Social networking is addictive and self control is important to help the people involved manage their time adequately. It has become apparent that many cannot find time to meet everyone they are related to in certain ways due to busy schedules. Social networking has become very important for virtual meetings, and people find it critical to develop a kind of relationship that supports their psychological, social and economic needs. Specifically, these people are connected for particular purpose that defines their interdependency in matters of friendship or kinship (Lacy 2009). On the other hand, the freedom people have in developing an expression over certain issues defines their association with one another. For example, sexual relationship and knowledge sharing can define people’s relationship, hence advancing a kind of relationship that leads them to constant communication with each other. Because people cannot afford to dedicate all their time for one-on-one meeting, they find social networking a better substitute to advance their cause or interests.
Facilitated by edges, the networks of people can grow into wide groupings of the networks, supposedly building strong interrelations between members of the groups. Even though not every member will achieve their goals and interests, the psychological gratification will be the ultimate achievement for everyone (Hall & Rosenberg, 2009). The beginning of the process of interconnection might not seem very promising as one builds his or her groups of associates. But as time goes by, they begin to get fond of each other and get to ‘know’ each other more, hence find it easy to share more of their personal details (Hall & Rosenberg, 2009). The social networking sites and their developers have also defined ways in which they link people’s interest, by giving them the freedom to share personal things and issues of common interests. For instance, a member of facebook shares his or her personal ordeal for people in the friends list to see. As stated by Kelsey (2010), the networks of the socialization are able to support social people’s needs due to particular form of tie that exist amongst the nodes such as friendship or kinship. While this kind of relationship is good, it can lead to wastage of time and makes the people involved forget other life demands.
An article was recently published by CNN online health column that highlighted signs that one is addicted to facebook. The author Elizabeth Cohen highlighted a case in which mother of a year-old girl admitted that she was addicted to an extent that she could not help her daughter with school assignments in anyway. In his analysis, Powell (n.d) stated that the person involved with a social networking site for more hours will find it difficult to reduce these number of hours but easy to increase them. In other words, the hours required to attain self gratification increases as one continuously increases his or her usage (Rutledge, 2008). The budding addict tries to cut down, but cannot, and soon his or her normal aspect of life begins to suffer. Crumlish & Malone (2009) state that at this level the performance at work and school begins to suffer immeasurably. The real relationships with people begin to suffer because the networking individuals focus more on virtual relationships rather than the physical attachment. Even though these people are aware of the changes in their lives and its negative aspect, they continue to engage in social networking activities.
While individuals involved in the process of networking are wasting most of their precious time in engaging in an online activity, the owners of social networking sites are raking billions of dollars through online activities from the members of the sites (Dunay &Krueger, 2009). In essence, these people gain more wealth from activities of other people, who spend time canvassing, exchanging ideas and having fun. All these happen at the expense of the individual networkers’ time. In essence, the grouping of individuals who socialize and live together as an entity gives them the freedom every human needs. Christakis (2009) observes that while social networking sites are not bad in entirety, the users tend to develop addictions, making their developers richer and themselves poorer.
The idea of having many people in the list of contact is normally for certain reasons. The networkers tend to share certain common factors that support their self worth as a group (Crumlish & Malone, 2009). Beyond business benefits that may arise for the social network members, some people have more reasons to amass huge lists of contacts through a social networking site (Qualman, n.d). To some individuals adding more contacts everyday becomes a game and addictive in itself, while for others it is away of building their self-worth. The networkers may be attempting to equate their self-worth and professional connections with the number of contact they have. However, the more contacts one has, the more number of hours one will have to attend to each member in the list.
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But social and psychological experts believe that the belief that one with high number of people connected with his or her social networking friends is more superior can be highly illusionary. Qualman (n.d) suggest that unless one defines his or her social networking goals, they may not derive any benefit out of its usage. Instead, it may lead to an imaginary benefit associated with pride and self gratification that you have many online friends than anyone else in your contact list.
It has also emerged that having too many contacts in a social networking site as a professional strategy can backfire if not well managed. For example, someone with a political interest may end up with a list of friends who are not from his or her constituency, thus giving out a false impression of popularity (Rutledge, 2008). A professional consultant will need to have limited number of contacts defined by his or her goals. The blunder will be if the person indiscriminately engages people- he may end up with a list of unnecessary contacts. In this case, a selective tactic will work best in the process of contacts selection.
One school of thought suggests that addiction can only be controlled if one defines his or her needs from a networking site. In other words, a social networking site will be more beneficial if self-psychological gratification is delineated from the rest other important needs. That is, one should be able to define the purpose for networking and separate it from the rest of other undefined needs. The tactic is defined as “less is more”, where only people with whom you have professional relationships are added in the list of contacts. For example, one who has 200 people in his list of contact is likely to have serious and needed relationship in his life than one who has 5,000 contacts members as friends. The latter may be people whom you don’t have any common interest apart from adding numbers and filling the virtual ‘friendship space’. In order to effectively implement this approach, one should start with associates and then later get more strategic. Base on your goal, you should be able to define the type of people you want to connect with. By this approach, time for chitchat will be reduced as everyone on your list has limited time to canvass and make unnecessary communications. The overall results will be that addiction can be managed and the ‘fun’ people derive from networking is balanced with work.