By Fatimah Az Zahra, 41910764
The rapid change of technology grown over a past decade more or less has shifted the way how human interacts. One of the technologies is the Web 2.0 which has evidence in a history of World Wide Web where the use of the Internet put more focus on the interaction of the user. Inevitably, for the last several years, as one of the effects from that, the number of users of the social networking website has risen considerably as stated in article entitled Social Networking Sites Show Worldwide Growth (author: K. C. Jones, 2008) , “The number of new social networking site users has grown by 25% in the last year”.
In order to write this reflection, I have observed some of the social networking site which might support these following paragraphs. The first one is Facebook, a huge social networking site which allows the users to join networks, share what’s on their mind, share multimedia files, create groups, and also send messages. Another one is Blogger, one of the largest online blogging tools owned by Google. It permits users to write their opinions or share their knowledge and then their writing will be published in their personal pages.
My focus is on showing that the negative influence of social networking sites as the effect of the growth of technology is not that horrible, based from my experience and a bit of observation using them. Because I believe there are a lot of good things by using social software and I think sometimes people over critic the use of social networking sites without comparing it with good things existed.
What attracts me is that the number of Internet users in developed country is merely unbelievable. Based on the Internet World Stats , the estimated Internet users are approximately 1.600.000.000 for 31 March and those are most occupied by Asia region. According to the article titled ‘The Dea[r]th of Human Understanding (author: Neville Holmes, University of Tasmania, 2008)  ,
“China now has more Internet users than the US and Internet use is growing rapidly in many developing countries. At this stage, much Internet usage in poorer parts of the world occurs via mobile phones, often at the level of text messages. This can be beneficial to Third World people who can access such services. Indeed, the development of cheap but powerful mobile phones will mean that within a few years the majority of personal Internet and Web traffic will flow through such devices. However, the significant danger is that once the Internet and Web become so much more widely used through cheap mobile devices, the many more people using them, particularly the young, could become less understanding. In less-developed communities, where personal relationships are more crucial to daily life, lessened understanding could be disproportionately harmful.”
China now surpasses U.S. in number of internet use and that occurs mostly through mobile phone since there are a lot of mobile phone providers give services that easily permit us access the Internet. Also, the appearance of the affordable-priced mobile phones but are compatible with that services make the traffic of Internet use in poor area of the world keep raising.
Seeing evidence above, the possibilities for computer scientists to develop that kind of technology or such are widely opened. And also, more scientists dig it deeper as the worldwide market is quite promising. For instances, nowadays we often find mobile phones provide a Wi-Fi service that allows users to access Internet anytime from their mobile phone. Additionally, more and more people use their CDMA phone as a modem for browsing Internet.
Inevitably, the rise of number of Internet users causes the number of users social networking sites booms. This is a phenomenon. However, besides the gutsy computer technology I have mentioned, there are also disadvantages of widespread of the social networking services as there are more and more people criticize the use of social software and such. One of disadvantages is a behavioral degrading and its relation to antisocial behavior as an influence from additivity which stated by the author in that article,
“As a consequence, face-to-face social interaction, when it occurs, tends to be competitive rather than cooperative, based on satisfying individual needs regardless of its effect on other people. Other people are seen as threats and constraints rather than as potential friends.”
Let’s take a look. Mostly, what they want to stress is the implication of the interaction between humans which has already replaced by the online social networking so there are deviation of the behavior which can cause social disintegration. But is that the case? Then we start minimizing the use of the social networking sites? I don’t think so.
To be honest, I am not such a person who is addicted to Facebook like young people elsewhere. I am not quite enjoying to accept hundreds invitations, reading a lot of junk mails, or actively commenting in friend’s photos just because it can somehow expose myself since there is a notification feature provided by Facebook can be seen in the homepage of our friends. And, yes, it makes Facebook really good in terms of awareness. With that, users will know what happened to their wall, groups, photos, friends, etc. It also supports the users’ conversation through the wall --which allows allow user not only sending a text but also a gift—super wall, or even instant messaging.
Anyway, I have an experience using one of the features called notes in Facebook. At that time, I had to invite friends (wait, the words invite and friends don’t refer to Facebook term) formally in some events which enforced me to let them know about the details of the event. As usual, I put an invitation in our mailing list and waited the response to that invitation, whether they could or couldn’t be there. Surprisingly, an unusual thing happened, there were no comments after 24 hours waiting. This thing had prompted me to do something different; wrote note in Facebook and tagged them one by one. And it worked! Just after tagging them, most of them replied the notes and the communication happened. What a different!
Another case was still continuing the invitation part which was uploading photos. It was a quite new thing to upload our pictures in the Facebook since my friends and I have already had storage for our pictures which is in our mailing list. As my friend request, I uploaded the photo to that storage and after waiting a couple of day there were no comments on it. Everybody kept silent to that photo, unlike usual, but that was not that surprising as I’ve experienced in inviting them. What I did is exactly the same and the response was also the same. Wow.
Those two things were just examples I want to show you and there are so many good things starts from Facebook.
What I learned from that experience is, this is the time we can’t hide from the gutsy of the technology. It will adjust us and we will also adjust it. Such as Facebook which I think a very superb one as it can do what other social software do, such as, posting the status, creating groups, sharing multimedia files, tagging, and so on. Most of social networking site are intentionally aimed to support certain group in the society so that they can interact comprehensively. The point is, if we already have a community that uses certain social software, it can integrate by itself. And that’s how we live in this era
Blogger is one of the largest online blogging tools, owned by Google. It is free and quite easy to use since it provides some templates that can be used by the beginner users. It permits users to write any topics they like with any ways they want in their personal pages. It also allows other people to put comment in their post since it support the conversation a la blogger.
This blogging idea is raised for some reasons. The first reason is a media for those who love writing. The second reason is some groups of people believe that blog can enhance their life because they not only can share their opinion but also their knowledge which can be useful by others. The third reason is some groups of people, especially the youth, who loves their personal story to be publicized and being read by other people finally find a quite simple media which can do what they want. Another one is blogging is one media for campaigning, or, perhaps, for gaining money as the use of internet has shifted and reached business area.
So, what the negative side of blogging?
When I used Blogger for the very first time, I found it easy to use as it provides some templates which can be easily chosen and directly seen in our pages. With just clicking a wanted template, I have already made my pages look more beautiful and attractive. Blogger also keep the navigation of the blog easy since it has a dashboard containing buttons to manage the blog including create a new post.
As I said above, Blogger also supports comments related to the post which can be managed by the users from the Settings. Unlike blogging tool provided by multiply where only a registered user can give comment to a blog posting, Blogger allows non-Blogger users, people with open-ID, or even anonymous to give comments for certain post. From my experience, I found it quite interesting since I can prevent my blog from unwanted comments addressed to my writing just with a couple simple steps. You will find it more interesting since Blogger also maintain the privacy issue of the writer such as creating comment moderation.
The enjoyable of using blogger suddenly disappeared when my blog was hacked, in other words, my Google account was also stolen. The content of the blog was changed to something irrelevant and tend to humiliate me while I couldn’t access my account and there is no one to ask for help. She or he also changed the registered email address in it which made me didn’t know what to do. This happened for about couple of days until I finally found the form provided by Google which can help me tackle this problem. And yes, it took about ages to find appropriate form.
I realize that this was one of the bad effects of cyber world that might be harmful anytime, anywhere. And as a blogger who already had a community, I can understand how the other bloggers changed their attitude to me. But, there was a time when all the situations came back as usual. Where I am not afraid being a blogger anymore.
Having that experience, I didn’t directly conclude that I didn’t want to use that kind of technology anymore. The most important thing is how we learn from the past. I am still a blogger who has community that communicate each other with responding not only the content of the writing but also the appearance of the page such as widgets and plug-in in it. However, I still consider Blogger as one of a learning media since I found so many tutorials, or even lecture materials.
ConclusionFrom those paragraphs above, I can conclude several things. The first one is, we have to realize that we are not living in the past, meaning that the technology has grown so fast and we have to face it. One of the evidence is the growth Web 2.0 which more or less shifts how the people communicate through internet. The second one is, while a group of people may keep talking about the drawback of Internet use, I still believe that the social networking sites have more positive influence on social life since it can support the needs of the group existed in society since we are all social creature. And Yes, I will still using social sites because actually, the drawback of technology can be managed by us.