Selas Turkiye 7 Myths Of Social Media Friendships ExcerptedDocument Transcript
7 MYTHS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FRIENDSHIPSJed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a marriage and family counselor for the last45 years. He is the author of 8 books, including Looking for Love in All theWrong Places, Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome, and Mr.Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome (May,2010). He offers counseling to men, women, and couples in his office inCalifornia or by phone with people throughout the U.S. and around theworld. To receive a Free E-book on Men’s Health and a free subscription toJed’s e-newsletter go to www.MenAlive.com. If you are looking for anexpert counselor to help with relationship issues, write Jed@MenAlive.com.The rap on social media has been that it is superficial and the more timepeople spend on-line, the less time they spend interacting in the “real”world with “real” people. However, recent research indicates that this isn’ttrue.Myth #1: Social relationships are failing.The Pew Internet and American Life Project’s 2007 report found that socialrelationships and the sense of community are not “fading away in America”but growing, although in non-traditional ways. Social affiliations areincreasingly shifting from extended family relationships and connections inneighborhood-based organizations to “social networks,” bringing people oflike-minded interests that transcend geography.Myth #2: Social media undermines our core relationships.The Pew survey asked people about how their Internet involvementaffected both their core ties and significant ties. Core ties are with peopleto whom one has close, intimate relationships, while significant ties weredefined as those with people to whom one is somewhat closely connected.Contrary to the concerns of critics, the more contact individuals had by e-mail, the more in-person and phone contact they had, suggesting that“Americans are probably more in contact with members of theircommunities and social networks than before the advent of the internet.”Myth #3: Face-to-Face social networks are in decline.A total of 32 percent of the respondents in the Pew survey reported thatengagement on the Internet increased the size of their social networkswhile only 3 percent said it decreased them. Overall, Internet users boast“somewhat larger social networks than non-users.Myth #4: Internet networks undermine social capital.Social capital is people helping one another. Traditionally this has been therole of churches and fraternal organizations. Increased Internet use assistsusers in maintaining existing social ties, often strengthening them, whilehelping users forge new social ties. It has not, as some critics hadpreviously warned, been at the expense of significant social ties. In fact, additional time spent online in community reduced the time spendon unsocial activities like T.V.Myth #5: Text messaging encourages superficial friendships. The survey found that more frequent communications via Internet textmessaging encourages the desire to spend more time face-to-face.Researchers found that the reason lies not only in the frequency of stayingin contact but also the nature of the medium and the way it is used.Text messaging, they found, requires a more careful crafting ofcommunications than telephone or face-to-face communications and,messaging is often done at home, often late at night, and therefore peopleoften share more intimate feelings.Three in ten teens, for instance, say “that they are more honest when theytalk with friends on line.”Myth #6: Internet interaction fosters false selves.
One of the main criticisms of Internet friendships is that they are false. Wecan pretend to be anyone we want and as a result we may connect on-line,but in a dishonest way. We’ve all heard the stories of sexual predatorspretending to be friends or older men pretending to be teen-age boys. Although there is certainly an opportunity for unscrupulous people to beable to hide behind their Internet Avatar, in the big scheme of the Internet,that is rare. Years ago MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle suggested, on thebasis of her early pioneering work, that the relative anonymity afforded bycyperspace encouraged people to experiment with other aspects of theirselves by taking on personas and roles that one might feel less comfortableexploring in real-time social encounters.Myth #7: Social media encourages people to lose connection with theirtrue selves.Critics maintain that social media creates an artificial world where humansdisappear and mythic figures take their place. However, researchindicates that the medium may, in fact, help people to bring out their trueselves. Laboratory experiments conducted by social scientist Katelyn McKennaand her colleagues have shown that “the relative anonymity of Internetinteractions greatly reduces the risks” of personal disclosures, “especiallyabout intimate aspects of the self, because one can share one’s innerbeliefs and emotional reactions with much less fear of disapproval andsanction.” McKenna, a New York University psychology professor, concluded: “The more people express facets of the self on the Internet that theycannot or do not express in other areas of life, the more likely they are toform strong attachments to those they meet on the Internet.” What do you think? Have your friendships improved or deteriorated sincegetting involved in social media? I look forward to your responses. Notethem here or connect with me on my website at www.MenAlive.com. I’mindebted to Jeremy Rifkin for information in this article and described in hisbook, The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in aWorld in Crisis.