Social Utopia? Network Dystopia?

This is quite an interesting topic for a blog post. So many implications comes from new technology; some good, some bad, and some just plain bizarre. New technology now more than ever is flourishing in our society exponentially and as the numbers increase, ideas on how these new technologies are affecting our society has caused major contrasts. For the purpose of my blog post, the one “new” technology I want to focus on shall be social networking sites. These have caused and still continue to cause major controversy.

Social networking sites have come under fire for the services they provide people with and what consequences result from it all. These networking sites have formed a dystopian implication for many different reasons. As outlined in an article written by Brian Jung, some of these negative consequences that have risen because of social networking sites are: cyber bullying, lack of productivity amongst people, and lack of privacy among other things. Social networking has media it much easier for people to post whatever they please online; some of this being able to access personal or embarrassing information with just a click or attacking someone from the privacy of one’s home.

One of these implications that really stood out to me is cyber bullying; truly a coward and disgusting practice some people do to help boost themselves or to help achieve something by bring another down. The case of a local14 year-old girl, Rebecca, who took her own life because of cyberbullying by girls in her school is a prime example. This all started because of one girl who did not like that Rebecca was talking to a boy she was interested. She would say horrific statements to Rebecca and other girls would tag along in the cyber torment until Rebecca could no longer handle the torture and took matters into her own hands. Not only does this highlight cyberbullying, but also how young these people are that use these websites to torment another. They are so young, novices (yet at the same, now experts with regards toward social media) but they can do heavy damage to one another without any remorse. The power of words and posting to a public site with a click of a few keys and the “post” button and that is all that is needed.

New technology has shown us the dark side of what could ultimately arise from it and how low people can go when using these sites. It allowed these young girls to not pose a physical threat to another one of their peers, but rather a social threat which hits a lot harder especially with the younger generations.

Social networking has had so much negativity formed around it, but at the same time it does also focus on positives. Social networking sites have provided an essential link with people; allowing one connect with another much easier and faster. It has made communication increase amongst many different people from around the world. One may have a friend in New Zealand, a grandmother traveling around Europe, and an uncle in Bolivia but with the aid of social networks connecting has never been easier. Alongside being able to attain information for malicious purposes, one can access vital and current information as well. A tweet that reports on what is currently happening in the Middle East or a post on Facebook with regards toward any major news the president has said with any action that is needed can keep people up-to-date within seconds. It has become much more efficient to stay relevant to the conversation at hand.

From a utopian perspective, social networking sites aim to get people connected with lone another very fast and without any issues. It tries to make everyone be in unison with one another without any interruptions and with the most current topics trending at the time. It wants to give us that perspective of everything being united by a click or chat message with friends. With social networking sites, though, utopia cannot exist with dystopia. Both of these two coincide with one another provide us what is now our social networking sites, providing both positive and negative consequences. This seems to reign true throughout many different social networking platforms and Danah Boyd said in her piece, “As you build technologies that allow the magic of everyday people to manifest, i ask you to consider the good, the bad, and the ugly”. We control how social networks function, what they show, and how relevant they are. We have to manage it and tie it in to things that help us and not harm us as people intertwined in the massive craziness of social networks.

With this, I leave you guys with 2 questions:

1) Do you guys personally believe that social media sites hold both a utopian and dystopian implication or does it seem to lean towards one more?

2) Personally, when you think of all the major social networks out there which do you think seems to hold the most controversy?

By: Sergio Valenzuela

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One comment

  1. I agree with you that social networking as benefited us in certain aspects. Went I went abroad last spring that is what I used to keep in contact with all my friends back in America, as well I use it to keep in contact with the friends I meet abroad. I was really interested in your comment of cyberbullying, an aspect I did not see before. This creates a whole new negative aspect to social network. We need to teach our children or youths how to use it in a positive way.

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