How has social networking changed your life?

Facebook was born six years ago. It now has more than 400 million active users, a population that would make it the third largest country on Earth. Today’s Question: How has social networking changed your life?

  • DMox

    I no longer have to worry about attending High School Reunions, as they seem to have come to me via Facebook. I recently celebrated a birthday, and found it strange to find birthday wishes from people that I haven’t so much as laid eyes on for 25 years, people that I barely remember knowing, wishing me a Happy Birthday. I mostly use it to keep in touch with my vast network of cousins, & to plan family events, but it comes in handy when looking to keep track of friends who’ve moved away, etc..

    One downside, is that I recently found that I was the topic of much discussion on a forum group that had formed between disgruntled employees at work. While I’m not tempted to join this network in the least, it makes me wonder how many of these kinds of groups exist, and if many managers know that they are likely the topic of wild and hateful conversation based on their every move. While I was a bit hurt over it at first, I now believe that it’s likely a form of therapy for these people, who use it to air their own frustrations and shortcomings at work as well.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It’s made it easier for people with crazy ideas to get together, leading to a flourishing of preposterous conspiracy theories, which has made it harder to have intelligent conversations.

  • Ruth DeVore

    After the Concepcion earthquake Facebook was the tool that our family in Chile used to check in. Everyone is safe. No property damage.

  • Angela

    Social networking has been a great tool for me to keep in touch with everyone on a casual basis. I don’t have to worry about calling them up and fishing for what’s going on in their lives. It is also easier to get ahold of someone through social networks. I use Facebook daily and in this day and age of texting and emailing, it seems easier to get a response or conversation from people. Our society is getting less and less personal with all the gadgets we use to talk with others without using our voices. A phone call is usually sent to a voicemail or unanswered, but through texting or social networks, it seems that more people respond quicker than returning a phone call.

    All in all, social networking has made it a great tool to talk to those we haven’t seen in a while, or even meeting new people from other countries. It brings the networking closer to the user. I have found family in Sweden that I now constantly talk to through Facebook. Even though the social network sites can be very addicting and time consuming, if you use it right and still stay in touch with reality, it is a great way to meet people or simply to keep in touch.

  • Philip

    At first, I was excited to reconnect with all my old high school friends and acquaintances through Facebook. However, I found myself spending too much time on it and the conversations hadn’t changed much since High School. I finally deleted about half of my “friends” and now keep it as a supplement to communication with people I have friendships with now. Maybe people my age use it to try and relive the glory days of youth, but for me the past is the past and it will stay there where it belongs.

  • Amy

    I love facebook. I use it to keep in contact with old friends and current friends. While I do feel a bit addicted, I think it has provided me and other people a great way to stay in contact with people from the past and present.

  • Kay

    My boyfriend works for an internet security company that helps to protect corporations networks from hackers. He sometimes has to call employees to see if he can get enough information from them to hack their passwords (to check how strong the security is) and once he gets their name, he facebooks them and figures out their mother’s maiden name (there is a family connection option on FB) birthday, name of pets etc. and can usually hack their accounts. There is a lot of info on facebook that you use to protect your bank account etc.

  • Kelly G

    I am a sophomore at the U of M. I found out a few days ago that one of my high school classmates committed suicide. I went to her facebook page and found that there were pages and pages of notes to her (written after her death). People recounted memories of her, told her they were sorry for their drifted friendship, consoled themselves by saying they knew she was in a better place, posted pictures of her, and said belated goodbyes. I didn’t know how to interpret it; I see how it can be a beneficial tool of mourning, but I’m also slightly disturbed by it. Her online self is continuing to live while her actual being is deceased.

  • alexander graham bell

    Social networking not only changed my life radicalyl, but my invention of the telephone changed the world forever. And in so doing made me a very wealthy man and a corporate entity.

  • Alisa Thompson

    I have this quote from Anais Nin:

    “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

    I sometimes feel nervous because I am friends with people that are very religious and also people who are somewhat hedonists. I am always a little afraid they are going to find out about each other. The pastor’s wife I’m “friends” with should never find my friend who is a fan of the page “I heart beer” or “I heart sex”.

  • Jessica Enneking

    When I get together with people I have not seen in a long time, we already know what’s going on with each other thanks to fb and so we can spend time laughing and enjoying each other’s company…as if we have seen each other every day. Ultimately, fb helps me feel closer to those I’m farther away from.

  • Zebulun

    At first thought my inclination was to say this phenomena has cheapened our abilities to fraternize with friends and families. Then I thought about how having Facebook does allow me to keep up with what is going on with my closest confidants even when I do not have time to call. Having the ability to write a little something on someone’s page letting them know you’re thinking of them is very comforting as well. If people are mindful of the information they showcase in these social networking places, they can be very positive additions to their current lives.

  • Sieglinde Gassman

    I am not an on-line social networking participant and have a question for those who are:

    How does it feel when someone “un-friends” you?

    By posting this question am I now networking “socially!”

  • Reuben Koutal

    Let me Please rephrase your Question. A more apprpriate and worldly question, in a more comprehensive way, would be: How has social networking affected physical boundaries between two regions on Earth, an event whose outome, irrespective of the level of severity you might conclude, embodies consequences which have to taken with a grain of salt, at the very least, demanding consideration of some sort. The Question, come to think of it, should switch to a ‘concern’. How concerned are you? that the wagon which is life, is more like a runaway wagon, no control, and no breaks, at times downhill, taking turns and twists, that fate and chance desires. Let’s face it. There are Standard Committees scheduled and held timely two years or at National as well as International levels, for something like labels on plastic bags for commercial products, aimed at safety of infants, which is quite legitimate, however, not less critical, is a global Standard of Use of TCP/IP Channels, put it in a very light manner. It’s a very giagantic undertaking, but highly demanding, and well overdue. You might build on that, in many many directions. I for one, have collected I guess, close to 1,000 or more, of printed pages, of Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. How could I otherwise. It’s enough I miss some point in either one, and I would do something I wouldn’t lest I was aware of, whose only way os reading that Terms of Use, which without exception, all sites admonish the user that entering past the Home Page officially endorces your approval and committment to Terms depicted on that document. I mean if one is reluctant, or feels to take it losely, and take it as something unworthy to consideration, or simply an insignifacnt remark, on the side of the webmaster, then why should be there in the first place, or at least why no body of Standard or global concern, comes up to make the job easier on the webmaster and users, to draft a few standard texts, with some identification and tag, which each web site would indicate on the opening page. That way at least, the user wouldn’t have to read again, another Terms of Use, which could be basically the same as of a site visited recently. A saving on the part of the site manager, as well as user, if any of them is concerned.

  • comments sent to MPR

    Comments texted to MPR:

    Social networking makes the world around me seem more shallow and self-centered. -Mark, Minneapolis

    It’s turned a 30 minute school assignment into a two-hour project. -Eric, Maple Grove

    I communicate more with family and friends a lot more now. It’s convenient, fast and fairly easy. -Tom, Eagan

  • Mary

    It has allowed me to stay in touch with family members that I normally wouldn’t talk to for a couple of years. Most of my nieces and nephews have moved away and this is a way to stay in the loop of their lives. It also lets me know how my son’s life is going on a daily basis. He moved to Alaska a year and a half ago and even though we email and talk on the phone, it has allowed us to be even closer. If either of us is having a bad day, we can send a mental hug to the other. This wasn’t possible before social networking.

  • Christine Greenhow

    Facebooking — or Faceworking as some call it — has changed my life and the lives of the students I study. People and information that we might not have had access to, we can now find and use. I’ve had students tell me they social networked their way to college, careers, and politics, such as using their online network to find people at colleges they were thinking of attending and working those contacts to get the kind of inside scoop that helped them make a decision about fit. That’s potentially powerful stuff! I also think that there’s something unique to the media that makes people want to put themselves out there…to engage and share more than they would face-to-face, on the phone, or in other online spaces. And of course, this is having repercussions on a massive scale. We’re seeing conversations at the highest policy levels on what the new laws and conventions should be around privacy, security, free expression, surveillance, and educating for the future. Social networking has changed us…I think we don’t yet fully know “How?”

  • Jeremy

    It got me fired. I made a simple 40 second video at work a month ago. Fast forward to last Friday and my ‘boss’ requests to be added a friend on Facebook. Then yesterday, fired. Reason? Nothing concrete, just “Non work things at work”.

  • Alexander Valoczki

    I never got to know my Dad until I graduated College. He died 3 years later. He had two other kids with a different mom. I never got to know them either, until I got on Facebook. Since then I have connected with My Sister and Brother. I doubt this would have happened in any other forum. Now my sister and I have a great relationship and she is driving out here from Detroit to visit me and for the May Day Parade this year. I can’t wait to see her. I’ve only ever seen her twice before in my life and those times were over 10 years ago when she was still a kid.

  • Newledge

    Before social networking, I didn’t have a life. Now hundreds of people know that I don’t have a life, in meticulous mind-numbing detail.

  • Abu Drammeh

    Beside the pros and cons: It helps me connect with those folks that I could not get in touch for the last 10 plus yrs. I just keep it safe, but yeah——a world without social networking—-think about it????

  • Ellen

    I don’t know that it’s changed my life, but it’s changed my mother’s. My sister recently put my mother on Facebook (and also started a blog for her). Mom doesn’t see well enough to do this herself; she’s 97 years old. Facebook and the blog have brought together various family members and friends across the country, including the oldest granddaughter who lives on the opposite side of the country and will not visit, write, or phone. It turns out that she WILL make entries in Facebook. So Facebook, which I basically dislike, has brought a scattered family together to a degree.

  • Meghan

    It seems weird now because I’m not one of those people who logs in to Facebook every day or even every week, but if it weren’t for Facebook I would have never met my husband. We first got in touch when it was only available to college students. He sent me a message when he noticed I was one of the few females in a male-dominated area of study at our school. I wasn’t actually attending the school at the time, so we wouldn’t have met in class. We met in person after messaging back and forth a few times, and from there on it was a typical relationship — we dated for a few years, were engaged for a year, and got married last summer. I often forget how huge of an impact Facebook has had on my life, in that regard, since neither of us do a whole lot of online social networking in our day-to-day lives…at least, no more than the amount of “real world” social networking.

  • Nana

    Facebook has enabled contact with family and potential relatives in Europe, South America, and Australia. My immigrant great-grandfather severed contact with his family – probably over fear of deportation that originated during WWI and the Russian Revolution.

    Were it not for Facebook, I don’t think we would have been able to “find” each other. Maybe the internet connections will lead to personal contact some day. My spouse has also made contact with potential relatives in Europe.