It is the heart throbbing buzzword of the day.
Its way beyond the dreams and imagination of those who started electronic communication, even those closer in history who started the world wide web
It is certainly an enigma that has kept many behavioral experts baffled
Marketing researchers and media experts too are left in bewilderment, trying to gauge its impact and future course.
Unlike the rocket science advancements of yore, “The Social Network” is an up-close-personal reality of our over-communicated and over-connected lives. Its proliferation has gone beyond the realms of the modest desktop or laptop computing devices, to the omnipresence of mobile devices. However, with the growth of its usage, and more importantly the way it has become a close part of our lives, we do find amongst us certain negative trails. Trails from the lagging edge of the double edged sword of technology.. as always..
The dark streets of social networking
It is not uncommon to find amongst us a feeling of paranoia about what we should and shouldn’t be doing on our social media presence. In few unfortunate cases, there have been unpleasant experiences leading from embarrassment to even suicides, as an aftermath of something uncalled.
I have had friends seeking counselling from me, narrating how their addiction or affairs on facebook messed up their life. Some of them who were new to the online connected world were confused and scared by daisy-chaining applications asking them to be a “mafia lord” or getting friend requests from total strangers.
Way out of the dark streets
In wild woods it is prudent to stick to the beaten path, unless you are game for an adventure at your own risk.
So is killing your presence on facebook or twitter an answer to end your paranoia? Maybe a temporary answer.. but thats not a solution. So what could be a way out.
The answer begins by understanding what the social network is in the first place.
Social.. and Network
These two words have been in existence for a very long time.. much before they have been used together in a strong context to name the big wave sweeping us.
Social Networks have been in existence much before our devices got wired and wireless connected. We have been calling it different names… clubs, Society, Social Circle, alumni groups, interest groups.. and different ways through which we bonded.
So what makes this new Social Network driven by technology so scary?.. If we analyze deeply..
The problem lies in our own tendency to let our own hair free and loosen our clothes, and go blabbery blab till we realize the weight of the first word out of the two… Social.. and that the new and improved … Network.. makes things spread as wildfire.
The Social in social networking is there for real.. Being tempted by the “non-physical” nature of the medium can lure you into enjoying a self-proclaimed freedom.. But yes, the rules of a SOCIETY.. apply here too.. There are certain norms each society has… You are free to rebel, you may be applauded.. but be prepared to be backbitten with twice the speed as the real world.. thanks to the faster NETWORK.
The next time you feel you are being trapped by the Social Network.. ask yourself these questions .. and you will find your solution..
1. What does being Social mean to me? Does it mean a right blend of being cordial informal, and at the same time knowing the distance to maintain?
2. Am i applying my knowledge of being social… on my social network?
That means certain terms like.. Not accepting friend’s request from strangers without knowing the risk associated with it. Using privacy features of each social networking platform whether it is twitter, facebook or youtube.. to help maintain the demarkation between your private and public life.. even online.
3. Just like in a real society locking oneself up in a dark room is not a solution, can staying away from the social network keep me away from its benefits derived from prudent use? – Same old Dad’s principle.. Running away from a problem doesn’t solve it.
The answers to surviving in the inevitable onslaught of social media and modern day networking lies in being prudent and self-disciplined individuals of the online society. Any deviation from this has its own risks.. and possible pitfalls. However, that doesn’t negate or superceed the potential of the medium to do immense good to our lives when used with diligent moderation.