Social networking is a poor substitute to real human interaction

Published on 2010-11-18. Modified on 2023-10-27.

Real social value is experienced when we physically get together, when we pay real attention to each other, and when we care and help each other, not when we use Facebook, X/Twitter, Slack, Discord, YouTube or something else!

Update 2020-11-08: I highly recommend you watch the documentary called The Social Dilemma.

A social networking service is an online service, platform, or website that focuses on building and reflecting social relations among people.

A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the Internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging.

The main types of social networking services are those which contain category places (such as former school-year or classmates), means to connect with friends (usually with self-description pages) and a recommendation system linked to trust. Popular methods now combine many of these, with Facebook and X/Twitter widely used worldwide. MySpace and LinkedIn being the most widely used in North America. Nexopia (mostly in Canada), Bebo, Hi5, Hyves (mostly in The Netherlands), StudiVZ (mostly in Germany), iWiW (mostly in Hungary), Tuenti (mostly in Spain), Nasza-Klasa (mostly in Poland), Decayenne, Tagged, XING, Badoo and Skyrock in parts of Europe. Orkut and Hi5 in South America, India and Central America, and Friendster, Mixi, Multiply, Orkut, Wretch, renren and Cyworld in Asia and the Pacific Islands and X/Twitter, Orkut and Facebook in India.

In essence these platforms have very little to do with actual social interaction and in many cases they actually prevent people from real social value.

You have to realize that Facebook, X/Twitter, and all the other social networks is all about making money. As per November 2010 Facebook has more than 500 million active users and an estimated income at about 800 million US dollars a year. Currently X/Twitter has more than 175 million users and an estimated income at about 150 million US dollars a year.

Social networking is not about giving you a social improvement in life or about keeping in touch with friends and family. You can keep in touch with friends and family in much more productive and rewarding ways than Facebook or X/Twitter.

What corporate owned social networks do is to make it a habit for people to use their services to such a degree that after a while you just can't let it go!

And it's even worse when it comes to businesses.

A lot of SEO people have found new ways of earning money by promoting the idea that if you own a business your company has to have a public face on all the famous social networking websites. Even a popular TV channel as Discovery no longer promotes it's own website in advertisement, but actually promotes a link to their official Facebook profile.

It all seems so damned convenient, but in reality it has nothing to do with convenience. Again it's all about making money and making you depend on their services - and in some cases it's about secret monitoring users and supplying governments and advertising companies with information.

The more you need a service, the more you depend upon it, the more the owners can make money on your needs.

As human beings we have some very specific needs when it comes to social activities and the problem is that we cannot substitute real life social interactions with social networking online!

Sure, in the beginning you might feel that a lot of people are interested in you, but you soon discover that all those interactions are very shallow and superficial and they are actually stealing away precious time needed to actually build, grow, and maintain real social value. Real social value takes time and effort in the physical world, not just clicking on like buttons and leaving small comments, smiley faces and sharing memes.

Real social value is experienced when we physically get together, when we pay real attention to each other, and when we care and help each other, not when we use Facebook, X/Twitter, Slack, Discord, YouTube or something else!

Aside from experiencing real social value, most of us would benefit a lot from helping other people in our society. Some people are homeless, some people are poor, some people are ill, and a lot of people are very lonely.

Social media cannot truly help lonely people. When you feel lonely you need to feel that someone cares enough to spend time with you or take a nice walk with you.

Social media leaves an empty impression. You cannot really read the face of the person you are dealing with. You cannot feel the warmth of his or hers smile. Looking at a picture or video of someone smiling and actually experiencing a real smile is very different indeed.

When social networking becomes a disease

A friend of mine started using Facebook and X/Twitter. After a while he had a lot of contacts and everybody seemed to want to add him to their contact list. A lot of people also followed him on X/Twitter.

What started out as a fun way of interacting with friends and family actually turned into a "hazardous disease".

Every time he did something he tweeted about it, and every time he came home he had to log-in to Facebook to check new messages and to reply and add people.

He became addicted and after a while it occupied most of his life and instead of getting out after work and actually meet people he was stranded in front of his computer or his phone without having any real social interaction what so ever.

Facebook is a cancer on the Internet

The other day I was talking with a friend who asked if I had heard the latest news about some specific event somewhere in the world. He told me what was going on and when I got home I searched the Internet for information, but I could not locate anything whatsoever.

Later when I asked him about it, said:

No, no, you can't locate this kind of news on the regular Internet, you have to have a Facebook account! We share these kinds of news internally among friends only!

Not only is this very frustrating, but this is about as bad as it can get!

The Internet is a global set of documents, images, and other resources, shared freely and openly between people using technology. Facebook is seriously limiting the usage of the Internet by creating new habits in people that prevents the free exchange of information and news.

What to do to both get and create real social value?

The answer is really simple: Delete your social networking accounts and get out of the house!

Go visit friends and family instead. Meet up with people and take a real true interest in their lives. See if you can help someone with something.

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