when did social networking become anti-social?

Its been a while since I last blogged..

In these last few months.. I attended 4 weddings and a concert.. during PEAK time at work. Needless to say, I was relatively non-existent from society aside from the occasional catch-up sessions with friends.. and my twitter and facebook.. obvi.
With my coming-back-to-reality in these recent weeks.. a lot has happened.. Glee is back for season 3, (you all knew that Glee would be mentioned 🙂 ) I personally have had a lot of changes at work, I had a dream with Cory Monteith in it and all we did was talk about canadian coins.. (yah my subconscious clearly needs a glass of wine.) and most importantly.. facebook got a ‘facelift’.
Now, really. This whole facebook debacle was even on the news. Seriously?! A facebook update is newsworthy compared to war, the economy, local murders, even new health developments, or even the weather?! That is just as ridiculous as dreaming about chatting with Cory Monteith about canadian coins.. my dream probably was more entertaining.. and THAT ddnt make it to the 6 oclock spot.. not even the 11p.
As the people of the world complained about this new, almost terrifying (apparently) look of facebook.. these same people also began taking away the whole reason facebook initially came to be. Within the new ‘facelift’ of FB, there are new tools to help streamline feeds if one chooses to do so. One feature in particular, that is getting a little more attention then most, is this ‘subscribe’ and ‘unsubscribe’ feature. This feature apparently gives a list of items in which we can decide to make more private. Any posts/comments, life events, etc. we make. This provides the option to choose only certain friends who can see these things, not ‘all’ friends (which is odd to me that users have started to use this, mainly because the whole purpose of the new FB layout was to create a streamline of posts in order of what we view most anyway. i.e. close friends or relatives, so we are not automatically seeing ‘all’ friends’ feeds. This is what I personally DON’T understand, because isn’t the point of FB to network and keep in touch with those we don’t see everyday? Hence the timeline.. because I KNOW where to find my friends.. AND.. we are ‘friends’ with ‘all’ these people on purpose arent we?!).
I really hope there is someone out there who can back me up on this.. but.. users who post this new ‘subscribe’ feature and complain, some of the exact verbiage being “..I’d rather that my comments on friends’ posts not be public, thank you! Then re-post this if you don’t want your EVERY MOVE to appear in the “Ticker Box”, on the right, for everyone to see.”, do they remember why FB was created?! To meet people.. NEW people.. For college students to NETWORK, OUTSIDE their normal groups. Do we even remember the MySpace days!? (meaning when MySpace was all we had) Everyone was setting up personal blogs, layouts, and music.. for the WORLD to see. Yes, you could make it private, so ‘outsiders’ couldnt see your whole profile without being friends.. but you can also do this on FB. Also, there were no extra, list-requiring, privacy set up for extra-extra security. Mind you, I salute you FB for allowing this as an option, because, I myself like having options, even if I dont use them, its nice to know its there.. but really.. people.. arent we getting a little out of control?
The whole point of all this social networking was.. exactly what its called. To network socially. By going wild and streamlining your info only to the people who “matter” on a social networking site, kind of defeats the purpose dont you think? If you only want your close family and friends to know things, why dont you CALL them? Or meet up, have a coffee, have a REAL conversation. OR, only have close family and friends on your FB. I know there is a whole other conversation out there about people feeling bad about denying friend requests, or being picky. (I also think this issue was on the news once). Honestly, if you are feeling bad, adding these people then taking away their view of your info.. Again, kind of defeats the purpose. why even add them at all?
I know people who have hundreds.. some over a thousand friends. I also know people who have about thirty-five, and I know people who dont have a social network at all. They are just as happy. I did notice it is fairly consistent that people with the thirty-five(ish) friends also felt the same way as these FB users who are asking friends to modify the ‘subscribe’ list. the difference is that these people I know, (mind you its only a few) took it upon themselves to explain to family and friends that they use their social network a certain way, so if you are not ‘friends’, not to fear.. its nothing personal. If there was a complaint or argument against it, it is clearly a personal issue.
I myself, use a few social networking tools, and I have friends on some and not on another. I have had to explain myself a few times, but I understand that we are all different, so I try and have others understand that too. We cant control who we have stronger connections to. That is why we have various circles of friends. It’s normal in life. The WORLD can’t be your bff, or your mother, or your sibling.. Knowing this, why is it so difficult for us to understand that social networking is the same way?
In all, social networks were created for us to be social with one another, friends, co-workers, pen pals from Japan.. And when they first emerged, we were all excited to get out there in the world and meet and to experience new people, to network, help others find jobs, even explain how to do a french braid. But now all of a sudden, no one wants to be social anymore. walls are being put up, and there are cries for privacy. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that with the electronic age, there is more risk. But there was also a risk when cars were invented.. and there is still a risk every minute we drive. But do we stop? No, we take precaution. We wear seat belts. At home, I shred every little, tiny receipt I find.. and almost all my mail. I take precaution so I can continue to shop with my debit card.. But do I use my debit card only at certain stores? Certain gas stations? Do we only drive around our block? No.
So we take precautions if we are concerned and make our profiles private. But once we have people in our little social network circle why are we limiting them? didn’t WE choose to add them? We need to stop complaining about what others see (because WE have control over that) and use the networks for what they were intended for, to reach out, and network.
If all we are doing is limiting ourselves socially, then really whats the point?!
*on a side note, on 20/20 this past weekend, they had a whole hour dedicated to YouTube and its effects on todays culture and on connecting with people across the world. There was also a segment on how YouTube has helped with jobs, blogging, and making people famous. Now.. none of those people complained about privacy settings.. and some (which were very amazing.. one in particular was a professor who posted math, science, and history work for others to learn.. all for free.) have helped people in tremendous ways. Some help was as little as learning how to make dinner. And THAT my friends, is the point of social networks. To connect, reach out, and if youre lucky, you help make a difference in others lives.