Social Networking-Pro

by Shelby Jurca
Staff Writer

You need a friend’s help on homework—you get on Facebook. You need to know what time to be somewhere—you get on Facebook. You hear a dating rumor—you get on Facebook. You’re bored—you get on Facebook.

It is more than just a social networking site; it is the source of life’s information. If Facebook or other similar sites didn’t exist, the way users obtain and share information would not be the same.

If you think I’m being a little melodramatic, that’s a bit of a hypocritical way to look at it. Think about it.

Social networking is another step in society’s progress. It may be Facebook now, but our society is always demanding changes. Before Facebook we had MySpace, and before MySpace we had Xanga, and before Xanga we had online forums, and before online forums we had AIM; it goes on and on. Which proves my point. Users in this day and age have adjusted to relying on social networking in their everyday lives. I may sound extremely materialistic, but really I just live in the 21st century. We’re all that way, believe it or not.

It all comes down to communication. What’s one of the main causes of break-ups and relationship troubles? Lack of communication. Now, social networking sites won’t exactly save your relationship, but just hear me out. Communication between America and other countries, even its allies have been limited because of the war in Iraq, so the countries’ relationships are not as strong as they should be. Moot point? Relationships need communication to work. What do social networking sites provide? Communication.

Adults typically use Facebook to keep in touch with their high school friends after they graduate and go their separate ways. I’m not saying it’s fun to sit around, watching my mom show me pictures of a guy she went to school with who still has a mullet, but look around you. You’re going to graduate soon, do you want to just leave these people in your past and never think about them again? Your friends, the people you care about? I don’t think so. Facebook provides a way to keep in touch when people move away, or go to a college on the complete other side of the country.

Websites like Facebook connect the community and establish a feeling of community pride through group pages. For instance, organizing something like a Relay For Life page or group helps to connect and inform all members. People can feel a sense of unity within their society due to the communication that social networking sites offer.

I’m not saying that a face-to-face smile and hug is too old fashioned for this century. I’m a totally huggable person, trust me. But sometimes you can’t be face to face when you need a pep talk or a smile. Going online may be the only place to get that sometimes, even if it is a cyber smile. At least you know someone out there cares about you and are there to listen.

I just started using Twitter, and at first I didn’t get it, but I understand it now. Twitter has the advantage of ensuring you that the person you’re following is the celebrity you want to follow, not just an imposter. If I want to follow Justin Bieber, I’ll know it’s him by the little blue checkmark. Here’s the advantage of that, you can reply to your favorite celebrities’ tweets. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ll probably never meet Justin Bieber in person, but with Twitter, I can communicate anything I would ever want to tell him via Internet.

Many people bring up the issue of not knowing who your “friends” are, and yes it is a problem when you have 30 gazillion friends and don’t know half of them. However, that’s not social networking’s fault, it’s yours. That’s why there’s “accept” and “decline”. Social networking is a useful tool, but not if you use it carelessly.

I’m not here to make everyone out there who doesn’t partake in social networking sites feel like a complete and total outsider. I’m just here to say that from my point of view, being able to be in touch with your friends all the time is a luxury that anyone would be lucky to experience.