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The Social Network

December 17, 2010

Gone are the good old days of letters and pen pals, thanks to the numerous social networking sites cropping up. Status updates, photo comments, wall posts and tags- that’s how the Gen Y does it. The internet has created a new rage of networking and connecting with the world around us.

Every passing day seems to back Marshall McLuhan’s claim that the media would make the world a ‘Global Village’, sites like Facebook being primary examples. Children as young as 5 years old are well versed with the activities that social networking entail- from liking posts to uploading photographs.

Social networking inevitably has returned to the spotlight as an issue of contention with the recent release of “The Social Network” – a film that explores the life and success of shrewd and prodigious Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg. The question inevitably raised in a discussion of this sort is that with the advent of sites like Facebook are we venturing into deep waters? On such sites we unknowingly drop our guard, putting up rather personal information and photographs for the world to see. We put up photographs of ourselves holidaying in Goa while burglars happily see this and rob our houses. How difficult is it to plan a robbery when we ourselves inform the world when it is that we will be returning home?

With the explosion of the phenomenon of the internet, parents began to express extreme worries about their children accessing questionable chat sites and giving out information to strangers who might take advantage of it. We all have heard of numerous cases of kidnappings and children running away with strangers they met on such sites. Social networking sites have definitely aggravated this situation. The recent rape case in Delhi, where the victim met the culprit on Facebook is a fine example.

On such sites we not only expose too much information that could be misused by unsocial elements but also information that could cost us our jobs and marriages. Thanks to Facebook bosses now know that whether you were really unwell or were actually partying with your friends, all thanks to your status updates! Moreover, thanks to social networking sites all your claims of being a teetotaller are quashed. Before marrying anyone parents and the to-be groom/bride go through your profile and pictures to know what sort of a person you really are.

So the next time you go on Facebook set up your security setting and make sure that you do not put information that could be misused by people.

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