Self Expression Magazine

The Social Network- Friend Or Foe?

Posted on the 06 October 2011 by Sallygatez @salaminaM
The ever increasing fame or infamy of social networking seems destined to grab more headlines than the ousting of an African leader or even the untimely passing of a pop starlet. The question I have often asked myself is whether all this attention lavished on the ‘notorious’ social networks is justified or warranted, or is it perhaps just another blame-shift attempt on the part of technology sceptics?  Some new age thinkers, also known as bloggers, credit or rather blame (depending on which side of the political pie you fall) the uprisings that we witnessed in Egypt on the power of social networking. It is alleged that Facebook and Twitter were effectively used to incite enthusiasm and drum up support for the rebel cause. Facebook was used to mobilize the troops and once that was done, all the chips just fell into place. The London riots followed and once again facebookers are said to have taken to the streets and then boasted about their exploits to garner more support for their looting and rioting.
I’m sure we have all seen how quickly news spreads on Twitter. All one needs to do is read something of interest then retweet it to their followers, and then their follower’s followers can do the same. Before one has even had the chance to turn on the TV to hear titbits about the latest drug overdose story or to hear about the sacking of a well known soccer star, you’ll find that the news has already sent thousands of mobile phones into overdrive. Such is the power and influence of this platform.
The irony of all this negative press that Facebook and Twitter seem to receive is the fact that when one flips the coin, you will find that these very social networks are being utilised by big brands, celebrities and even news networks to increase their reach. One cannot mistake the power of social networking, neither should it be underestimated. Many viral campaigns have been launched to great success on both Twitter and Facebook, and many careers in the entertainment industry have been revived thanks to some well placed comments, tweets or status updates. Mind you, we have also of course been privy to a fair share of celebrity melt-downs and twitter wars over who has how many millions in their bank account or who wore what dress the best.
Is it all just mass hysteria or is there enough evidence exhibited here to warrant that social networking has its day in court? Perhaps it goes without saying that, Love them or hate them, hail them or trash them, it is clear that the ‘social network’ has gripped their attention, has consumed our lives and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Friend or foe? The jury is still out on this one, so you be the judge.

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