The Effect of Social Technology on Human Life

Abstract

This report talks how social technology effect on human life. Social networking could not have been the focus even few years ago for the simple reason that it did not exist. To be sure, we already had e-mail and the Internet, which meant that many of us created pretty horrible Web sites that were all about me, because, back then, that was the only thing to do. Today we do something like that but rely on Web sites like MySpace, facebook, Secondlife and many others to let our family, friends and the rest of the world find out everything about us. Where is the boundary between the private and the public? What private information should I share on my virtual wall? What consequences should I expect from the fact that such private information is now available to world, not just the people I know?

Keywords

Social Networking, Effect on human life, Virtues and vices, Ethics, Virtual World.

Introduction

Social networking is in its infancy. So we’ve got hundreds of millions of people out there using it. And because of that, it’s already a proven mainstream concept that has lasting power. But there are so many more niches and people out there that will latch onto this and begin using this. We’re just defining what this looks like and how that will work.

Definitely, as more people get accustomed to social networking and they get online and start using these features and functionality, it’s just going to continue to become more ubiquitous where it stops becoming just a social networking site. Social networking starts pervading into everything that we’re doing and into all the Web sites that we’re interacting on.

Research on effect of social technology

One danger is just making sure that people don’t get overwhelmed with so much information out there. And as people become more and more connected, we log into social networks and we realize we’re over on a professional networking site, we realize that we’re connected to hundreds of thousands of people. And that’s extremely powerful. Whether it’s a dating site or whether it’s a professional networking site, we all of the sudden have access. And we can filter and we can get to all this information. But the more and more information that gets there, and this is very similar to just what happened across the general Internet and that’s why Google and Yahoo! became successful as search engines, is that we have to find. We have to filter. We have to keep the experience meaningful and relevant to us, as a user.

And then, the other challenge is the privacy, in general, and spam across these networks. The only way to tackle that is making sure that we’ve got the right systems in place to help people to create their networks and defend their networks against spam or making sure that they have right privacy controls in place.

Another thing we need to remember is, how do we know who we’re talking to is who they say they are? Now if we’re on facebook and someone leaves a post on our wall, we obviously know who that person is. They’re one of our friends or someone my, at least, knows. And there’s some accountability there. We can find that person. If we’re just talking to some random stranger in a chat room, we have no idea who that person is. They don’t know who we are. We hear, again, horror stories of grown men pretending to be young girls talking in chat rooms and horrible things happen.

Virtues and vices, as described by Aristotle, are states of a person’s character that are developed and strengthened over time by certain kinds of activities that the person has repeatedly and habitually performed. When one of these states of character expresses a form of personal excellence, we call it a virtue. And when it fails to do so, we call it a vice. Excellence is marked by the ability to develop one’s natural talents and use them to flourish in the larger human community.

The important thing to note here is that according to this theory, it is the kinds of activities that one gets in the habit of doing that determine the eventual quality of one’s character. One becomes a good person gradually by doing good things, and not just once or twice, but doing them repeatedly and habitually.

This view is important for our purposes for several reasons. First, if this view of ethics is correct, then the moral development of individuals cannot be predicted simply by looking at what they think or believe. We also have to know what kinds of actions they will get in the habit of doing whether those actions will eventually promote, in that person, the development of virtues or vices. Thus, if social networking technology does promise to significantly change the nature of communicative activities that people regularly perform, then it will directly impact the moral development of persons who use that technology. A long term effect that is distinct from its immediate social consequences but certainly no less important for us to thing about. Second, we should remember that traditional forms of communicative activity, especially face-to-face conversation, have evolved on a very long time and in such a way as to naturally maximize certain virtues essential to building and sustaining close interpersonal ties – ties that can support social cooperation and that are strong and flexible enough to withstand the trials and vagaries of human existence.

In conclusion, I could say that, to the extent that social networking technology does alter or compete with these traditional forms of communicative activity, we must ask, is it safe to assume that these new forms, designed for sheer consumer appeal, will be as conducive to the development of those essential interpersonal virtues as the old?

References

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What are the Effects of Social Networking Websites? (2009),
http://ezinearticles.com/?What-Are-the-Effects-of-Social-Networking-Websites?&id=1030141, (Accessed 11th March 2009)

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