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The Impact of Social Networking on Society 115

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the jennifer-aniston-won't-be-my-friend dept.
Anonymous Pingu writes "The latest edition of New Scientist has a series of features on social networking. These include an analysis of the impact on our social attitudes by Sherry Turkle, a feature on the possible privacy implications of using sites like MySpace and Friendster, and a short science fiction piece by Bruce Sterling. It's certainly interesting that so many people post very revealing stuff about themselves on these sites."
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The Impact of Social Networking on Society

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  • by MECC (8478) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @09:55AM (#16145553)
    "For some people, things move from "I have a feeling, I want to call a friend" to "I want to feel something, I need to make a call". . . "You can give media culture a positive spin and say that people are more socially enmeshed, but it has a darker side: as a feeling emerges, people share the feeling to see if they have the feeling."

    I was thinking of sharing something about how the article seemed to confuse the act of verifying the existance of a feeling and sharing a feeling actually experienced with others in order to solicite validation, but then I thought about putting up with the modbots at /., and I experienced a feeling ( and I didn't need to check to see if I actually had the feeling, because I directly experienced that feeling) - nausea.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      just as the 60's saw the age of hippies, we are now seeing the age of emo. what better way to describe how miserable your life is than to tell it to the world (or the six people who actually care to read about it)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jesuscyborg (903402)
        and the future employer googling your name
        • by cp.tar (871488)
          The future employer will be so emo (s)he won't care.
        • by dbc001 (541033)
          A lot is said about how it is dangerous to mention drugs or talk openly about your feelings on myspace because with the 30+ crowd that is not the norm. What these people fail to realize is that with people under the age of 25, these behaviors are normal. It is quite common for young people to have photos of themselves drunk, intoxicated, smoking pot, etc online. While older folks might see this as a terrible thing, young people are quite comfortable with these behaviors. Likewise with talking about depr
    • Why would I need someone to confirm that I have a feeling? If I feel something, I know that I feel something, thank you very much!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      We feel your pain.
  • The Social Stigma (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:02AM (#16145592) Journal
    Interesting articles but I have a very basic question: Where do we get the social stigma associated with "meeting someone online"?

    We're humans. We're a gregarious species. Whenever something arises that allows us to interact with people, it's usually a good thing. But tell your parents that you met someone online and you're dating them -- hell tell anyone -- that and more often than not, they'll disapprove.

    Why? What causes this? Even the summary said it's amazing how much personal stuff people are willing to put online, isn't this a good thing if you're trying to get to know someone?

    I've heard people say that only weird people are online and that you're taking serious risks ... but I've also seen percentages that show you're just as likely to meet a deviant at a bar as on MySpace or Friendster.

    The only possible explanation I can find for this is the "it's different so it's wrong" approach a lot of people take to new things. I don't know if it's an ultra conservative viewpoint or just fear of the unknown that drives this social stigma against meeting people online.
    • by Billosaur (927319) * <`wgrother' `at' `optonline.net'> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:10AM (#16145643) Journal
      Interesting articles but I have a very basic question: Where do we get the social stigma associated with "meeting someone online"?

      The Media. Let's face it: for as many positive stories you will find about the power of the Internet, you will find 5 times as many stories about things wrong with the Internet (phishing, privacy issues, child molesters, social repression, odd personal behavior, pornography, data loss, etc.). So "meeting someone online" carries the connotation that anyone you meet through some online medium must be tainted, somehow crazed or weird or just odd. When in fact, the subset of humanity we put in those categories is probably no greater on the Internet than it is in the global population.

      Social networking is just an enhancement of your neighborhood, with global reach. And just like their may be "weirdoes" on your block you know nothing of, the same can be said of the Internet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jizziknight (976750)
      The problem I see with meeting someone online is that you're not quite sure if they are who they say they are. People make stuff up online to seem nicer/cooler/stronger/1337/whatever. Just look at how people show off their e-peens on /.. People also tend to just have different personalities or personas online. For instance, one of my friends (a male) is almost always female online. In games, on websites, everything.

      I see these as potentially huge problems because what if that cute 12 year old girl you met l
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by anagama (611277)
        People put on faces in real life as well in any number of ways. Some people like to appear richer than they are. Some people present a happy face on a sad/angry family life. Some people seem friendly while only out for themselves.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jizziknight (976750)
          True, but that sort of thing is much easier to do and much easier to get away with online, especially when you can pretend to be someone completely different. In person, it's much more difficult, since your bodly language will often give away your false "face". It's not that you can do these sorts of things online, it's how easy it is to do them when compared to meeting someone in person.
          • by anagama (611277)
            True -- it is easier online, but less effective perhaps. For example, if you are trying to get laid and present yourself as Mr. Buff Superdink -- it's very easy to get away with it online but as soon as you try to meet Ms. Hottie, she'll see the pot belly, the slouch and all other parts of the deception. Real life deceit is more difficult, but also perhaps more effective. Look at all the brown-nosers and sociopaths who get promoted ever higher for good examples.
            • Yes, also true. But say you're a loony and don't actually care about forming a real relationship, and are really just looking for your next victim (whatever that may entail). It would be much easier for you to do this online without your victim being suspicious. So when you finally get them to agree to meet you, the online "you" doesn't show, they get pissed and go home, while the real you tails them and kidnaps them in a dark alley or something. Yes, I'm taking things to the extreme here, but the simple fa
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by robvs68 (560549)
      The social stigma is somewhat warranted. True, there is nothing wrong with meeting someone online, but many of these people fail to realize that they truely don't know someone if they've only communicated via text or voice. Half of human communication is visual...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by inviolet (797804)

        The social stigma is somewhat warranted. True, there is nothing wrong with meeting someone online, but many of these people fail to realize that they truely don't know someone if they've only communicated via text or voice. Half of human communication is visual...

        The reverse could also be true. Because there isn't any visual communication, people become more honest and more revealing about the rest of themselves.

        It could well be that the visual component triggers the 'project the desired image' algorithm

        • by Firefly1 (251590)

          The reverse could also be true. Because there isn't any visual communication, people become more honest and more revealing about the rest of themselves.

          If, as is noted in the grandparent post, "half of human communication is visual", it would make sense in situations where that component is out of play to take greater care with one's words. Unfortunately, the behavior of certain forum denizens is ample proof that this is not always done.

          It could well be that the visual component triggers the 'project the

      • Well, hell, I've dated women for months before I came to the realization that I had no clue who they really were! I think what is at work is that this is a function of technology, and most technologies in the past served to drive a wedge between people, to alienate them. It is counterintuitive, then, to have in our midst a technology that actually brings people together.
    • by eln (21727) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:13AM (#16145664) Homepage
      I think it has to do with the role that computers have traditionally played in our lives. Traditionally, the "normal" people spend their leisure time going out and hanging out with their friends, while the pimply faced nerds sit at home all day and night on their computers chatting online.

      As the Internet has become more mainstream, the stigma of meeting people online has faded significantly. These days, it's more of a curiosity than something that's looked down on. Although, meeting people on dating sites still has the same stigma (for now) as meeting people through the newspaper personal ads. But I think that's because many people consider those types of sites (or ads) as a last-ditch act of desperation for people who haven't been able to get a date any other way.
    • by milgr (726027) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:15AM (#16145671)
      The stigma of meeting people online comes from the few nut cases and preditors out there. On the Net, it is difficult to tell anything about the entities with whom you communicate. Is the entity who he says s/he is, is it really a bot, a 13-year old boy pretending to be a 25 year old girl, a sexual preditor pretending to be a 16 year old boy?

      That being said, I do know people who have developed long term real-life relationships with people they met on the Net. My sister met the man whom whe married on Bitnet. When they met, she made sure it was in a public location.
      • As the GP pointed out, you can meet nutjobs anywhere. The problem with meeting people on the Net is that there can be a very long delay before you realize that your "friend" is one such nutjob.

        My theory is that the vast majority of well-balanced females don't make themselves available online. Sure they chat with people they already know, but they don't expand their circles. They can make friends in any setting, so why bother with one where deception is so easy? So any female you're likely to meet online

      • by The Raven (30575)
        My sister married the guy she met on a local BBS. Not quite 'teh internets', but it was 1996... BBS were still going strong.
    • by hkgroove (791170)

      Interesting articles but I have a very basic question: Where do we get the social stigma associated with "meeting someone online"?

      I, for one, see it no different than being set up on a blind date or something of the like. I've developed quite a few solid friendships with people whom I met online. Never a relationship, but the idea doesn't scare me away either.

      Is it because most people equate meeting people in a social setting as normal? Is it seen, by others, as a last resort for someone who doesn't

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)
      I think the newness of it is a big chunk of it, but a keyboard, mouse and screen just aren't all that social. I also imagine another big chunk of it is that people believe in things like 'love at first sight' and whatnot, and the sterility of a network terminal is offensive to those notions. The fact that there is actual chemistry going on when you interact with people in real life might also have something to do with it.
    • by baadger (764884)
      I think it stems from the fact that most perceive 'meeting' and making friends with people online as a somehow 'cheap' or 'easy' way of doing so. And indeed it is.

      Friends, like anything else, can seen superficially by some as something you possess. The more you have the higher your social stature and, lets face it, everyone wants to be loved, have lots of friends and have that feeling reciprocated.

      If your friends (i.e. online buddies) are easy to come by however, it only makes sense for the natural reaction
    • As someone mentioned, this stigma comes from the undesirables online that we've all heard about. As is typical, we ignore the 95% of good moral people and focus on the 5% of scammers, predators, degenerates and slashdot readers.

      I think this is further reinforced because many people who would be totally normal if you met them in the elevator of your building or in line at starbucks, when online, show their slimy underbelly. Look at all the AOL searches that were posted.

      I guess this is because the internet is
    • by Opportunist (166417)
      Face it, the 'net is a series of tubes for most people. It's something where you type something in IE and you get a page that shows you some flashy graphics, and that's pretty much it. What other information people have, they have from the media hype around things that, allegedly or really, happened to someone who happened to "be in the net".

      Mix that with xenophobia and the fact that the "other one" can be anywhere from Dallas to Dnjepropetrowsk and people will be unable to even grasp the basic concept. It'
    • Where do we get the social stigma associated with "meeting someone online"?
      As a species we are oriented toward the visual and faces for recognition, status and bonding. There was an interesting four part series with John Cleese and Elizabeth Hurley The Human Face [amazon.com] from 2001 that covered some REALLY interesting face factors.
      That, of course, is missing in the online world. Sure you can see a picture, but it's not the same. There is a subliminal information loss that lowers your ability to really "know"
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by afeeney (719690)
      Another issue is that the traditional way of meeting a mate was through friends, schools, and physical social networks, so potential mates came more or less recommended or at least pre-approved. Meeting, courtship, and mating were almost entirely community functions that had a high community stake in success. We weren't fully conscious of our stake in their marriage and almost inevitable child-rearing, but we were aware that "good" marriages and families are an important part of our community's success.

      Me

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by msaavedra (29918)

      Where do we get the social stigma associated with "meeting someone online"? ...Whenever something arises that allows us to interact with people, it's usually a good thing. But tell your parents that you met someone online and you're dating them -- hell tell anyone -- that and more often than not, they'll disapprove.

      I think this stigma is from people's natural tendency to fear the unfamiliar, and is fading fast. I met my girlfriend online, and everyone I know has been supportive. I think they'd be more susp

    • by lastpub (214519)
      It may have something to do with the lack of emotional communication: voice inflection and facial expressions are not translated over the normal medium of web communication, text. We pick up a lot of our social and attraction queues from these. In the case of romance, smell plays a big part in attraction, also not transmitted via the web. This might be the basis for the social stigma. While intellectually there are advantages to this method of communication, socially it is handicapping and that is likely na
    • I don't know if there is a social stigma anymore, but there is certainly a productivity stigma(?). Just because I'm wasting time at work posting pointless dribble on the Internet(s) doesn't necessarily mean I'm being less productive. Yes, I could have done something else, but the water fountain requires me to get off my fat ass.
    • by blubadger (988507)
      The stigma isn't because it's "new". If anything that would be a reason for it to be cool (think i-Pod).

      I think it's for two reasons. Firstly (as someone else points out), internet culture still carries residual connotations of nerdy computer culture. In the popular imagination, the network is not yet seen as the communications revolution that it really is - something that changes how humans relate to each other. For most people the net is still just a mundane if convenient service that chains you to an ugl
    • by cyberon22 (456844)
      Sherry Turkle is great. I've read both her books and particularly like the first one (The Second Self), which must have come out in the 1980s because it talked a lot about Pac Man and Space Invaders.

      I think I can answer your question, anyway. In her two earlier books Turkle wasn't really making any political points. What she was doing was writing about how exposure to computers changed the way people thought about themselves and their own consciousness. I actually think that in a lot of cases she simply too
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:05AM (#16145612) Homepage
    I know it's cliche to say that you shouldn't post very embrassing things about yourself online (employers don't like to read "hey, I get like... totally wasted and have drug-addled gay sex with my best friend every friday!"), but it is a problem. If you go for a sensitive position, they will do a background check and you can kiss getting a security clearance goodbye with half of what often gets put on these sites. Yes, just write off your ability to possibly get anything above a confidential clearance.

    On the bright side, maybe we will end up either weeding out a whole lot of future potential politicians, or make things so open that "colorful people" can get into office. Works for me either way!
    • If you go for a sensitive position, they will do a background check and you can kiss getting a security clearance goodbye with half of what often gets put on these sites. Yes, just write off your ability to possibly get anything above a confidential clearance.

      Which shows that the government is stupid - the people who are security risks are those who have something to hide. The very fact that I am open about things means that I am less of a security risk. I can't be blackmailed by someone threatening to

      • They don't just care about what you have to hide, but what sort of judgement you show. They have never pretended that they are concerned just with what you have to hide, but what sort of character you show and how good your judgement is. A lot of leaks happen due to bad judgement calls, not malice.
    • Um, what? That's the worst that can happen, that we miss our opportunities for a good security clearance?

      a) I think if they conduct a proper background check, the posting of whatever you did will be less important than that you did it. Sure, since you posted it, it's easy for them to find that data. But surely they know how to find it too when it isn't so easy to find. That's what getting a security clearance is all about, right? It's not like they'll say "WELL, if he didn't post it to MySpace, he must
  • When you are able to physically distance yourself from the physical aspect of things (you know actually talking to someone), many people seem to be able to overcome their inhibitions. This is a positive thing for many people who for some reason or another have a diffucult time being themselves around others. Of course this distancing also has the power to bring out the idiot in many of us too (you know who you are)!!!
    ___________________________
    Free iPods? Its legit [wired.com]. 5 of my friends got theirs. Ge
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by danpsmith (922127)

      When you are able to physically distance yourself from the physical aspect of things (you know actually talking to someone), many people seem to be able to overcome their inhibitions.

      This is definitely true, and is probably the reason I spent most of my socializing time on the computer earlier on in life. There's no present danger on the computer, you can say what you like and inhibitions go by the way side. However, in a way you are seriously just avoiding your fears of rejection or fears of whatever el

  • by necro81 (917438) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:09AM (#16145636) Journal
    For those of you who don't want to register (even for free) to newscientist.com.

    I Saw The Best Minds of My Generation Destroyed by Google
    by Bruce Sterling

    Los Angeles, 2026

    Ted got busted because we do graffiti. Losing Ted was a big setback, as Ted was the only guy in our gang who knew how to steal aerosol spray cans. As potent instruments of teenage social networking, aerosol spray cans have "high abuse potential". So spray cans are among the many things us teenagers can't buy, like handguns, birth control, alcohol, cigarettes and music with curse words.

    I tried hard to buy us another spray can. I'm a street poet, so really, I tried. I walked up to the mall-store register, disguised in my Dad's business jacket, with cash in hand. They're cheap, aerosol spray cans. Beautiful colours of paint, just screaming to get sprayed someplace public where everybody has to see what's on our minds. The store wouldn't sell me the can. The e-commerce system simply would not allow that transaction. The screen just went gray and stayed gray.

    That creepy "differential permissioning" sure saves a lot of trouble for grown-ups. Increasing chunks of the world are just... magically off limits. It's a weird new regime where every mall and every school and every bus and train and jet is tagged and tracked and ambient and pervasive and ubiquitous and geolocative... Jesus, I love those words... Where was I?

    Right. We teenagers have to live in "controlled spaces". Radio-frequency ID tags, real-time locative systems, global positioning systems, smart doorways, security videocams. They "protect" us kids, from imaginary satanic drug dealer terrorist mafia predators. We're "secured". We're juvenile delinquents with always-on cellphone nannies in our pockets. There's no way to turn them off. The internet was designed without an off-switch.

    So my pal Ted, who stupidly loved to tag his own name on the walls, got sent to reform school, where the security is insanely great. Me, I had a much higher grade-point average than Ted, but with no handy Ted to steal spray cans, the words of the prophet have vanished from the subway walls. So much for my campaign to cover the town with graffiti street-stencils of my favourite teen pop stars: George Orwell and Aldous Huxley.

    And Shakespeare. I used to hate Shakespeare, because the teachers would park us in front of the webcam terminals, turn on the Shakespeare lessons and leave the building. But then, somehow, they showed us Macbeth, a play which actually MEANS something to us. Grown-ups don't understand that (or they wouldn't be teaching it) but Macbeth is the true authentic story of my generation. This is Macbeth's world, and us teenagers just live in it. Dig this: those "Three Weird Sisters", who mysteriously know everything? They can foretell anything, instantly, like Google? Plus, the witches make it all sound really great - only, in real life, it totally sucks? Well, those "Three Weird Sisters" are the "Internet of Things", they're "Ubiquitous Computation", they're "Ambient Findability". The truth is written all over the page (or the screen - my school can't afford to give us any "pages"). Just read that awesome part where they're boiling pseudocode in their witch-cauldron! They talk like web designers! "The words of the prophet have vanished from the subway walls"

    Macbeth stumbles around seeing ghosts and virtual-reality daggers. That sure makes sense. Every day of my life, I see people with cellphones yelling eerie gibberish in public. The world of Macbeth is totally haunted and paranoid! You can't get one minute's privacy, even inside your own bed!

    So, I did my class report about Macbeth, and every kid in my English class instantly agreed with me. I'm not the most popular guy in school, but they started CHEERING me. And Debbie, this wacky Goth chick in my class who identifies with Lady Macbeth... After my class report, Debbie sleep-walked out of the classroom and pretended to hang herself! Of cour
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ThatsNotFunny (775189)
      You don't need to register, even for free, to access this on their site. But thanks for empowering my laziness! :)
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Off topic, but...

      I really hate graffiti. If so many of these people are "artists" then why do they just keep writing their own stupid name, er, "tag"?

      The thing that really sucks is that they don't have any consideration for the person who has to clean their shitty "art" up. You know how I define good art? It is a draw to people. People will come see/hear good art. If you have to spray it really big in front of people, it must not be so good. That's called "advertisement", and it is a different animal.

      • Off topic, but... I really hate graffiti.

        Have a look at this guy's work [banksy.co.uk] and see what you think.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          That guy is world-famous and has people pouring into his exhibits. In addition, I think most would agree that he is on a different plane than the type of graffiti that I was talking about. His outdoor stuff is political advertisement for the most part so it doesn't really impress me much... I'm not really a big fan of ads, either. Someone still has to clean his shit up, even if he is a talented artist. It would be different if he went and cleaned it up himself, but that would apparently be beneath him. Let

        • by kchrist (938224)
          I only have to look at the URL to say that this guy is first and formost a self-promoting machine. So advertising, once again.

          I swear, if I hear the word "banksy" one more time this week I'm going to be sick. Why is everyone so obsessed with this guy lately?

          And to think, I came into this thread to say something about how Bruce Sterling's writing is best left behind registration systems so people won't accidentally read it.
    • by Gibsnag (885901)
      Imagine that Debbie and me somehow go out together. We want to network with our peer group, teenager-wise. I need to figure out what's hip and with-it and rebellious, and Debbie needs to know what the other cyber-Goth chicks are wearing. Is that okay? No!

      This is the bit that I found the most interesting. Obviously teenagers (and to a lesser extent adults) will follow the pack, we're insecure and awkard creatures that need to identify ourselves with something. But is the 'net any worse or better for formin
    • I wonder how many people got the Morrissey reference at the end.
    • by phobos72 (210328)
      Debbie: why do you access me, when you know that makes things hard for me? Why do you tag, and link to me? Why do you telephone? And why, why, why do you write me silly notes on paper? I am so sick of you, Debbie. Why, why do you hack me? It is just to see the things that you know I am writing about you...
      Paraphrasing Morrissey, Mr Sterling? Suedehead [man.ac.uk]
      • > I wonder how many people got the Morrissey reference at the end.

        Evidently not this guy:

        > Paraphrasing Morrissey, Mr Sterling? Suedehead [man.ac.uk]

    • > Mom's way too busy building herself up to 146th-level SuperMasonic Tolkien-Fantasy Ultra-Elf Queen.

      With Hootie slider to max, I hope.

      In any case, this is obviously a case of the mother not properly educating the son on the delights of leaving meatspace behind. As we look back on the year 2026 and examing the blogs thereof, we see that some people were just scared of the future. Now that our meatspace bodies are kept alive and healthy by automated systems, we can live the lives we've always wanted, sa
  • Anything that has to do with 'online' and a people playing/working together has been for the most part sucessful.

    Basic technology is a good example. At first it was the pagers that allowed you to know when someone wanted to talk to you. And when you friend got a page it was 'I NEED A PHONE! QUICK! SOMEONE NEEDS TO GET AHOLD OF ME!'. Then cellphones came along and now you can talk to anyone from anywhere. Now a days, its hard to find someone who doesnt have a cell phone. Everyone wants to be connected to eve
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Speak for yourself. I don't have a cellphone, and furthermore I don't ever intend to have one. I don't use IRC/IM or any of that crap. I like playing video games, but I don't get into the whole multiplayer thang.

      I don't think people need other people around all the time as much as they need human noise. I noticed this years ago with television. I'd go over to a friend's house to visit, and their attention would be partially focused on the telly as they engaged in channel surfing --- a continuous stream of
      • Imagine that you couldn't do anything. You weren't educated, you don't know how to build anything, you don't have any "intrinsic" skills of any note whatsoever.

        You don't know how to determine what the answers to the questions should be because you don't have the tools or capacity, and you've been taught all your life that you should leave it to "experts" with social recognition to tell you.

        So you exist in this state where all your power is external. It lies in your capacity to somehow get others to do the
    • by Howserx (955320)
      I don't own a cell phone, neither does my girlfirend, or her sister, or any of our family members come to think of it. My sister did once, I think the battery gave up 5 years ago, not it's a toy for my son. I don't want to be connected to anyone else, as a matter of fact I try very hard not to be listed on anywebsite with my real name or contact information. (slashdot is one of the few with my real name) I don't even answer the land line at home. I would rather live by myself actually, but the family t
    • by hypoxide (993092)
      I enjoy tangible companionship. In fact, I don't feel as though I'm in company in any other way. Television sucks. The internet sucks. I want to touch somebody, physically. I want to punch my pals in the shoulder once in a while. I want to kiss my girlfriend once in a while. I want eye contact. I want sound waves from vocal chords, not speakers. I want to smell your body odor.

      Jesus, what kind of pathetic existence am I living if I supplement these things with their cyber knock-offs?

      No, thank you.
  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:13AM (#16145665) Homepage
    I'm one of those people who wishes I could throw all my personal information out there for people to look at and either admire or ignore. I could care less what people think of me, but the problem is that then people judge me and change how they treat me based on this information. People are constantly judging, and they are judging based off of thousands of criteria, most of which don't have a real impact on how one would deal with me. Be nice, be fair, don't bigoted against me, judge the issue at hand with the facts I have laid out, and we'll get along great.

    I understand that to get through the world you have to play the politics game, learn how to schmooze people, and keep the private things private. I'm just sick and tired of it. Most of the people who post this information I think are similar in this regard. I want to tell the world about me, but I don't want to be judged, I just want to be seen for who I am.

    But other people aren't that way, and most of us "blunt" type people have to learn the hard way that the rest of society judges us, and the judge us on all the wrong things. That's what happens, you post some personal information, describe yourself, and things go well when people you want to see you see you, but then when a bunch of people you don't know see you, and you find out these people are important to your job, that's when stupid shit starts to happen and you learn that it wasn't as smart as you thought.

    Basically people treat the internet like a social club or a singles bar. They have to realize that it's the world... the entire world... who can see who you are. And that's the part that sucks, that not everyone thinks like you, and you have to get smart and take your page down or severely limit your posted information.
    • I could care less what people think of me, but the problem is that then people judge me...


      If you truely could care less what people thought about you then there would be no problem with them judging you as you wouldn't care.
      • by hellfire (86129)
        You took my quote out of context, and forgot to include the important part at the end:

        "and change how they treat me based on this information"

        If you think I'm an asshole because I'm a bleeding heart liberal, I don't care, but if I'm nice to you, say please and thank you, and you still treat me like an asshole all because of my personal opinions, that's when it's your problem, not mine. That's the kind of judgement I'm talking about.
        • by hypoxide (993092)
          A. How on earth could you possibly know if (and what) judgment a person is passing on you?
          B. How could you know if someone is treating you differently based on this possibility of judgment?
          C. Perhaps this person is simply being their self? Regardless of whether or not they are judging you, it is still your choice to accept how they treat you and take heed to it based on your own self respect.
          D. Even if someone does treat you like an asshole would, who cares? Their loss. I wouldn't sit there and grumble o
    • by HobophobE (101209)
      As more people begin to express themselves and their feelings (and as a result, others discover that they can learn to express themselves and that they have feelings that aren't bookmarks of mass media views) it will get better. If you look at history there were times of persecution (or at least estrangement) for many different beliefs/associations, and as those groups continued to struggle they eventually gained acceptance (or at least community which yields a tacit acceptance by other groups).

      In other wor
    • by daigu (111684)

      Nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable. - Jean De La Fontaine (1621-1695), French poet, fabulist.

      You will be judged because if you don't know how to show discretion in your own life, how will you know to show discretion in mine, where I to share any part of my life with you? Make no mistake, this is not about freedom to be you. It is about understanding that you squander yourself trying to connect to the whole world - and in doing so, potentially squ

  • Anachronism, FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sielwolf (246764) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:21AM (#16145710) Homepage Journal
    FTA:
    What kind of responsibility are they ducking?

    Summer 2006 finds the world enmeshed in multiple wars and genocidal campaigns. It finds the world incapable of calling a halt to environmental destruction. Yet, with all of this, people seem above all to be fascinated by novel technologies. On college campuses there is less interest in asking questions about the state of the world than in refining one's presence on Facebook or MySpace. Technology pundits may talk in glowing terms about new forms of social life, but the jury is out on whether virtual self-expression will translate into collective action.

    Ok, that's bullshit. First off it is not true: look at the rise of Netroots (in politics, in activism, in terrorism) and all of that sort of action that disproves her very own observation. People are using online communities to get involved (for good or ill). Of course if you narrow your focus down like she does to just Facebook and Myspace (two sites designed for fulltime student aged demographics) *shock* people are just using them for social networking.

    Second, her statement has the implication that in the great golden times before Teh Intarnetz that people where autonomous self-actualized ubermensch that got involved all the time with important social issues and where immune to peer pressure. That's pure BS. For all the supposed young folk getting active in the 60's, a good part of them took getting active to mean as a way to pick up chicks. Joni Mitchell talked about how all the talk of free love was just a scam. That's no different than it is now. Your average college kid is thinking of two things on a Thursday night: how to get drunk and how to get laid. That hasn't changed in forty years. And the author ignores the fact that the US population was mostly positive about Vietnam and it took the draft for most Americans to finally have a stake and for the tide to turn against that war. It wasn't due to folks now caving to instant peer pressure. The term Silent Majority was coined in that very era.

    This article has all the makings of Media Studies masturbation: it has no social, historical, psychological or political context. It just has posed hypothetical examples and a lot of incestuous jargon. It does not approach it's own biases with skepticism or try to study the issue from an antithetical perspective (e.g. "Maybe social networking has no effect"). Colbert would call this East Coast Ivy League crap. And this is exactly the sort of thing you could break out in a party when trying to siddle up to some young filly. "Girl, we're so alone in this darkness... here, put your head in my lap."
    • > Your average college kid is thinking of two things on a
      > Thursday night: how to get drunk and how to get laid. That
      > hasn't changed in forty years.

      You misspelled "four thousand".
    • by grappler (14976)
      I'm interested to see where the whole activism thing will go. The people this academic is really writing about are probably about 18 and younger - people shaped by the idea of social networking to such a degree that they haven't known a world where they couldn't just get on their computer and instantly immerse themselves in the personal lives of their peers.

      We will all continue to learn how to organize ourselves into various interesting networks in the coming years. Myspace and Facebook are big now but I do
  • Summer 2006 finds the world enmeshed in multiple wars and genocidal campaigns. It finds the world incapable of calling a halt to environmental destruction. Yet, with all of this, people seem above all to be fascinated by novel technologies. On college campuses there is less interest in asking questions about the state of the world than in refining one's presence on Facebook or MySpace. Technology pundits may talk in glowing terms about new forms of social life, but the jury is out on whether virtual self-ex

    • The world didn't immediately stop Hitler because we were all busy chatting on our cell phones. This person needs a history lesson and some perspective.

      The irony of these two sentences. Yes, a history lesson and some perspective would teach "someone" why we weren't too busy talking on our cell phones to stop Hitler... :-)

      When I was in college we didn't care about the world because we were drinking beer, playing video games, and trying to get laid.

      This, of course, is true.

  • I've found my new sig.

    My Mom's a Welfare Elf Queen

  • by dominion (3153) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:47AM (#16145895) Homepage
    If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: One of the biggest things holding social networking back is that people still have this conception of it that is very reminiscent of a 1996 Wired Magazine article. That it's all very cool and hip and revolutionary.

    Social networking isn't gonna get anywhere until people everywhere see it as a basic tool, no more, no less. You don't see kids bragging about their email address, do you? Why are teenagers acting the fool [myspace.com] over the fact that they have a myspace?

    I've been working on a distributed social networking software called Appleseed (at Sourceforge [sourceforge.net], and a test site at Appleseedproject.org [appleseedproject.org]. The idea is to distribute social networking across an infinite number of sites, all of which can communicate with each other flawlessly. Basically, taking the decentralized theory of the internet, and applying it to social networking software.

    One of the effects I think this will have, is that a lot of people will join social networking sites who might be normally turned off by a monolothic cesspool such as MySpace. Ridiculous hipsters can have their site, and people who don't suck could have their own site, and someone who doesn't suck could still maintain a relationship with their hipster "friend" so that they can hear where the parties are without having to wear girls jeans and have a haircut [llnwd.net] that proves [llnwd.net] that the world has no sense [llnwd.net] of decency [llnwd.net].

    Yes, this means that your uncle and your mom and your cousin and even maybe your grandparents are gonna be do the whole social networking thing. Luckily, Appleseed has a lot of privacy options, so you can hide your BDSM Leninist Reading Group from your family.

    One of the effects of the "uncooling" of social networking, I think, will be that people recognize that you're not hanging out at 80's night at the local club, or chilling with your friends at a private party. You're broadcasting your life to the whole damn world. Once I think people realize that, I think the absurd and abnormal social habits that social networking creates are going to quickly disappear.

    At the very least, I sincerely hope so.
    • by symbolic (11752)
      having to wear girls jeans

      I keep seeing references to "girls jeans" - makes me wonder - what are "girls jeans?" Are they jeans that *don't* make one look like a complete retard, with a crotch that literally hangs at knee-height, and that actually *cover* one's rear-end, sparing those within eyeshot a glimpse of what should be underneath (but typically isn't)?
    • by niceone (992278)

      Personally, I think myspace is already 'uncooling' as you put it. It doesn't look like it if you browse around the site using the two most obvious ways - people's friends and comments - but this is because the sample is skewed by the fact that the 'cool' people are the ones with a zillion friends and who post millions of stupid flashing banner comments. If you take a more random sample you'll find loads of regular people there just hoping to find new friends, new music etc.

      I know this because I've been se

  • Electronic text has a propensity for inviting asynchronous discourse. Because it is posted, sent, and retrieved by the other at his or her leisure, the personal involvement with messages is lessened: it makes the earliest parts of a romantic relationship easier because the agony of "should I call" disappears when you can send a text message or an e-mail without wondering if "the roommate" or "the parent" will pick up. The recipient has the option to respond at his or her leisure, which creates a longer ga
  • Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Broken scope (973885)
    I'm an online social hermit.

    My facebook account has 20 friends globally. I know met all but 2 of them face to face, and those 2 i have had long running philisophical debates with.

    I would rate myself as a mildy attractive, guy. I stay in shape and i brush my teeth. I tended to get 10 to 15 friend requests a week from people i never met, who couldn't be bothered to even attach a "Hi" message. Occasionally some of them were the "hey wanna hook up?". Most of which I denied and at one point it really pisse

  • It's certainly interesting that so many people post very revealing stuff about themselves on these sites.


    No, that's not interesting.

    The 'revealing stuff' they post isn't interesting; it would only be interesting if it represented extremes of behavior or threw light on fascinating personalities or great events.

    The fact that they post it isn't interesting either; it would only be interesting if there was some good reason for them not to post, or if there was something else they could be doing instead.

    'Dull pe
  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2 AT earthshod DOT co DOT uk> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @11:30AM (#16146297)
    I had an idea that social networking information might be highly valuable to corrupt governments. With some social networking data about each citizen, and a draconian Digital restrictions Management scheme, democracy can be laid to rest once and for all. Elections can be held in which every citizen can verify their own vote in a published list -- yet the final result of the election was decided before a ballot was cast.

    Why post-election verifiability is meaningless
    or, how even an open ballot can be subverted

    A government already in power is in the ideal position to subvert an election even where every registered voter votes (zero abstentions), even in spite of receipts and even in spite of the existence of a published list of everyone's name, address and who voted for whom (hereinafter The Big List). The Big List is -- or at least will be spun as being -- highly sensitive information. There won't be any paper copies anywhere, in case they get stolen by foreign terrorists or direct marketers. You will be grudgingly allowed to look at it, strictly for the purpose of verifying that your own vote is correct. Don't expect for a second that it won't be protected by Digital Restrictions Management: you won't be able to print or save it without violating the EUCD or US DMCA. Anyway, possession of a hard copy could be made a separate offence in its own right (since it might be used to discriminate against people in illegal ways; also, it's information that might be useful to terrorists, or some such).

    All it would take is (1) for The Big List to be made available only online, with Digital Restrictions Management technology, and accessible only via the use of a personal "security code" in order to "ensure that sensitive information is not misused"; and (2) for a combination of intrusive and less-intrusive surveillance measures to be used to determine everyone's Social Network (i.e. who their friends, relations and work colleagues are).

    Run the election as normal and count the votes fairly. If your chosen candidate wins, stop right now. If anyone else wins, you need to adjust the figures just enough to create a favourable result which incorporates a sufficient majority to be unlikely to be challenged.

    Now, when a voter logs on to see the results, they see a subtly altered version of The Big List. Their own vote is rendered accurately, as are the votes of everyone in their Social Network. The only votes altered are those of people outside the visitor's Social Network.

    In other words, I might log in to see The Big List and see that my ex-coal-miner grandad voted for Labour (the winners), my posh aunt voted Conservative (the party who actually polled the most votes), and that dippy tart with the blue hair who lives in my street voted for the Green party -- exactly as I would have expected. To make the figures fit, a lot of Conservative votes will have to be changed to Labour votes. But on the version of the record that I am seeing -- and remember, they know it's me seeing it because of my personal security code -- all the changed votes came from people who, according to the Social Networks database, are strangers to me. Someone else might very likely log in and see my aunt as having voted Labour; but not if, according to the Social Networks database, they know me or her.

    If a friend is with me when I check my vote, they will see their vote recorded correctly -- unless The Authorities don't know of our friendship and their vote happens to be one of the ones that get altered. Still, when they get home and check it on their own computer, it will show up right. If they call The Authorities and make it successfully through the "press one if ....., press two if ....." menus, they will be asked for their details, told the correct vote and that my computer must have been faulty, and probably believe that. If they later check on another friend's computer, and that other friend is properly listed as a k
    • Run the election as normal and count the votes fairly. If your chosen candidate wins, stop right now. If anyone else wins, you need to adjust the figures just enough to create a favourable result which incorporates a sufficient majority to be unlikely to be challenged.

      Been done manually, sorta. This was the recount SOP - "recount" until Gore "wins". Fortunately it failed and Gore still lost.

    • > In other words, I might log in to see The Big List and see that my ex-coal-miner grandad voted for

      By allowing people to see other people's votes, you've already queered the election in ways the powerful can manipulate. Hence this election design is already completely bogus.

      You think you are clever when you don't really realize what you're dealing with here. [b]These people have every precinct analyzed[/b] with polls and what-not, and know with good statistics how every location will vote. Then they'
    • ajs318, meet the "print screen" command. Or my camera. Or your workplace's digital surveilence. If we have the technology to find everyone in the country's social network, then certainly security cameras will be everywhere, no? And some of them will be able to see computer screens? So if someone wanted to make a case, they would just have to get security footage of different people's screens and compare. And unless you expect all this security footage to be in a big database only accessible to Big Bro
  • When people with even some sense in their heads interact on social networking sites, they understand the risks, the significance of posting private information on the net and that many a times the strangers they are talking to may not be the way they are presenting themselves.
    Dumb people on the other hand just want to be part of a social network because so many others are. Just keep following the herd and you wont be left out. They dont care what they are posting about, all they care is for some chicks to
  • Social networking has nothing but wonderful effects. Now what was that thing called "society" we're talking about?
  • What happened to wanting to ACTUALLY be around people? The teen-faux-angsters are DYING to be seen, heard and listened to - yet they choose the WORST POSSIBLE medium to do it.

    This shouldn't be rewarded. It should be punished. For anyone over the age of 12, do you recall what REAL socializing used to be? You and your buddies would kick it at one of your houses on the weekend, crammed around the Colecovision, playing TOGETHER, waiting for SNL to come on so you could fall asleep during the musical number?
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Just as with everything else, this generation has created YET ANOTHER disposable product; friendship. MySpace and it's ilk have CHEAPENED friendship and turned it into another mass-market, easily tossed commodity with zero expectations of longetivity or nostalgia value.

      To be fair, it wasn't heir generation that caused it, but ours... Or rather the programmers that created Myspace and of course our masters of the 80's generation who funded it... Otherwise known as newscorpration.

      Had young angsty teens actual
    • In summary: My generation: awesome-o! Previous generation: fuddy-duddies. Next generation: Uneducated, lazy, disrespectful punks.

      The wisdom of the ages...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    People tossing all sorts of revealing information up on these sites is not too surprising. It's the ultimate platform for exhibitionism and validation: toss up photos, "clever" profiles, and personal anecdotes and receive instant gratification from friends and strangers. If people respond negatively, its simply enough to pull down the photo/profile/story and delete the negative comments.. clean the slate.

    A big part of socialization is about receiving a self-esteem boost and these sites provide an easy, r
  • 1) The Internet is a Bad Place - but we've been told this since the virtual world was made up of BBSs and FidoNet.
    2) People are afraid of new things - basic marketing 101
    3) No one wants to broadcast their real self to the world - see story of Adam and Eve.

    Is there anything new here?
  • by Chacham (981)
    It's certainly interesting that so many people post very revealing stuff about themselves on these sites

    Like the same information they'd tell you if you just asked them?

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