How social networking online translates offline
You’re in a crowded restaurant with a close friend. In between appetizers and the main course, she tells you she got into another argument online. And the result was a dip in her total ‘friends’ count on Facebook.
The online dispute was over a grammar error. Your friend joked with an online comrade about spell check, punctuation and syntax. But a smiley-face emoticon was insufficient to demonstrate she meant it all in jest and she was soon de-friended.
As the waitress comes to deliver refills on your soda, she remarks on the situation. Though you’re both polite with her interruption, when she leaves the table you roll your eyes and remark on her intrusiveness.
Your friend gets an incoming text message, distracting her from the conversation and you’re irked by another interruption and her faux pas of diverting attention to her phone. She quickly responds to the message and gives you an apologetic smile, so all is soon forgiven.
These interruptions—the waitress and the text message—are annoyances. But on a Facebook wall these kinds of comments are welcomed and encouraged.
And the ease of forgiveness—because you could tell your friend was genuinely sorry for the interrupting text message—occurred with help from her body language and facial cues. But on Facebook her words were misconstrued and the argument escalated.
Even during your conversation in the restaurant the social rules are different. As you speak to your friend-using slang and fragmented sentences—she does not critique your speech. But on Facebook lazy speech was the catalyst for her criticism of her online comrade.
So why is socializing online so different? And do social media sites breed greater socialization or contribute to anti-social and exclusory behaviour?
Solicitation: Hey social media mates, I'm attempting to examine the anti-social aspects of social media. a lot of social sites like twitter, facebook and blogs help foster communication and connectedness, but what about the opposite effects? sometimes, an online immersion (or even love affair with your cellphone) can create barriers in your relationships. and what does the future hold for social media networking? anyone willing to speak to me on the topic? you can post responses here (agreeing or disagreeing) or email me:
November 23 at 9:40am near Calgary
Young Man: I find that being constantly exposed to information about what everyone is doing makes me feel anxious and self-conscious about the lack of interesting activity in my own life.
November 23 at 10:38am
Young Woman: I would feel incredibly isolated without the internet - I don't do well out there in the big bad world.
November 23 at 11:06am
Young Woman 2: I wrote a paper on the positive effects of the Internet in developing identity and community with those who identify as trans.
November 23 at 1:16pm
J. Emily Clark - and you don't feel that overuse of a social site can further atrophy your ability to engage with people in a public setting? @youngman - i hate that aspect too. @youngwoman -that's an interesting use of social media. good point to the future of online group formations and community
November 23 at 2:49pm
Young Woman: Nope, not at all.
November 23 at 2:52pm
J. Emily Clark so your socialization online helps your socialization offline? how so? (just asking for detail for the paper--not to put you on the spot ;)
November 23 at 2:55pm
Young Woman 1: Yup. I've become part of many groups/communities online that have allowed me to practice being vocal and form successful arguments that I otherwise would not have had the platform to do due to my quietness/awkwardness in public settings. Being part of feminist/animal rights/social issues communities online has taught me so much and better prepared me to have conversations with people in daily life/offline.
November 23 at 2:58pm
Young Man: I've met many a person online, which has led to social gatherings and meetups offline. There are widespread examples of this, too: flashmobs, various 'meetup' sites, the whole Anon movement (although that's a unique instance) and the crossover between video game/comic book/etc conventions and online.
I *do* think that it is having an effect on what details people share with the world and is changing what is discussed. The casual attitude a lot of younger folk have towards nude photos (for example) would be one example. So, folks are open in some ways, perhaps too open.
I think that they're socializing folks in different ways. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen, from my perspective.
November 23 at 7:10pm
J. Emily Clark Thanks, awesome points and examples. Arguing the opposite side is getting more difficult. ;)
November 23 at 8:10pm
Young Man: sorry for monkey wrenching things. i am a huge nerd about stuff like this, though.
if you're wanting to examine the negative side effects, you may want to look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_overload
November 23 at 9:01pm
Older Woman: No need to get off the couch to go visit anyone. social media lacks personality.
Friday at 8:43pm
Older Woman: So many sides to hear, it can keep you glued to the screen, yet I'm loving the pic's, etc. find it can be annoying and takes some time to incorporate all the shortcuts, posting pics, just know you would go BERSERK attempting to keep up with all the postings. Yet love to do the writing, thinking, sharing, being connected. Like everything else in life, you have to be able to leave it alone, get up, get things done, not get so immersed you lose touch of life, people, places and things!
Friday at 11:00pm
Proponents of social media say that these tools help to socialize them. But if life is spent online, or you are constantly engaged with the screen, real relationships could start to suffer.
Cam Adair, 23, runs a social dynamics company called Social King Pin. He posts his experiences and wisdom on kingpinlifestyle.com
Adair used to work as a full-time dating coach. He spent a lot of time in the bar after a failed engagement and used that opportunity to watch people and how they interact.
Unsatisfied with type-casting himself as a dating expert only he expanded into social dynamics to teach people how to foster better relationships in all aspects of their lives.
Adair and his social group hold meetings every two weeks to share and develop ideas. They discussed social media at their last meeting.
“By nature of social media it is defined as social,” Adair says. “People who are anti-social in person will be the same online whereas people with glowing personalities in person will be the same online.”
He does say that online socialization can be an avenue that is used as a crutch. “Is an online interaction authentic? How deep of a connection can you establish online?” Adair asks.
“The importance is authenticity,” he says. “You have to push past those surface level interactions to deeper connections.”
This idea can be applied to relationships online as well as in person. It is that ability to push past surface level interactions which strengthen relationships.
So where does the idea that social media leads to anti-social behaviour? It’s in the technology—that tendency for some users to find comfort in constantly engaging with the screen. During any conversation where one party is distracted by their Facebook page there is resentment.
For the most part, social media fosters a sense of community. Adair says, “Social media allows for greater ease to find like-minded people online.”
And it was social media which helped foster the conversation to write this article.