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My Beef with Social Networking

J0443189 I have deactivated my Facebook account for the third and final time.

Over the last few months, I have become increasingly disgusted with social networking sites and the concept of maintaining meaningful relationships through them.

Don't misjudge me, I'm not a technology 'rebel'.  Far be it from me to insinuate that life in America today could be productive and progressive without the benefits of modern day technology.  I have desktop and laptops computers, a Blackberry and cell phone.  I need and use all of them everyday.  I've had accounts on Facebook and Twitter. I'm no prude.

That being said, I see numerous issues, some of them downright unsafe, with social networks.  These are just my thoughts, but they are the very reasons I've chosen to disconnect.

In my mind, there are many forms of communication i.e. eye contact, touch, tonality and facial expressions as well as speech and text.  Further, I believe that the best communication includes most if not all of these factors.  Text communication is best for sharing of information, again in my opinion, and not for maintaining relationships.  Too much is missing.

I live with several teenagers and I hear a lot of their feelings and comments about social networks, as well as stories from their friends that visit our home.  They have been offended, insulted, teased, had rumors made up and shared about them (with the entire planet, mind you!), even had relationships end - all on these social networks.

How hard is it to insult someone that you aren't facing in the flesh?  How cowardly can you be to start a rumor about someone on-line?  How deceptive can people be as they can get away with being someone else on-line?  What good comes from all of this?  Sure, teenagers can be quite hurtful to one another and that's unfortunate.  At least when I was a teenager, if you wanted to bash someone, you would be sure to face them.  Get some guts, will ya? 

In my world, I'll use technology, you can be sure.  But I think I'll preserve my relationships to a different medium - in person.

Kelly also blogs at www.themorristribe.net