclusion. In a relationship, many partners normally choose to express their feelings through social network sites (Love, 2005). This usually results to a feeling of betrayal especially when the partners in the relationship fail to agree on the kind of information to share publicly in these social network sites.
Social networking presents a path that leads to infidelity. This is because most people find it easy to begin a conversion with other people in these sites. Even though, these conversations in most cases are normally innocent, most social networks users have confessed to having been tempted to be unfaithful to their spouses (Love, 2005). Though, infidelity has been part of life long before the invention of the social networks, these sites normally bring the possibility of being faithful at the finger tip.
People normally go online because social networks offer freedom to do everything without restriction. This could have negative effects since people tend to act in a way and say the things that they otherwise would not do in the real life. In addition, because social networks offer much freedom, people normally find ideal self-much easier. Nevertheless, this is not the same social self of a person in the real life (DeLamater, 2006). The difference is normally due to the fact that when a person is chatting on social networks site, he/she talks to the screen while in the real life situation, the person speaks to a real person. Therefore, the experiences that people encounter using the social sites are much different from those encountered in real life (DeLamater, 2006).
Social networks not only encourage illegal activities but also promote many ignorant and despicable thoughts. People say whatever they want in these social networks sites without suffering the consequences. Therefore, most people are normally allured to the Internet to express their anger and hate toward specific groups of people; as a result, many sexist, racist and hate websites and blogs do exists. Those people who hide behind computers never speak in public places because sexist and racist beliefs are normally countered with a face to face confrontation (DeLamater, 2006). Therefore, social network sites have become a sanctuary where people are not afraid to express their abhorrent opinions to the public.
In social network sites, individual personality is normally concealed. Therefore, most people spend most of their time online. Being online is normally like being invisible in the real life, this makes it easier to make and meet new friends. Furthermore, people express their thoughts more easily, since they feel less pressure when facing the computer screen (DeLamater, 2006). Furthermore, other people normally do not make stereotypical judgments on the basis of somebody’s real personality but rather on the basis of the thoughts, habits, feelings and interests portrayed in these sites. In some cases, some people end up replacing their real friends with online friends (Katz, 2002).
People create their ideal images in a cybernetic environment. This tendency does not bring benefits into the real life circumstances. A living person is normally different from a computer screen. Social networks have changed the way people live and interact with others. People have spent most of their time in the social sites and do remarkably little with other people. This makes it difficult for these people to appreciate the company of other people (Katz, 2002). In addition, social network sites have made most people overlook the value of engaging in social interaction. Most people have isolated themselves from the entire human contact.
Social networking websites has also being found to cause changes on youths’ behavior pattern in an alarming rate. Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and My space among others are said to shorten the attention spans of the youth, who are frequent users. Furthermore, these social sites normally encourage instant gratification, which makes young people to be self-centered (Katz, 2002).
Since the primary use of social network sites is communication and sharing with friends, these networks normally have a positive social consequence to the people’s daily lives. This is because of the increased frequency and quality of interpersonal communication that exist among people as a result of social networks (Katz, 2002). When people have easy access to others, they normally feel better connected and more strongly supported by others, even though they are virtual friends. This leads to happiness and engagement in organizations, families, communities, and society.
However, ease of electronic communication through social network sites has led to weakening of the social ties and erosion of basic human quality. This is because people have less reason to leave their home for social exchange and rarely interact face to face with other people (McCracken, 2004). Social sites have made people form and sustain friends and even have romantic attachments from their home. Furthermore, people no longer interact with other people since they engage in social issues discussions with others in their own communities from their home through social sites.
Social networks have opened up an entire new world for people’s social ties and relationships through a vast new dimension of contact that was in its infancy in the 1990s, and which has exploded globally as an incredible path of interaction. With My space, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, people are more interconnected in this infinite, endless series of webs that saturate the whole planet (McCracken, 2004). This kind of social interaction has brought people closer during bad and enjoyable times as demonstrated by the failed 2009 Iranian uprising, where the social networks websites played an immense role in informing the insurrection.
Using social networks website such as Facebook and Tweeter in the information sharing through files, photos, and blogs helps to bring people much closer than ever before. This further helps in the culturing of close social ties with individuals in different geographical location. For instance, Twitter helps people to put their real time thoughts, muses and ideas, thus allows their clique and other people to be appraised on what is happening around (McCracken, 2004).
Cyberspace has replaced things such as old-fashioned snail mail nearly to the point of extinction, by allowing people to gain access to the large amount of information. Through social networks, people can go into a chat room where they can initiate a conversion with a dozen of people at the same time. This usually improves the relationships and other social circles interactions in a way that has never seen before (Nie, 2000).
Social networks have superseded the old fashioned landlines that were initially used in human interaction; this has been supported by the presence of highly-advanced mobile internet and information sharing devices such as iPads and iPhones. It has enhanced accessibility to social networks (Nie, 2000). Through the presence of vast and improved way of sharing video files, photos, and real time information, strangers can now become friends and partners. This has naturally strengthened the human relationships. In addition, using social networks to share information makes it possible to link people who have never met before both emotionally and socially.
With the presence of a multitude of online interaction groups and sites, even dating has been enhanced. Instead of one going to bar or social clubs in order to meet new people, social networks have provided a platform for single people to interact and establish a long lasting relationship (Zaphiris, 2010). Cyberspace has not disregarded the importance of health and social clubs as a place for social and romantic interactions but has moved all relationships and social ties to a more advanced and sophisticated platform. This has been made possible by the presence of templates and other cyberspace means of exchanging solid information.
Even though, social ties that are developed over the social networks tend to be informal, specialized and diverse, intimate relationships have been proven to be possible through social networks. The variation is that they take time to develop because of the slower and less immediate nature of interaction (Zaphiris, 2010).
Since social networks allow a person to be entirely different, an offline encounter is normally totally different. Concealed online identity benefits the user. This is because it provides a person with a comfortable platform of seeking online help about problems that one would feel embarrassed to discuss in public (Zaphiris, 2010). Uncomfortable topics such as teenage pregnancy and STDs are easily discussed on social network sites without one feeling embarrassed. However, those who rely entirely on computer communications may end up developing poor social rules of conversion. In addition, because of lack of these essential social skills, people normally feel uncomfortable while expressing their problems in public.
The social network sites are changing the nature of social relationships and human qualities. New modalities of communication that have been represented by social networks have led to fundamental change in social and personal life (Nie, 2000). However, the social networks sites provide a technology that allows people to engage social activities they already have but provides them together with some added efficiencies and opportunities to modify their interactions in a way that best meet their needs.
Various empirical literatures indicate that people incorporate social networks in their social toolkit and normally use it in conjunction with other form of communication so as to deal with personal and interpersonal issues in their lives (Nie, 2000). When seeking to begin new relationships, socially anxious people use the Internet to lessen the anxiety associated with the initial meeting, but as the relationship deepens, they bring it to the real world. This indicates that despite all negative aspect of the social networking, people are normally proactive and adaptive with respect to new technologies. Furthermore, they use these technologies to manage their personal and interpersonal life effectively.