2. SOCIAL NETWORKING REDEFINING INTER – PERSONAL
3. WAYS IN WHICH SOCIAL NET- WORKING HAS PUT AN END TO TRUE AND SINCERE RELATIONSHIP
Creating trust deficit
Vulnerability to infatuation
Dependence on impersonal forms of communication
Sabotaging personal communication through dreadfully-little conversation
Sensationalism and decay of moral values
Making a private matter public
Creating scope for suspicion and infidelity
Eliminating personal space
Superficiality behind ‘virtual faces’
Projecting false perceptions of ‘awesome lives’ and ‘happening social geeks’
Disconnecting us through more connections
Accentuated generation gap
4. NEED OF ADAPTATION TO KEEP E-INTERACTIONS REAL
Impact of social networking on human relationships in the present-day modern life invites mixed responses from various sections of society. Some deem it a healthy and positive factor which has improved human relationships; while there are others who think that social networking has made the relations devoid of truth and sincerity. There is no denying the fact that social networking has done a great work in improving the social consciousness and awareness. It has also brought people together by giving them a chance to find and interact with others having same interests, attitudes and goals through various web-based communities. But as far as intimate human relations are concerned, the social networking has created isolation and alienation. In the present-day globalized world, where socialization through social networking has acquired the status of a necessity, the basis of relationships is more on appearances than truth and sincerity. The core values driving an intimate relationship, like trust, fidelity and sincerity, have been put to test because of the over-mechanization of human life. The relationships which develop in the due course of time often culminate into mature and trusted companionships. This was possible in an age where the relationships were more intimate and depended on direct interaction. But nowadays, the social networking has made communication possible without having a face-to-face interaction. Thanks to social networking, now there are three parties in a relationship; social networking sites/mobile being the third party. This intrusion of technology has greatly affected human relationships. Where it has introduced ease and accessibility in relationships, it has also created a room for deceit and dishonesty in the relationship. The seemingly greater access to personal information is in fact a controlled reach at filtered information only. It has made it difficult to understand a person in entirety. What people say and how they appear means more than what people are and how they behave in person. The social networking has penetrated to such a level that it has started hurting the health of human relationships.
The advent of social media has transformed the way we communicate. From business and organizational communication to interpersonal communication, and from socio-political interactions to leisure activities, communication in every walk of life has been drastically redefined by this new form of communication. Text messages, emails, tweets, direct voice calls, and personal messages on social forums, to mention a few have become new drivers of communication having enormous effects on our interpersonal relationships. Social media has gained this power for its ability to fulfil the basic need of people: the need to be heard, engaged, and involved in processes they had always wanted to participate in. Now communication is often multidimensional that has impacted interpersonal relationships the most. It has created new communities and relationships based on mutuality of interests, attitudes and goals. Being nearby is no more required to be near to someone. This erosion of the need of being together in person in order to be close to someone has affected our relationships. The truth and sincerity of relationships can no more be ascertained through these virtual communication tools.
The social networking has affected the development of a true and sincere relationship. The first and foremost thing necessary for a true and loyal relationship is the presence of mutual trust. With the advent of social networking sites and mobile phones, the mutual trust and harmony has decreased. When both the partners in a relationship interact on any social networking sites, their mutual relationship gets susceptible to mistrust and suspicion. Most of the issues creep up between the partners/lovers due to the inherent nature of social networking sites. The most common instances of such issues are befriending such persons which the other partner does not like, reluctance to share passwords and sharing information with others.
The relationship which has its birth owing to the social networking has an inkling of immaturity and is mostly because of infatuation. Most of such relationships are formed in the teenage when the thinking patterns of the youth are derived more of passions and less of reason. Such relations are made more fickle by the social networking where updates are provided for every minute detail. Updating status, uploading pictures and the com ments by friends create confusions and jealousy.
One of the biggest issues with the modern-day relationships is that they are far too much dependant on impersonal forms of communications like social networking sites and mobile phone. It is impossible to build a stable and healthy relationship online or on mobile phone. Face-to-face interaction is very necessary for the development and growth of a sound relationship. But the modern-day relationships based on social networking are dependent on impersonal forms of communication lacking face-to-face interaction.
Moreover, relationships based on social networking are devoid of truth and depth of understanding essential for a sincere relationship. People get to know a lot about each other but that depends on what information is shared. Mostly, those traits and aspects of one’s life are shared that are more likely to appeal or excite interest of the other party. Chatting is mostly centred on areas of common interest and not to gauge the personality of the person. That is the reason why there is little of scope of testing the veracity of shared information and statements.
Moral decay is also among the issues encircling the modern-day relationships. Values like dedication, fidelity, sincerity and truthfulness find no place in the technology based relationships. Appearances, sensuality and verbosity seem to play a greater role in making new relationships. The unchecked access to information available on web disinhibits immoral behaviours and puts to test our real relationships. Increasingly we find posts, comments or even pictures that are inappropriate to be shared in public. Many of these posts relate to our relationships thus making a private matter public. Matters pertaining to the emotional life have become the subject of gossip at the social networking sites. Traditionally, such issues as those of relationships on verge of breakups were resolved by elders within confined sacred boundaries of home. Now there is nothing confined; hardly any concept of sacred; and virtually no boundaries. Personal differences are shared and discussed publicly. Ironically, we get ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ from those hardly concerned.
Interacting on Facebook or twitter has another problem. It brings one closer to too many possible ‘matches’ that your partner becomes naturally suspicious. Given the still-existing social dynamics and values of our society, such interactions always lead to disagreements. The thin line between complimenting and flirting has been worn away by too many interactions. Many a time these suspicions are not unfounded. Thus, a spontaneous and casual attitude in social networking creates scope for suspicion and infidelity.
Contrarily, many a relations are now disturbed by a compulsion to share too many things with one’s fellows that one otherwise would have kept to oneself. One has to disclose one’s leisure activities and hangouts against one’s wishes. It becomes an obligation to sign-in and inform whenever one is around thus eliminating one’s personal space. It leads to frustration and disappointment which often proves fatal for relations.
Anonymity or little access to true information makes social media unpredictable. Because people control what they share, social media gets dicier. Anyone who is technologically moderately literate can project whatever image of him he/she wants. One can hide behind the texts, emails, tweets, comments or status-updates. No one has access to the ‘real one’. Thus there is little scope for sincere relationships.
One of the hallmarks of social media is sharing of minute details and pictures with virtually everyone around. Over a million pictures are uploaded on Facebook every day. People use this medium to broadcast their social lives projecting their awesome lives and company of happening social geeks. These false perceptions often become basis of new relationships premised on expectations that are never fulfilled. Thus breakups are even more common than forming of new relationships.
Most of our time spent on socialization is now consumed by social networking where we meet our virtual friends and fellows. Apart from seeing anonymous people and indulging in fake relationships, it markedly reduces the time we spend with our near and dear ones waiting for our attention. We communicate more with our web-friends thousands of miles apart and ignore those sitting next door. Even siblings who are considered to be closest to each other are now being considered infringing on personal space. Thus, rather than improving our connections, social media has snatched our dear relationships.
Social media has also widened the generation gap as technologically illiterate older generations find it difficult to reconcile with social media dynamics. The so-called Generation Y, that grew up with fast computers, instant internet, mobile phones and digital media is more comfortable with tools of social media interacting with their communities of friends and peers. They have become more and more distant and isolated from other segments of society. Thus, our relations with affectionate and loving elders have been affected by this social media.
Given the drastic consequences of social media on human relations, there is a constant realization to fix this problem. We need to learn to live with this new phenomenon and adapt to its requirements. There is a need to check what and with whom we are sharing and its possible implications on our relations. Also, significance of face-to-face communication cannot be overestimated. We should resort to direct communication whenever electronic communication fails or puts us in a fix. Moreover, communication must be a two-way process. Simply texting someone should not mean that our message has been conveyed. We need to get to recipient’s feedback to ensure that they understood our message. Furthermore, rosy pictures and eloquent speeches are often made on social media without realizing that we have to live up to the expectations arising from those statements. Social media thus requires extra care in communication so that it doesn’t disturb our relationships.
To conclude, advent of social media has revolutionized our ways of communication and interpersonal relationships. Like any other scientific change, this social media can destroy our social structure if left unchecked. We must adapt our habits to ensure that our e-interactions are real and meaningful. We need to learn ways to reap benefits of these advanced technological means of communication and socialization without compromising on our true personal and professional relationships.