Social networking creates an environment of connectedness previously unseen in many cultures. Prior to the explosion of social networking, individuals relied upon other forms of communication to stay in touch with friends and relatives, including telephone calls and electronic mail. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to stay connected to family and friends, as well as a multitude of other individuals, both locally and globally. This access is a new cultural frontier.
One significant impact of social networking is found in the workplace. This impact operates in two ways. First, people posting information and comments about coworkers and supervisors can land in trouble over statements made within their social circle. On the other hand, employers use social networking to cast a wider net in the potential employee pool. Culturally, labor and management sometimes find themselves sharing thoughts and insights through social networks.
In addition to workplace changes, social networking causes relationship changes. Before social networking existed, relationships mostly came from physically knowing an individual. As Facebook and Twitter became prevalent, connections grew outside the immediate circle of friends and family. This has allowed a person in New York City, for example, to create a relationship with someone in Los Angeles without a physical encounter. The destructive side to social networking and relationships comes when spouses discover unfaithful behavior through online social sites.
Despite sometimes causing problems within relationships, social networking sites create bonds for people struggling with problems. For example, if a person goes to a foreign country, initial feelings of being cut off and lost are lessened via social networking sites. A person using Twitter can closely monitor what friends and family are doing back home by following their tweets. At the same time, those left back home are given access to a loved one in a distant land.
Social networking profoundly affects other cultures. Evidence of this is seen in the 2011 unrest in Arab nations, leading to protests and even the overthrow of governments. Social networking allowed people involved in the protests to share pictures and videos with the outside world, even as the governments in power attempted to keep information from leaking outside the country's borders.
Social networking allows unscrupulous people greater access to potential victims. Malicious software creators build websites, relying upon current popular search data, planting viruses and spyware on web pages visited from links on social networking sites.
- ABC News; Social Networking: A Cure for Reverse Culture Shock; Danielle Waugh; July 2010
- Michael Sampson; Social Networking "Creates" a Collaboration Culture; Michael Sampson; March 2011
- Habib Toumi; Experts Discuss Emergence of Social Networking in Arab Culture; Habib Toumi; April 2011
- PC World Business Culture; Bin Laden News Targets Social Networking Weak Spot; Tony Bradley; May 2011
- Human Resource Executive; When Social-Networking and the Workplace Collide; Jeffrey S. Klein, et al
- News on 6; Oklahoma Woman Says Facebook, MySpace Ruined Her Marriage; Adrianna Iwasinski; May 2011
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