Social Question

EdMayhew's avatar

Has social networking negatively affected the way young people form communicative bonds?

Asked by EdMayhew (1404points) December 18th, 2009

I’d love to hear your views on the subject of the effects of social networking in youth culture i.e. Facebook, Twitter and, dare I say it, Fluther on the main points of consideration, for example is it productive in diversifying opinions and exposure to cultures not locally available, or is it detrimental to the development of communicative ability and removing the human aspect from the way we form relationships?

I may be preaching to the converted on this one as I am asking the question on what is essentially a social networking site but it would be great to get some input from both sides of the argument!

And by the way grumpyfish, I know you’re trying to be helpful but nobody’s going to ask if The Jonas Brothers are lame. We ALL know the answer to that one already.


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32 Answers

Poser's avatar

omg no way lol ttyl!!!

Ivy's avatar

It’s interesting that your question is followed on the main page with this one: “Why the smart-ass answers?” Yes, I definitely believe that civil discourse and thoughtful deliberation are becoming a thing of the past, along with grammar, spelling, and content.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t know. Give it a few years and if by then everyone has lost all communicative abilities, then we’ll know it was a bad thing. If not, then it was fine.

I personally feel I have only benefited from social networking. I am a social person in general and for me, the internet does not replace actual socializing. It simply adds on to it.

Freedom_Issues's avatar

Maybe. But it has helped some people. Some people are more comfortable typing, or writing letters. I’m not the best at speaking in person, but can make more thoughtful conversation on the internet. I guess it can go both ways.

EdMayhew's avatar

I myself am all for it, I have discovered an abundance of wonderful like minded people, with much less thought given to things like personal appearance or their position in the community, that i would have never met but for the internet. It gives me views not just into other cultures but into the people behind these cultures as well, and until I lose the power of speech I will be able to hold a face to face conversation with no difficulty.


“I am a social person in general and for me, the internet does not replace actual socializing. It simply adds on to it.”

Got it in one.

thriftymaid's avatar

Yes. Even employers can see it. Young people do so much communication through email, texting, and social sites, they have forgotten, or never learned good verbal communication skills.When you do everything in writing your brain can be lazy because you can take as long as you want to respond—no pressure. Responses must be quick, grammatically correct, and coherent when speaking verbally with someone. I don’t think kids need phones. Some parents in my area are so concerned that they have taken texting off of the kids’ cell phones to eliminate the texting.

EdMayhew's avatar


Maybe not having to give an immediate answer allows these young people the time to consider their words, giving them a greater appreciation for stepping back and assessing the situation rather than rushing in with a speak first, think later attitude?

rooeytoo's avatar

It can go either way, I am sure for some it hinders, for others it enhances.

thriftymaid's avatar

@edmayhew. You have to be able to think fast and speak if you are going to be effective in a conversation, especially a debate. Writing skills are important too, but that’s not what the kids are getting from texting, emailing, and using social sites. They don’t even use recognizable English. Going into the job market, other than fast food or Walmart, is extremely difficult for a HS graduate who cannot speak or write somewhat effectively. And, for those going to college, expect to repeat English 101 and 102. Colleges are seeing the problems as well as employers. Some professors, for the first time, have started reducing exam scores in subjects other than English for English goofs. I have done it myself.

EdMayhew's avatar

Isn’t sweeping ‘kids’ into a wide eyed, gormless, zombie eyed pigeon hole a little unfair? The web is full of user based content, largely young people exploiting an exciting new medium through which they can explore their own creativity in ways previously unavailable. These ‘kids’ are pushing forward the boundaries of young ideas, and breaking preconceptions and limits. At the very least social networking forces human interaction, whereas the glued to the tv screen/games console of the 80s and 90s demographic are surely far more damaged?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

This is a subject that I’ve thought about for awhile, as social media trends was part of my job. I believe there is an element of social media as a broader bucket that has evolved out of latchkey kids in the 80’s with computer access redefining community and socialization from the safety of their own locked homes, while their parents were at work. It’s a wonderful thing in some ways, because the Internet can bring both the good and the bad into your home, and provide human connectivity that may not be available in RL. I had a lot of global pen pals as a teen and young adult, and I don’t really see Fluther much different from those exchanges, except 1) they are immediately read, no waiting for the mail to arrive and 2) instead of messaging one person, your communications and thoughts are read by many, with the possibility of forging new relationships.

I find the most damage to communications to come from texting. I see texting as replacing conversations. People will text things that are too stupid to utter in a phone conversation. It becomes addictive, and I’m seeing among the younger people a reduction in the ability to verbally communicate. They cannot articulate a cogent thought. Additionally, the written texting shorthand is its own form of language development, like ebonics, and because of the addictive nature of texting undermines the ability for many to transition between educated written communication and texting shorthand. Additionally, the dangers from texting while driving far exceeds drunk driving.

I’m still out on Twitter; I think it has excellent potential from a business perspective, because it enables grassroots product research and feedback. As a communication tool, like the status line on FB, it’s a way to express emotions, idle mental meanderings, quick updates. It’s a great en masse organizational tool.

EdMayhew's avatar

@PandoraBoxx great answer, but straying off text with the mobile phones (sorry for the horrible pun, had to be done). I am also yet undecided about twitter, not sure if that’s more about you than about others, possibly a touch too narcissistic for me.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think texting is in fact a form of social media. Although most people use it for one-to-one communications, it does have the ability to set up lists and text to lists, rather than one-on-one communications. Additionally, the use of texting as an advertising platform speaks to cookie-ing (is that a word) and profiling for targeting. Additionally, with the advent of G3 technology, it’s projected that internet access via mobile will outpace traditional access by 2012.

I see the following correlation to traditional communication methods:
e-mail = write a letter
social media sites = real time bulletin board communication
texting = passing notes
twitter = walking around talking to yourself

We’re not done yet. How all of this gets bundled together into a comprehensive communication practice has yet to really hit. We’re still working with the bits and pieces. There are glimpses of what to come on sites that offer to mine your e-mail address book and send invitations to join a social network site. Extension into phone directories is probably not too far behind.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

None of this technology existed until I was in my 30’s and I didn’t begin using it until my late 40’s, I know that the young generation can’t function without it. At first I thought that I had found a way to bypass my autism and have social contacts. But now I realize that was only an illusion, this is no different than a schoolyard of 40 years ago.

EdMayhew's avatar


There is no doubt that the way we communicate is changing, however what i’m after is a clear cut argument to say whether that’s a good or bad thing. The way people interact is in constant flux, always has been since the day we stopped grunting and pointing. Languages change. English as we speak it now is a bastardised version of a bastardised version that has undergone many stages of pupal existence before now, and who’s to say that this is the final draft? Surely if the way we communicate becomes quicker, less wordy and more concise this is language simply evolving in ways beyond the traditional pen and word – I am now able to directly speak someone an image, from across the globe. Is this leading to inability to communicate ‘properly’, or merely gradually discarding the clumsy, unnecessary baggage of a language we no longer require?


If you knew of any schoolyards in the late sixties that had a global capacity of people from 1 to 100 spanning every different creed, colour and class then please describe it to me, it sounds like the stuff of fairytale.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@EdMayhew It’s not the size, but the attitudes and behavior are unchanged.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I don’t know…

…but it seems to me a lot of young people speak very very quickly.

CMaz's avatar

We are becoming dependent on technology to communicate. Soon it will be to procreate. It is man Vs. Machine.

I see it, every time someone “young” comes in looking for a job. It is a strange sort of antisocial behavior. And, it is not everyone but I do see a trend.
Do not let that scare you. I see it in the “adults” too that have become acclimated and indoctrinated to the internet.

There was a time, and most of our time on this earth, we communicated face to face. Those days, a hand shake meant something.
You said what you meant, you meant what you said. You set an example with your actions, and actions spoke louder then words.
You know.. Take a shit or get off the shitter.

Today, we are all becoming a bunch of tweets. Hit and run.
Self image and presentation was paramount.
Now it is subjective.

Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is gray and yellow white, But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?

- Moody Blues

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@ChazMaz, I know exactly what you mean by “the strange sort of antisocial behavior.” I think that’s always been there to some extent, but is more noticeable now that we’re on the other side of the desk. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but is a form of self-imposed isolationism. I spend a lot of time talking to younger people, and I think sometimes it comes from not having a good sherpa in the transition to adulthood in the form of solid interactions with older people. There’s a lot of competitiveness, with little support or direction on what to if you’re not at the top. I often wonder if that’s part of the psychological allure of video games; it puts you in a competitive environment where the success model is self-driven.

@EdMayhew, how did you learn to repair and build violins?

DominicX's avatar

I’m still curious as to how this all applies to me and my extroverted friends who don’t even play video games, prefer video chat to plain IM, and party whenever possible. It’s not possible to get away with not communicating face to face if you’re one of us. This isn’t a small group either, I know many people like this. I’m beginning to think that we’re too old; I think we missed it a bit, despite the fact that we text just as much as anyone else. Additionally, people like me and my boyfriend and my best friend all have phones with keyboards and we prefer to write as coherently and grammatically correct as possible without wasting too much time. Also, if we could get every kid to come on sites like this since they were 15 (like I did), they would have the experience talking to all different kinds of people from all different areas and ages.

EdMayhew's avatar


Picked it up along the way I guess :)

That and many years of experience!


Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth fro diction. I believe if you want to point out any one negative thing other than what @thriftymaid said was that relying heavy on social networking hobbles the kid from learning to speak in front of people or groups larger than 2. Depending on where they plan to go in their future they may have to be able to stand before a goupe of people they are working an assigment with or pitching a proposal to and they have to not be shy or timid on top of being able to think on their feet. Not every comment or question will be by the script, they will need to be able to deal with it on the fly. It is a whole lot different than speaking to a Web cam or texting and blogging.

CMaz's avatar

“they will need to be able to deal with it on the fly”

A skill that can not be mastered on a social network.

jmmf's avatar

i think there are pros and cons to this but really, i’d much prefer for a guy to call me on the phone than to write on my wall.

chubbychu's avatar

this thread has inspired me to delete facebook as a sort of experimental procedure.

CMaz's avatar

Yes! @chubbychu GA. :-)

Facebook sucks and is retarded.

No disrespect to to the mentally handicapped.

Deadeyes98's avatar

I think social networking is an excellent thing, its a thing of the future. We have to keep moving with the times. I am 17 and yes, I like the internet and I like social networking and texting. But I also like to get out and hang around with my friends and go to parties and play sports. Social networking is not a bad thing. @ChazMaz…if you dont like social networking or blogging…then why are you on this site?

CMaz's avatar

“if you don’t like social networking or blogging…then why are you on this site?”
“This site” is like hanging out with your friends on a Saturday night.

Social networking is fine, within limits.
Facebook is a cult, a drug for a needy and insecure society. It’s like trying to get attention at a Tony Robbins seminar.

Deadeyes98's avatar

lol, I respect your opinion. But I think facebook will do alot of wonderous things for us in the future.

CMaz's avatar

I totally agree.

We need to sell more couches and chairs.

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