July 4, 2011

Social Networking

Oh no, I am not writing about 100 ways the Facebook annoys me or the things that are wrong about Facebook and all those things. Neither am I going to write about how Google plus is going to change the status of Facebook nor am I comparing different social networking sites here. My post is about why these sites have started to scare me. Oh ok, not really scare but I now have a new reverence for them.

Let me start with a completely different aspect of social networking sites, namely research. Yep, you got it right. How many times have you seen a news about Facebook that starts something like

“Research in Blah Blah university suggest that Facebook/twitter/MySpace/insert-any-other-social-networking-site affects ….”

Do you realize how much research has been fueled by these social networking sites ? Just search for number of books written on the social networking sites in recent years. I found a list of about 400 research papers and books including master and PhD theses on the topic.

Social networking sites are a hot topic (or at least, they get more coverage in media) of research in anthropology, psychology, communication, market research, language, political science (with recent middle-east uprisings, it will be a hot topic in political science research in coming days), and of course, IT.

I know, a lot of us make fun of these social networking sites, some refuse to be on it while others use it reluctantly, but let’s face it. They are here to stay. They are changing our world with each passing day and none of us know how. They are becoming more powerful with every flash mob or political rally getting organized through them. Everything around us is changing to accommodate them, from our web browsers to our cell phones to the advertisements. Hell, I follow my chiropractor, my apartment complex and even my (ex-) office building in Stanford (yep, even buildings have profiles on Facebook).

Few years back we joined these sites for fun. But now they are turning into serious business. If the trend continues, in few days, it will be impossible to live/function without a Facebook profile. And that my friend, scares me. How about you?

P.S.: Its just my opinion. I don’t have any substantial data to prove that there is more research done on social networking site. May be some day, when I don’t have anything else to do, I will compile that data…


  1. Yeah it scares me and I don't like it. Imagine what will happen if employers start looking at your facebook profile as a mandatory thing before your interview and making a judgement based on that. Or needing to have FB or twitter in order to even get an interview! Maybe I'm stuck in the past but I prefer less social networking. I even did a post on it a while back "social NOTworking".

  2. social networking was a novel idea and initially it was good to meet long lost friends over time but slowly since it has started becoming more of a money business, it is doing things which are surely dangerous. But I dont completely blame them. Ignorant people post weird things online and then cry later that their privacy is breached. We dont mind using these services for free but when some other people take advantage of it then we claim things should go as we want. It is a little hypocritical. Anyways .. lets see where it leads to ... :)

  3. But that is already happening. At least with small companies here. I know a few people who own/work for a small company and they/their bosses always check out the internet before interviewing people especially places like Linked in, My Space, Facebook and Twitter. Its amazing how many people haven't yet changed their privacy settings and everything they put there is still in the public space. 

    Like it or not, it seems these social networking sites are here to stay and they have become a powerful tool in today's world. Let's see what the future holds for us...

  4. There are always fools in the world who have no idea how to behave online or offline. I guess Facebook give them a platform to announce their stupidity to the world...

    Oh I am looking forward to see how the world looks/behaves in ten years. The Social networking would have matured quite a bit by then. May be evolved into something completely new. May be something dangerous even. Yet I can't wait to see the impact and future of social networking sites!

  5. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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