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Tech Bytes


By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Mar 29th, 2013
Posted in All Features

Social Networking:

The Modern Communication

Years ago, it was said that the best way to expand your social life and even find a job in some cases was through “networking.” Networking, defined by dictionary.com, is “to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position.” While this is still true today, the way we go about networking has become something totally different, first communicating face-to-face, continuing via computer files, then through fiber optics, and now, theoretically through thin air. Of course, thin air meaning wireless Internet.

Now we contribute much of our networking efforts to social networking through websites to connect us with family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, searching for a significant other through virtual dating relationship communities, and basically any other desirable human-contact relationship. Just choose your favorite: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogging sites such as Tumblr, the pinning saga of Pinterest, and the list could continue for miles.

While there is a constantly changing hierarchy of which is the most popular, some would argue that Facebook is at the top of the list. But the real question is how did social networking via the world-wide-web come to take the top slot for socialization? What do these numerous web addresses offer that face-to-face communication doesn’t? Convenience of long-distance connection is one thing that many people enjoy the most. Relatives and friends numerous miles away can hold a conversation or transfer messages, pictures, and videos within a matter of seconds, a task that was impossible in the age of what is known as “snail mail.”

Social networking has become routine in the lives of so many. Millions of people online are now able to connect through mobile devices as well as their computers. At home, at work, or on the go, it is a legitimate concern that social networking through social media outlets has its downsides as well as benefits. Many worry that communicating excessively through electronics can be harmful to personal communications skills. In addition, there’s the lingering concern of what social networking does to productivity as many individuals access social media at work. One study has found that Facebook users spend almost eight hours a month on Facebook. Of course, while there is a wide range of variables to take into account, this is only one of several studies conducted. Even so, this one estimate reveals a significant amount of time.

There is no question that new and current social media will continue to play a role in our lives. Finding the perfect balance and recognizing the ‘how much is too much’ boundaries makes all the difference in optimizing the social networking experience.

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