Monday, June 22, 2009

Is Social Networking All That We Think It Is?

Today, while driving to work, I was listening to Ryan Seacrest's radio show. Usually, I change the channel if no music is playing, but what he was talking about caught my attention. He mentioned that Perez Hilton (a celebrity blogger for all of you who live under a rock) is claiming that of the Black Eye Peas assaulted him outside of a club. He claimed this is a Twitter post., who had already shared his version on his social networking site DipDive, issued another video post responding to Hilton's allegations. (For more info on this story check out Rolling Stone's article).

I rarely pay very much attention to the goings on of celebrities and their drama-filled lives, because, frankly, there are a whole host of things I'd rather be doing. But I found this very interesting, not for the subject matter, but because of the way it was communicated through social networking. We love to talk about how great social networking is, how it lets us connect with people we rarely see and share our lives with the world. Some of it is really great. I love staying in touch with old friends and my family who don't live close by via Facebook. I use Twitter for myself, not because I want a lot of followers and become pseudo-famous. I blog for class, but also because it's a good outlet. Again, I really don't care how many people read this; this is something I do for me, sort of like journaling, but not so personal.

But social networking is getting out of control. So much information is being shared 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and most of it is superfluous. I could really care less about what you had for dinner or whose birthday party you got drunk at and then posted a bunch of pictures. I also don't need to know that you had some sort of altercation at a club with another person. For centuries, we have survived without knowing all these insignificant details about how other people live. Now suddenly, the world has access to everything. Nothing is private anymore, and what's worse is people seem to enjoy sharing personal details with the world. So I'm giving you something to ponder. Knowing that we can survive just fine without the knowledge that two minor celebrities had an argument, is it really necessary to share this sort of information with the world? How necessary is social networking, really? What kind of consequences will this excessive need to know and share have on society?

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