I came across a really interesting Guardian article today about the film 'The Social Network' and social networking in general.

It's a great read, and really got me thinking. A lot of the points it raises will be familiar to anyone who spends much time on this, or any other board (especially A6). Is social networking making us more wrapped up in our "own grievances and ambitions", and seeing the opinions and comments of others as "obstacles or stepping stones" to our own identity? I do think often people contribute to reinforce their own desired identity rather than to communicate with others and enhance their knowledge/understanding of other topics and opinions. 

The idea of social networking turning us all into Jesse Eisenberg is a very funny yet scary though. Increasingly, I'm meeting people who remind me of him (or at least the persona he usually inhabits on screen). The idea of self assertion and 'status' updates becoming an essential part of your place in the social 'hierarchy' runs the risk of creating a lot of neurosis on future generations, I feel. 

Then again, I can see the many advantages of it (bringing together communities, allowing greater communication and resources for discussion.)

Don't really have a solid opinion on this, but its very interesting. Anyone else got any thoughts? I'm not a big social networker, so would love to hear some other perspectives. 

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I handle social media for motorcycle shops as a part of my services offered as a freelance writer. This is due to many from previous generations occupying ownership and managerial positions in a very skill oriented technical industry not understanding what it's all about and why they should engage in it. So, I do it for them or train them in it. I also "untrain" young people on social media outlets who handle it for businesses so that they aren't posting status or images/vids that are deficient in grammar/spelling, or socially unacceptable content. I also have to teach them to not get into message board style debates on channels owned by the company. LIkewise I have to help older users learn to not take cowardly message board attacks so personally since social media has bred a particularly lippy generation of mama's boy cowards that hide behind anonymity.

It's a toss up for which of the two groups are the most difficult to teach. The older folks have a hard time understanding why social media is needed and why they should pay me for it. The young people, most or all with an undergrad degree hanging somewhere at home or work, usually have to be re-taught BASIC spelling and grammar since they are used to posting things like "lol ur fune zomg!" on their own walls or in texts.
There are already a LOT of Jesse Eisenbergs out there now.

My wife, a human resources professional, says that one of the biggest challenges she faces with young people right now is getting them to realize they must unplug during their work shift (no texting, no reception of messages, etc) and that they aren't the center of the universe (that they're on the job to work). There's even a growing movement in large corporations to "rehab" young people when they hire them in as a means to teach them what a job is and why they have to turn off devices and do what they're told. Basically you hire someone and then have to do the job of a parent and teach them social skills and a work ethic.

I do believe that social media has its place, but it's making a lot of us dysfunctional as hell and causing more problems than it solves.
The upside is that young people who can interact with non peer groups in meatspace, have a firm handshake and make eye contact, and all the other things that confident and well socialized people do will have an easier time in life and in the workplace. So, as a culling device it's working well.
That's really interesting! The thought of generations of young people not knowing how to work, or how to 'switch off' from social networking. I'm doing a PhD, and the isolation and consistant lack of direction means I often find myself gravitating towards the distractions of twitter and forums. I find it quite frustrating really!

I teach undergrad students in seminars, and find that their imput and essay skills can sometimes be shocking. I find the two main contributers to this is a poor ability to make cohesive arguments that consider others opinions and the sense that information should be instantly attainable. These can both be attributed to social networks I feel.

It's quite worrying really, especially as I have experienced being somewhat sucked into it and i can testify to the way it damages creative impluse and work ethic.
Regarding essay and thought processes, I find that many can't form chains of thoughts and coalesce them into coherent debate either.
However, I went through University as an Undergrad at age 26. I spent a few years working with my hands and then pursued an English degree.
I matriculated into collegiate life at the rise of things like MySpace and widespread use of IM and chat clients.
So, I watched a generation embrace social media in a lot of the first widespread and popular ways.

I'm empathetic about being sucked into it though. I've been using BBS and IM/chat since probably '88. Though I continue to pursue fitness goals and am a very enthusiastic backpacker/bowhunter and guitarist, I can get sucked into it too and have to be cautious.

The way it's manufactured now using psychologists to help advise application makers or promote product is really almost like shooting ducks in a barrel with younger consumers. They don't stand a chance.

Surf around on a site like elance.com and look at the stipulations for Facebook applications where companies commission programmers to make the next Farmville or Mafia Wars and keep the clicks coming. It's now an intentional marketing program designed to chain the customer base to the social sites or mobile devices.

And, I suppose as a professional helping sell the services I'm somewhat to blame as well. I'm always trying to come up with ways to get my clients more followers, and to keep them hooked with content they keep checking out.

However, if I could make a living busking on the street with my guitar, I'd much rather do that than work with social media.
I'd play Weezer and Pearl Jam and classical music all day long. :0)

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