Thursday, 22 March 2012

Is social networking bad for our friendships?

So, is social networking bad for our friendships? You know, the real life friends. Where you actually meet up with people? I have no doubt that social networking is good for the friends I meet inside my computer - there are so many people I wouldn't have had the pleasure of encountering without, for example, Twitter.

The other week I met with a friend for coffee. I started to tell her about something which had happened in the week. She stopped me and said, "yes, I saw it on Facebook". That was the end of the conversation.

I find it quite sad though that you start telling someone a story only to find out that they read it on facebook, and therefore don't want to hear the full story because they think they know it already! More often than not, I tell my friends a fuller version of what I put on Facebook.
We spend so much time on social networking sites compared with actual time out with our friends and it does seem such a shame that they already 'know' what's going on in your life. I am not someone who constantly updates their facebook (maybe once every four or five days), and there are very few people who actually know me who are my friends on Twitter (fewer than 5).

It got me thinking about over-sharing. Is it possible that we are sharing too much information with everyone? Knowing what others are doing all the time can't be good for us. Is there not a risk of extreme over-crowding in our already jam packed brains? Where will the space be for reading good literature, learning new and important information? How do we turn our brains off to the constant tweets, facebook updates and general gossip? How do I stop asking questions no-one can answer?

Someone who's blog I follow has gone incognito for two weeks. No Facebook, Twitter or blogging. I'm not sure I could go cold turkey, but I think it's a great idea. One day, maybe I can do it too!

What do you think? Is social networking bad for our friendships?

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  1. Several times I've started to tell someone something and they've interrupted me to say that they read it on Facebook. I hardly use Facebook! I think that it's because a lot of them are also friends with my husband and he's quite active on there. He checks us both in to places that we visit and tags me in lots of photos too so I guess that also shows up in their news feeds.

    Only my family follow me on Twitter and read my blog (that I know of!) so that's not too bad. That's partly why I'm hesitant to tell real life friends about the blog, because they would know all about me and what I'm up to and then I'd have nothing to talk about when I saw them!

    On the other hand though, I have kept up to date with some friends through Facebook that I would have otherwise long ago lost touch with.

    1. My family and friends largely don't know about the blog so at least they haven't read things on here.

  2. I think to a certain point it can be... I keep my blog and twitter completely separate from my "real" life... I do wonder why people what to tweet or update Facebook with everything that s going on in their lives...

    1. Likewise, my twitter and facebook for the blog are completely separate, which is good.

  3. Social media is a tough one because if you're not totally plugged in, it's hard to understand the appeal & you can easily judge others for over sharing!

    I think we have to regularly evaluate what we are doing and why. I go through phases where I am all over the internet and times when I'm a lot quieter. I love blogging, Twitter etc etc but I have to ask myself sometimes, what exactly am I trying to achieve with it all!

    That said though, (and hopefully not overstepping the mark), I think it's a bit rude to cut you off dead without hearing the full story! :)



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