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Thread: Are online communities such as Facebook replacing real communities?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Are online communities such as Facebook replacing real communities?

    Without question, one of the biggest things that planners agree on is the importance of social interaction to establish a stable community. But with the recent popularity of online social communities such as facebook, linked-in, and twitter, has our in-person social interaction suffered? Last week I saw a car commercial where a girl who was sitting at home, was commented how her parents are anti-social because they only had 19 “Friends” on facebook while she had 300. The then went to a video of her parents out mountain biking with their friends, while she was at a laptop commenting on a picture that a “friend” of hers posted. In essence, her parents were out living life on person where she had the risk of being “unfriended”. I remember when I was the age of the girl, I was out with my friends doing something. It was likely out doing something active.

    I got chatting with a friend who was telling me about his son who is having troubles making friends but spends all of his time online. He joked that his son has 1200 facebook friends, but not one was able to hang out on a Friday night. It got me thinking more about the progression of technology over the years and how it has influenced relationships. Before telephones where popular, people would use social events to satisfy a need. This allowed the establishment of several close friends. Kids would walk down the street to see if their friends could come out and play. People got to know people and it created small tight knit communities within neighborhoods. Telephones started to change that. Kids would call friends and spend hours on the phone instead of in person. We would order stuff in a catalog on the phone. Then text messaging came up and now we have Facebook. I know a guy who is extremely proud of his farm on Farmville, but his lawn has not been mowed in weeks.

    I think that social media online is not a bad thing, but I think it is a tool that can be used to supplement our in-person social interaction. I don’t think things will get to the level seen in the movie Surrogates, but I wonder at what point will our online relationships become more important than our in-person relationships.

    Do you think that social media like Facebook has had a positive or negative impact on in-person relationships within communities? What do you think needs to be done to address this situation? That do you think that you can do about this situation?
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Without question, one of the biggest things that planners agree on is the importance of social interaction to establish a stable community. But with the recent popularity of online social communities such as facebook, linked-in, and twitter, has our in-person social interaction suffered? Last week I saw a car commercial where a girl who was sitting at home, was commented how her parents are anti-social because they only had 19 “Friends” on facebook while she had 300. The then went to a video of her parents out mountain biking with their friends, while she was at a laptop commenting on a picture that a “friend” of hers posted. In essence, her parents were out living life on person where she had the risk of being “unfriended”. I remember when I was the age of the girl, I was out with my friends doing something. It was likely out doing something active.

    I got chatting with a friend who was telling me about his son who is having troubles making friends but spends all of his time online. He joked that his son has 1200 facebook friends, but not one was able to hang out on a Friday night. It got me thinking more about the progression of technology over the years and how it has influenced relationships. Before telephones where popular, people would use social events to satisfy a need. This allowed the establishment of several close friends. Kids would walk down the street to see if their friends could come out and play. People got to know people and it created small tight knit communities within neighborhoods. Telephones started to change that. Kids would call friends and spend hours on the phone instead of in person. We would order stuff in a catalog on the phone. Then text messaging came up and now we have Facebook. I know a guy who is extremely proud of his farm on Farmville, but his lawn has not been mowed in weeks.

    I think that social media online is not a bad thing, but I think it is a tool that can be used to supplement our in-person social interaction. I don’t think things will get to the level seen in the movie Surrogates, but I wonder at what point will our online relationships become more important than our in-person relationships.

    Do you think that social media like Facebook has had a positive or negative impact on in-person relationships within communities? What do you think needs to be done to address this situation? That do you think that you can do about this situation?
    Some thoughts...

    I think the kid who has 1200 FB friends and doesn't leave the house, would still never leave the house, even if the internet didn't exist. Recluses are recluses, regardless of the technology.

    My work-week is so busy - work, night meetings, school, day care, helping with homework, dinner, baths, bedtime, school events - that often my only chance for interaction outside of my immediate family is through online social networking.

    I honestly do not think that FB, Twitter, etc. really have that much of an impact on people's in-person relationships. But I'm coming from an adult perspective. It will be interesting to see how Facebook affects younger generations who have grown up with it.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Online communities are a BAD thing. They are actively destroying the fabric of society and you should all stay as far away from them as you possibly....

    wait a minute, uummmm nevermind.

    I think online communties are a great substitute for in-person social interactions and everyone needs to join one and post often. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    That is why Cyburbians look forward to Laefests for that in-person interaction needed.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I think that social media online is not a bad thing, but I think it is a tool that can be used to supplement our in-person social interaction.
    I think it is a tool that SHOULD supplement our in-person social interaction, but rather it seems it is replacing it.

    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    My work-week is so busy - work, night meetings, school, day care, helping with homework, dinner, baths, bedtime, school events - that often my only chance for interaction outside of my immediate family is through online social networking.
    Same here. I do think though that facebook allows us easy access to keep abreast of what is going on in our friends life, and so we take it for granted and don't make as much effort to reach out with a personal email or phone call.

    Quote Originally posted by btrage
    I honestly do not think that FB, Twitter, etc. really have that much of an impact on people's in-person relationships. But I'm coming from an adult perspective. It will be interesting to see how Facebook affects younger generations who have grown up with it.
    I think that younger generations will have a more difficult time communicating in person. I don't think it's social media's fault alone, but technology in general. I have a lot of younger friends and people I know that typically won't answer the phone, but will respond right away with a text.

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I think it may actually be beneficial for people that don't communicate easily in person. At least they're communicating with someone. For the rest, it's a supplement to everything else. Now leave me alone!
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    I know that typically won't answer the phone, but will respond right away with a text.
    I'm not as "young" as the people you're thinking of but I never listen to voice mails and do respond quicker to a text than a phone call. With the exception of my elderly parents I'd much rather text than talk on the phone. Assuming I get reception with my crappy service it takes a lot longer to call, exchange niceties, and say goodbye to ask a simple question. A text takes about 15 seconds. Also, you can text and watch TV or whatever, you don't need to be fully committed to the conversation. I know that sounds bad but most younger people grew up with constant activity and don't do well with calmness.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Facebook is evil.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

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    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    Facebook is evil.
    Evil is Live spelled backwards.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  10. #10
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Evil is Live spelled backwards.
    Backwards is forwards in upside-down world.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
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    Actually, I think its replacing the Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, etc.

    I belong to one here and its full of seniors. no young people at all.

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    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    The only real concern I've had w/facebook which makes me use it sparingly is privacy. There is just a ton of dirt people can put on you with facebook and there really isn't any decent way to avoid it

    As far as communication skills? Like btrage said, there were certainly anti-social or awkward people in abundance before facebook, so I generally tend to see this more as mommy's way of saying "It's because of that dang facebook little Billy doesn't have any friends!"

    Sure lady, little Billy doesn't have any real friends because he smells funny. Your kid needs to take a shower

    I will say though, that it seems facebook has effectively killed the art of sending letters/postcards. I guess my question would be, is losing that form of communication such a big deal? Honestly I wouldn't know, I can't even remember the last postcard I sent...
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    It has its place but ultimately as a parent it is you who has to either restrict access or limit how much time is spent online. I like FB, I use it quite often as do most of my friends. Since we live all over the world its an easier way for us to keep up with each other. That doesn't mean that I don't talk to them on the phone, via chat, or email though. I also see plenty of my local friends in person.
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    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    Actually, I think its replacing the Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, etc.

    I belong to one here and its full of seniors. no young people at all.
    Those organizations plus the Odd Fellows, the Masons, etc have been on the ropes for a while now-see Bowling Alone.

    I'll third that it hasn't really retarded social skills. The loners and anti-social types were that way before social networks.

    My concern is that along with games, it's contributed to the obesity epidemic in the County along with a poor diet. Too many people stay in doors watching TV, gaming, going on line instead of going outside, walking, biking and being active.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Online communities are a BAD thing. They are actively destroying the fabric of society and you should all stay as far away from them as you possibly....

    wait a minute, uummmm nevermind.

    I think online communties are a great substitute for in-person social interactions and everyone needs to join one and post often. Thank you.
    That's good!

    I don't think that on-line communities are replacing real communities, but I think that they are replacing face-to-face communication. That's not all bad, but I think that people are going to lose conflict resolution skills, and just plain forget how to have a personal relationship. It's easy to write something negative about a person, and what gets written may not have been said at all if the only option to say it would be via speaking to the person who might have aggrieved you.

    The kid only has 1200 friends as defined by facebook, and that's just a tally of people who send and accept friend requests. Young people may also be losing the idea of what a friend really is, which is more than a name on a list and some words in a status update.

    Like the others said, they're good for keeping in touch with folks whom you don't have an opportunity to see, and that's how I use facebook. I must hate America and that will have a direct impact on the USPS and Hallmark.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    I don't think that on-line communities are replacing real communities, but I think that they are replacing face-to-face communication. That's not all bad, but I think that people are going to lose conflict resolution skills, and just plain forget how to have a personal relationship. It's easy to write something negative about a person, and what gets written may not have been said at all if the only option to say it would be via speaking to the person who might have aggrieved you.

    .
    I've wondered about this as well. People have a tendency to write really nasty erroneous things on the web, things they would never dare say (or maybe even think) in person. Those things may or may not be anonymous anymore and may stay with that person (through searches or what not). I also wonder to what extent the ability to make nasty comments online may transfer over to real life interaction. Especially as younger people become more immersed in online interaction than in real life interaction.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    It's easy to write something negative about a person, and what gets written may not have been said at all if the only option to say it would be via speaking to the person who might have aggrieved you.

    This is an interesting point. And to play devil's advocate I'll offer to say facebook has a huge advantage over other websites (although I'll agree it's still not the same as face to face interaction).

    But just look at youtube. People can be anonymous and as a result nearly every comment section is people insulting each other. I don't think that happens nearly as often on Facebook because you can't hide behind a fake identity.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    I know a couple who conducted all of their divorce accusing and arguing via text message. They went through with the divorce, but would they if they had to talk face to face? We'll never know.

    It might be good that they didn't argue face to face....

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    British prefer Facebook to Flush Toilets

    [SIZE="1"]http://digitallife.today.com/_news/2011/09/12/7728080-british-people-prefer-facebook-to-toilets

    A survey of several thousand Britons shows they rank having Facebook access as more important than having an oven, shower, or flush toilet, fresh fruit, public transit, or (gasp!) push-up bras.

    I use email frequently, text here and there, but sometimes it's just nice to kick back and talk to a friend on the phone (especially now that we don't have exhorbitant long-distance rates like we did 20-30 years ago).

    I see Facebook addiction groups springing up, since I can't imagine employers putting up with all the wasted hours employees spend on Facebook at work. I'm sure Facebook addiction will be tested at some point as a "disability".

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