Social networking has been at the heart of society for years. The only thing that has changed is our ability to socially network. In the beginning, there was cave painting. These were messages left for passing bands of hunter gatherers to stop and discuss, telling whether or not good hunting was possible around this area. Fast forward 40,000 years and one can now post a status on twitter, reaching over 100 million users, about the best steak place in the area. Not only can people just tell where this best steakhouse is, they can discuss it, make contacts, and develop friendships, all based around one tiny bit of information. Social networking websites like twitter can be good or bad, depending on who is using it. Recently, there was an article in the news about a group of girls posting videos of themselves beating another girl. Before social networking this would have been a relatively small isolated situation, but because they could now reach a huge amount of people it posed a more intrusive negative impact. The good part of social networking is the ability to reach people; it was never possible before. Yes, one could theoretically have gotten the email of the president from a government website, but that requires a bit of Internet savvy maneuvering. Now, one can send a tweet directly to him for everyone to see and comment on.
There are many issues I believe our President should address; however, a piece of new legislation is really making me nervous. The act is called SOPA and stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. I agree with the federal government in their belief that pirating music and movies is a condemnable act. However, the law that they are attempting to pass as a means to regulate this illegal activity is going to cause far greater damage than any amount of stolen songs. Because of its vague language, the law has the potential to shut down any site with even one bit of stolen material, regardless of who uploads it. If someone posted a song to Facebook, the entire Facebook website could be taken down. I believe Barack Obama should be fighting this law tooth and nail and keeping it out of the hands of congress completely.
Unfortunately, the probability of Barack Obama noticing a tweet made by myself is low, as he has almost 12 million followers. Not only is his follower count so incredibly high, he also doesn't write his own tweets. His account is managed by campaign staff. But yes, it is possible for me to be noticed by him, and the best way to do so is to make a statement that corresponds to the question his campaign is asking. Currently, people are tweeting to him with the hashtag “#40dollars” in regards to the effects a little economic stimulus could do for them. Many of these people are retweeted, and in return noticed by him. There are other types of statuses and questions that come up, and, I believe, that is the best way to be noticed.
Janis Prince Inniss of Online Sociology Blog did more than social network online; she participated in real-life social networking to get noticed. She sought out a relative with connections to her chef idol, and established a link through her. Although this is reflective of the power of social networking, I do not believe it is the website’s right to claim a victory. One is also much more likely to get a response if the individual has a low follower count, which, I assume, this random celebrity chef probably did. Picking out one voice in 2000 is much easier than in 12 million.
According to the article from Online Sociology Blog and Janis Prince Inniss, there is a greater feeling of connectivity amongst users. Supposedly, it gives the feeling of being together when you are miles apart. Individuals can connect with others on a greater level, without being in actual contact. If a person tweets “feeling sad”, you can reach out to a greater number of people for attention. It helps to form real life networking by giving people greater insight to your life. Communication is quicker and more comprehensive than before. With greater understanding of others comes greater connectivity.
I personally believe that social networking is still too young for us to be able to say it has had any specific effect yet. In one case, however, it has absolutely impacted our society. This case is the political revolutions in Egypt and Libya. In both countries, an oppressive political regime shut down most internet access in the region. This left the countries hopeless without contact with the rest of the world. However, thanks to twitter and other social networking, individuals were able to share messages all over the world. Attacks could be reported and conflicts discussed. If the government had been completely successful in shutting down these sites, the revolution may not have worked.
Social networking is not a term that has to apply to websites with friends or followers. Social networking can be the act of making real life friends and contacts to extend your resume. It is one of the most important aspects of social advancement; the connections you make in life can often determine your success or your future job. Being personable and confident can make all the difference between making $30,000 dollars a year and $60,000 dollars a year. New ways for people to socially network are popping up all the time. One such way is Voxer. It is another way to interact quickly and efficiently. Voxer is basically an instant messenger application with the ability to steam video, pictures, and sound in real time. It allows for an even greater distribution of information and multimedia, which consequently provides opportunity for a higher flow of information throughout cyberspace.
All in all, social networking will have an incredible impact on the rest of our lives. We will be the generation that stays in touch throughout our whole lives, constantly monitoring updates and spreading information. We will have more social mobility and will be able to produce greater advances in society with our ability to communicate quickly. Online collaboration with other individuals around the world is becoming increasingly prevalent and possible; and when humanity becomes unified, our intellectual power will have no bounds.