Human beings interact with one another in their daily living. Through these interactions, they form social networks, which in turn impact directly on the individual. One factor that has been affected by social networking is culture. The exchange of ideas and concepts among people from different cultural backgrounds influences the way people think or perceive issues (Shu-Chuan& Marina, p. 272). Therefore, one can argue that individuals can be changed through interaction.
Impact of Social Networking on Culture
Everyone belongs to a certain culture. When such an individual is exposed to or interacts with people from a different cultural background, there is a high likelihood that his or her culture will be affected. Today, cultural exchange is rampant through many different platforms. The advent of technology has made interactions even easier through social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. From any part of the world, one can at the touch of a button learn of what is happening in far off places without necessarily being there physically. Today, “becoming American” would not necessarily require the acquisition of citizenship or relocating to the country. One can learn culture, fashion, foods and social beliefs of the Americans while still miles away and opt to adopt these trends.
Through social networking, one gets to learn, discuss and share information with many other people. This greatly helps in individual development as one is exposed to new ideas and concepts (Harell, p. 729). The advantage of social networking is that an individual determines by themselves with whom to interact. The interaction can thus be said to be of vital influence in an individual’s lifestyle. The friendships created through networking usually have a long lasting impact. In some instances, they have benefited individuals in creating links for employment or marriage. The virtual community created through networking also gives people identity. This is because in one way or another, individuals now belong to a certain group (Pappin, p. 44). The traditional, cultural orientation of an individual is easily modified through interactions with other people. In this case, one adopts new, modern cultures in an effort to remain relevant in quickly changing social and cultural environments.
Social networking has its downside as in some cases; an individual may be influenced to engage into new cultural practices that do not coincide with what is morally acceptable. This is more common especially with the use of social networking sites that allow for exchange of diverse forms of cultures. Virtual social networking platforms, such as online services, pose a danger to a person’s wellbeing. This is because through these platforms, critical personal information may be captured by ill-intended individuals, and used to cause harm to the victims. Cases of criminals impersonating other people to commit crimes have been reported in different parts of the world; a product of social networking (Perkins, p. 44).
As such, dilemma continues to persist among stakeholders concerning the pros and cons of social networking. With its importance continuing to be evident in the modern society today, experts continue to warn that borderless networking could have a detrimental impact. The influence of social networks on conventional cultural beliefs is a real concern as individuals could end up adopting or creating new cultures that may negatively affect them (Clafferty, p. 246). The problem with social networking especially with the use of online platforms is the inability to put a clear boundary between what is private and public. When an individual enters a social network, he/she is exposed to other persons and as such his/her privacy is prone to invasion. Therefore, dilemma continues to persist as to whether, individuals can stay without social networks. In a world where globalization is rapidly sweeping, it would seem impossible for an individual to lead a lonely life inorder to protect their privacy. A probable solution would entail formulating legislation to govern how people interact in society. This would ensure that social networking is only used for beneficial purposesonly(Powers, pg.14)
With social networking reaching global levels in the rapid movement towards globalization, individuals are being reorganized to conform to the new emerging cultures. These new cultures could have both positive and negative effects on concerned individuals. In this era and age, it is almost impossible to lead life without interacting with many other different people. Therefore, individuals must learn to choose whom to interact with carefully to avoid adopting cultures that could cause harm to their own wellbeing. It would also be important that society and governments ensure that rules and regulations are put in place to govern social networking. This will ensure that the stability of the societal threads is not broken.
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