Salutations Populace of Dawson,
Lately, there has been a lot of negative news coverage about social networks. There is the death of Tyler Clementi, an 18 year old American whose suicide was triggered by his university roommate secretly webcasting his sexual activity. Then there were the photos of a gang rape at a Vancouver concert that went viral on Facebook. These extreme cases can be added to the numerous unreported cases of bullying that go on daily, causing distress and shame to many teenagers. Yet, no matter what negativity happens via social networks, people still keep on using them. If everyone on Facebook lived in one country, it would be the third most populous country in the world, after China and India.
Are social networks bad? There is no denying that there is a positive side to them, and can be the source of a lot of fun. But mostly, I feel that they are bad. Let’s take Facebook. For any respectable job you apply for, the company is liable to check your Facebook page to see how you portray yourself to the world. My friend, whose father is a lawyer at a big law firm, told me that her dad did not hire someone because of his Facebook pictures. Apparently, it did not matter that he graduated top of his class at McGill, or the experience he gained from his internships over the years; at least it didn’t after her dad saw him vomiting on a guitar via Facebook. For all of you social networkers, be careful what you post, because you never know who’s watching…
And it may not even have been this young lawyer’s fault. We’ve all left our Facebook open unwittingly in a public place where our “friends” can play practical jokes by adding embarrassing material. Yes, it might be funny at the time. But, have you ever had the parents of your friend email you saying to stop messing around with their child’s Facebook? Well I have, and let me tell you, the feeling is not pleasant.
One more thing, social networks are addictive. I can honestly say that my first addiction in life has been Facebook. Not drugs, not cigarettes, not alcohol. No, Facebook! My addiction is so bad that I am now at the point where I sit in front of the screen waiting for something to happen. How is that healthy in any way? It’s not.
In its defense, people say, “I’ve reconnected with friends I haven’t seen in years.” My question is, have you really? Just because you’ve added a “friend” on Facebook doesn’t mean that you have reconnected with them. It just means that there is one more address on your computer list.
The bad truly outweighs the good. The misuse of social networks caused the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a quiet and shy boy who wanted to live his life privately. Facebook was used to further humiliate a young Vancouver girl who was drugged, gang-raped, and had the video of the rape broadcast for all of her school to see. The humiliation that these people went through cannot be described. So, let’s break our addiction to social networks and try to find something more useful to do with our time, like talk to somebody. . .
Stay classy Dawson…Word to your mothers!
Samuel Lavigne Schmidt