The Terror and Wonder of Social Networks

With just about every controversial issue––from drinking java black or creamed to the US military presence in the Middle East––there are outspoken conservatives and liberals voicing their minds. Social networks like MySpace, Facebook and the new Google+ receive so much of the same treatment as other contentious matters that you’d think politicians might formally state their positions on these cyberspace communities. The factions argue as follows.

Conservatives: “Seriously, anyone with or wanting a life should not have a Facebook. Why do you need 1,000 friends? No one has that many friends. Additionally, web services like Facebook, even if you have few added friends, replace real socializing. It’s a terror.”

Liberals: “Seriously, anyone with or wanting a life should indeed have a Facebook. Why do you need a 1,000 friends? Because every one has that many friends, co-workers, acquaintances at some point in their experience. Additionally, web services like Facebook, even with few friends, will fill you in on the next socializing opportunity, whether it’s your best friend’s birthday, an office party, your grandma’s knitting class or the high school reunion you worried about being invited to. It’s a wonder.”

As for my formal position on virtual mingling, I like to consider myself an independent, sort of like Jack Bauer from 24 when protecting both liberal and conservative civil servants. I may not have as much vigor as the government agent, but just as he lets security do its job, I try to fairly let Facebook fulfill its purpose: effectively bringing about real socializing, as well as keeping me connected to distant friends and relatives. In friend-adding, I’ll admit, I lean liberal, since today I have 1,098; I accept friend requests from anyone who isn’t a spammer simply because I like lots of feedback to my posts. But in event-snooping, I lean conservative; no one desires unwanted guests to arrive at their function!

For several years, there has been a dividing line among people all over the world because of their worldview on social sites. Brother betrays brother by deleting his account. Sister gossips about mother-n-law on father’s fan page. This division must be stopped. Let the independents, in favor of usage moderation, rise up and be the bridge from one disagreeing group to the other, dissipating the hate that separates. Until then, let us endure, messaging, posting, viewing and commenting on one another’s lives.

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