Some critics say that social networks, although keeping us electronically connected, actually isolate us from the real world. While social networks can skyrocket us to popularity through faster accumulation of ‘cyber friends’ and speedier exchanges of ideas, opinions or just trivial accounts of our days, all the interactions take place in a cyber world–much different from the ‘real’ one.
Despite this criticism, it can not be denied that social networks not only bring us together but also keep us from drifting apart–and that, some would say, is much more important than differentiating the cyber world from the ‘real’ one.
Social networks allow us to make new friends and keep old ones no matter how geographically distant they had become. Rendering the phrase “out of sight, out of mind’ obsolete, social networks allow us to keep in touch with friends who’d moved out of town, in the same way that we could be reunited with ‘friends we’ve lost along the way’. As for those we don’t really care much about, well, we can always ignore them.
Social networks may even be justifiably described as ‘where strangers become acquaintances, acquaintances become friends and friends become lovers’–why not? As people in cyberspace are drawn to one another not so much on the basis of looks, social status, wealth or geographical proximity as on shared interests, values and beliefs, relationships forged through social networks can hardly be considered superficial.
Different people adapt different rules in their social network dealings. Some distinguish social network friends from ‘real’ world ones. Some keep their interactions ‘professional’ and goal-driven–for marketing, information getting and sharing, exchanging learning, etc. It is still amazing though, how you can get information from strangers in social networks and not from strangers you meet on the street.