Social networking revolutionizing communication

Posted: Monday, March 01, 2010

Social networking, once informal and rudimentary, has now revolutionized communication. The law office I work for occasionally texts clients rather than calling them because they respond faster. The other day, Google texted me the password to my gmail account seconds after I requested it. Families I babysit for text me rather than call, my mom texts me to pick up groceries or ask what my plans are and sometimes my grandpa even texts.

Last weekend I saw first-hand the speed at which social networking allows information to travel. I broke my arm Sunday afternoon and before I had even reached the hospital, my younger sister had posted on her Facebook, "My sister is in the ER!" My friends, thinking I was dying, arrived at the hospital before the doctor had even set the bone. We learned a slight downside of instant communication - the possibility of inaccurate or misinterpreted information. The miscommunication was worth the company though. My mom texted pictures of me and my broken arm to relatives so they were all up to date before I left the hospital.

However, texting also has its drawbacks. Recently, I saw someone texting while driving, with a baby in the backseat. Not cool.

Besides the safety issue, the convenience of texting should also be taken with a grain of salt. Although it may be tempting, a relationship should not end over a text. It is hard to convey emotions with letters on a screen and the informality adds an aspect of disrespect and laziness. I still remember when a boy broke up with me over a text, freshman year. It said, "I kinda think we should just be friend." Really? You're too lazy to even be grammatically correct? Even arguments are hard to have over texts. They seem oddly detached.

That's what texting has done to our society. Our instant communication network has come at a price - personal contact. It has also come at the price of our privacy. Last time I changed my Facebook status from "in a relationship" to "single," it yielded 12 comments, one of which came from a stranger asking me out. I think Facebookstalking will soon become a real verb. Textstalking exists, too. The other day, some boys in my class spent the hour texting a poor boy at another school pretending they were a girl. But in reality, social media is not bad at all. At least kids are forced to read. There used to be accusations that people would start to write in "text talk." However, "text talk" i.e. g2g, wat u up 2, etc has evolved for many into correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. My texts include commas and spelled-out words. Without Facebook, I wouldn't know anything about anyone I'm going to school with next year and I probably would not still be in contact with my friends in other states and countries. Social networking, from texting to Facebook to emails, may have its downsides like safety, impersonality and lack of privacy, but overall it is a tremendous asset and convenience.

This article is the opinion of Maya Johnson. Johnson is a senior at Kenai Central High School.

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