The amount of people using New Communication Technology as a means to network with friends and family is rapidly increasing. The term New Communication Technology incorporates a vast array of different and constantly evolving devices (including the phone, television, smart phone, world wide web etc) that allow us to contact loved ones across the globe simply by clicking a couple of buttons. Long gone are the days where one would have to wait for their PC to dial up to the web or have to wait until you were home if you wanted to call someone (assuming that no one else in the house wanted to use the phone too).
Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that social networking was one of the most popular activities that people with access to internet enjoyed. Furthermore, a staggering 92% of people aged 18-24 preferred social networking over any other internet-based activity. Personally, I too regularly use the internet for social networking. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Skype allow me to send a quick message, whenever I like, to family and friends overseas. These sites help decrease the distance between us. While we may not message everyday, we can still see what is going on in their day to day lives on our newsfeed. Social networking also provides us with the opportunity to meet people from other countries without having to be there in person. While some people frown upon this and focus on the dangers of these interactions, I believe it is a great way to become more culturally aware (if used safely and carefully). It allows those who might not have the opportunity to travel overseas, to learn more about other countries and their residents. While the experience is obviously not as surreal as being there face-to-face, it is still an incredible feeling to know that you are talking to someone thousands of miles away from you.
However, some people feel that social networking leads to people “over-sharing” or in some cases, they feel like they have little privacy online. With sites like Facebook and Google being criticized of allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) direct access into their systems, it is understandable why people may feel like they are being spied on. However each company has explicitly stated that the privacy of their users is a top priority. I believe that it comes down to a personal choice. Social networking sites are free to use for the general public and it is up to you how much you want to post or whether or not you want to use it. If people take the time to consider what they are posting online and remember that it can be accessed by a large number of people, maybe others would begin to trust the internet more.
NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others 2013, The Guardian, viewed 06 August 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data>
Patterns of Home Internet Use 2014, Australian Bureau of Statistics, viewed 06 August 2014, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/8A12E6E0D07D36A0CA257C89000E3FB7>