http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/business/path-familyleaf-and-pair-small-by-design-social-networks.html?ref=technology

We are a privileged society with luxuries that benefit us to the fullest extent. One of our greatest luxuries is the world wide web. The internet, for those of us with full and constant access to it, has mainly served as a resource for research and a means to stay connected with friends, family members, peers, and more often then not, with strangers. Facebook and other social networking sites are tools used to maintain and sometime rekindle relationships via photo, information, and personal status sharing. People who have used Facebook for an extended period of time feel comfortable sharing intimate and private things on Facebook because they are under the impression that the only people who can see their information are friends and family that they have granted access to their profiles. However, because we tend to lose a sense of exclusion when it comes  to who we friend on these sites, people that we dont even really know well have access to our information.

According to an article in the New York Times, many new social networking sits are taking it upon themselves to restrict the number of friends or family members each person is allowed to contact. “Because one’s social network often consists not only of actual friends but also relatives and sort-of friends, along with sort-of friends of their sort-of friends, you need to be careful about what you post[…] All of this has created an opportunity for start-ups to offer sharing that is intimate by design.Newer social networks, like Path, FamilyLeaf and Pair, offer a range of constraints. A Path network, available only on smartphones, has a maximum of 150 friends. FamilyLeaf is restricted to family members. And Pair, which like Path is for smartphones only, is as small as a social network can be: just one other person.”

Should these new social networking sites have the right to limit who we can friend? will this be an attractive feature or will this deter certain people from using the sites?

Social networking is great in my opinion. I have been a faithful and in some cases guilty participant in almost every popular social networking site in the past 10 years. My journey of the digital social scene began with, “The Loop,” a popular telephone line that allowed you to converse and message strangers (in my pre-adolescent mind, there was no harm in participating in The Loop because no one could see my face or have access to any of my personal information). As time progressed, so did my presence on social networking. I venture on to MySpace.com and Facebook . As many young teens may have also experienced, MySpace and Facebook were escapes from the real world into the realm of digital freedom. I can recall uploading pictures, cursing, and adopting an internet persona separate from the person I really was, which made me wonder, “Does the internet allow us to o create and become a whole new person? Never the less, I was very active on MySpace and Facebook with very little concern about safety. Again, my young mind rationalized my now more intimate presence online with, “Well its okay for me to upload my pictures and act crazy on these sites because only my friends can see it” But, I ended up “friending” my friends, and maybe their friends I may have met, and some people I took a class with one semester, and so on and so forth. Soon my pictures and information was accessible to a bunch of people that I didn’t know. Why are we willing to strangers, or people we wouldn’t normally tell or business, access to our lives, to any extent?

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