All of us have at least a television at home and some of us might even have subscribed to starhub cable and bought all our favourite channels to watch. Some or almost all of us carry mobile phones, be it iphones or blackberries. What about the internet and all the things we do it with such as join social networks and use emails to send out messages in split seconds. Can we actually live without all these for say even a day? Well i know that i can’t.
Is it not just amazing how all these communication technologies have helped us to communicate across physical and psychological strains and barriers and in this day and age it is hard not to use something that is a communication technology device. With this in mind, i would like to talk about the impact of social networking online and the flipside of it where it might not be so beneficial in the end. A form of CMC(computer mediated communication), social networking sites such as facebook, twitter, MySpace and what not has given us the opportunity to be whoever we want and be able to connect with people whom we know in re
al life and people who we might not know that well all on cyber space. It is indeed something that has invaded our lives and has allowed us to be able to interact with people setting aside time and place factors. For example, i keep a facebook account so that i can keep in touch especially with friends i do not get to see anymore or who i hardly get the privilege to meet in person. Some of these people are overseas studying or some have graduated from school and have moved on. Previously, during our parents generations, they never had things like this. It was harder for them to keep in touch with their old schoolmates and even if they did only one or two would keep in contact. However, now we have a entirely new platform ton cyberspace which helps us to find friends such as through facebook or tweet’ about what’s happening in our lives and keeping our social circles updated without any hassle. Social networking online is there a unique and powerful method of CMC.
However, there are also downsides to using such social networking sites. A few years ago, an American teenager, Megan Meier, committed suicide after being harassed and bullied online by a boy whom she supposedly has a close relationship with. She communicated with him regularly via MySpace, another famous social networking site and she eventually started to receive verbal abuse from her the person she was communicating with. This is reflective of of how CMC has changed human communication. Where in the past there was schoolyard bullying, now there is cyber bullying, where anyone can take on a different identity virtually and in reality. Even as we participate in relationship building virtually, all these things come into play when it comes to communication and the switching of identities. For example, we might not know if a stranger we meet online is who he or she claims to be in reality. Hence,such issues are hence prevalent in our day and age, where anything can happen in a virtual world. Where anyone can be anybody they wish to be. Perhaps that is also one factor which makes virtual communication a little bit more risky and impersonal.
Despite all this, CMC has contributed to fast access to information and people and has advantaged mankind in helping us to communicate across time and space borders. However, we must also be careful of the wiles of the internet especially when more younger people are starting to communicate with large groups of people in social networking sites which span across myriads of countries, nationalities and time zones.