The "social" network isn't so social

By The Beacon | October 10, 2013 12:57am

tori_dunlap

By Tori Dunlap |

In our fast-paced world of men (and women) on the moon and entire libraries on bits of technology the size of a sheet of cardstock, it is hardly a surprise that we can now communicate with our friends via a noiseless, emotion-free superhighway. I do not have a Facebook, Twitter or any account of that nature, yet I do not live in a cave. I watched the commended film “The Social Network,” read articles about how wealthy Mark Zuckerberg is continually becoming and heard homilies about hashtags. All my friends have a Facebook, and I am stuck wondering what it is like to know instantly who’s dating who, who likes what and what toppings went on someone’s sundae last night at Baskin Robbins. I just found out last month that two of my friends had been dating for weeks before I discovered this fact. Now, this is not because I am a self-absorbed narcissist. No, it was because it was posted on Facebook, and what was absent was the verbal announcement of this detail.

Yes, sometimes I wish I had a Facebook, especially when the above occurs, but when you think about it, the saddest thing in the world is to sit down and talk to your best friend through a computer screen using grammatically incorrect language.  There is no heard laughter, no seen smiles. Isn’t that what you talk to your best friend for, to make you feel happy, to hear her laugh?  You only get impersonal words typed on a computer screen with social networking; you cannot see a raised brow or a confused look that tells you so much about what a person is thinking and feeling.  There is no body language, a tool that is almost as important as the words themselves.

Not only do you lose so much of our natural communication when it is completed through a computer screen, but you can unintentionally waste so much time on a social networking site. One moment you are talking to your friends, the next you are playing Angry Birds and yet the next you are updating your status. This wastes valuable time that you could be using for more important things, like, say, the calculus midterm you have first period tomorrow morning.

Anthony Robbins once said, “The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” Frankly, social networking has slaughtered our communication skills and thus, is contributing to a decrease in our lives. Our lack of quality discussion has caused rifts in our already tense society. Do we wish to continue this distant, foreign form of communication or do we want better for humanity? We need not put such a focus on this fast-paced, empty form of contact and instead, should revert back to the good ol’ days of real dialogue, proper spelling and just asking someone what kind of sprinkles they put on their banana split the previous night.

Tori Dunlap is a sophomore organizational communication and drama double major. She can be reached at dunlapv16@up.edu.

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