My Favourite Social Media Site

Hello, and welcome to my very first post on my wordpress site. We have been asked by our teacher to discuss what our favourite social media site is and why.

My favourite site (so far) is facebook. Yes, I know I lump myself in with the masses on this one, but facebook has wormed its way into my heart and my daily routine.  It has allowed me to connect with a wide array of people.  A number of those are individuals that I see and talk to on a regular basis in the real world, but there are even more people whom I would not have the opportunity to interact with regularly.  They are friends and acquaintances from other stages and locales in my life; classmates from other institutions, friends who have moved away, co-workers from previous jobs, etc.  Were it not for facebook (or other types of social media) these relationships would by and large be lost.  It would be great when I happened to run into those people, but that would happen very rarely if at all.  With facebook I have the ability to maintain contact with those people through messages, comments, status updates and the like.   Ultimatley, I don’t believe there is any substitute for live encounters.  I can read someone’s face or pick up on vibes in their tone when I encounter them in a way that just isn’t possible when limited to text.  However, if  it comes down to either having virtual interactions or none at all,   I’ll take the virtual ones any day.

Ofcourse, my affection for facebook and its ever-growing popularity might make one wonder why has it grown so fast?  What need does it (and social media in general) fill?  What role does it play that its integration into our lives has seemed so natural?

To understand this, let’s take a detour and visit our cousins, the chimpanzees.  These wonderful individuals spend a consistent portion of each day grooming each other.  They pick the ticks, leaves, burs and the like from each other’s fur.  This process hast two important elements to it.  First of all, clean fur is healthy fur.  So, if they want to be healthy, they have to get the crud out.  As you can probably imagine though, it is very hard to groom yourself front to back.  And if you can only groom your front side, then the job is only getting half done.  This is where the second element comes in: cooperation!  Many creatures have figured out that sometimes two heads, or in this case, sets of hands, are better than one.  The Great Apes have certainly come to this conclusion, and humans have taken it to the extreme.  So when the going gets tough, the tough work together!  It is impossible for a single chimp to groom himself perfectly, but an accord is reached wherein two or more chimps basically say that  “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”!  This eases tensions in the group and is the basis of bonding amongst individuals.  The relationships formed by this means benefit the chimps by promoting cooperation in other aspects of their lives, including protection from dangers, sharing of food and selection of mates.

As humans, we don’t tend to spend a lot of time grooming our friends.  (Well, some of us may, and I’m not here to judge them.)  But there is an activity that chimps don’t do that occurs in the about the same proportion in our daily lives… chit chat!  We have switched one activity out for the other, but they play the same role in that they strengthen interpersonal relationships and improve group cohesiveness.  At first we were limited to talking with the people of our family group, but technologies such as the telegraph and the telephone have allowed us to stretch this further.  Social media is just an extension of this behaviour designed to perform the same function at the level of the world wide web.  In essence it has allowed us to extend the reach of our relationships beyond the end of our arms to the ends of the Earth.

Advertisements

1 Comment

  1. Well said, Ian. Despite my post on my personal blog which goes against the grain and names LinkedIN the best social networking site, Facebook does certainly have a lot to offer. I had an account for a long time and definitely loved certain aspects about it…

    But at this point in my life when finding work / a career is so important, I’m just not willing to take the chance that a potential employer sees something they don’t like when they throw my name into a search bar and decides not to hire me. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be on my profile since it’s wide-spread interconnectivity that makes Facebook what it is.

    Some would argue that if you’re concerned about employers knowing too much about your personal life, it’s as easy as un-tagging some inappropriate photos and deleting the sketchier ‘friends’ you’ve made along the way but this only helps so much.

    Anyways, this wasn’t supposed to be a rant so I’m done. Again, nice work and keep on keepin’ on.

    P.S. Did you notice the little chimp picking crud out of the big chimp’s foot hair the whole time the big chimp was licking the little chimp’s back hair? Thank God for Evolution, haha


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s