October 1 2008

Social Networking Tools, a bad thing?

Written by Jim Yupangco

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On my daily commute to the office the other day I came upon an article in the local freebie newspaper on the impact of "digitalk" and social networking technologies on our social relationships. Digitalk is defined as conversations through electronic media via Facebook, MySpace, e-mail, text messaging, chat, etc; generally any kind of text-based electronic communication. While the article admits that the quantity of our social connections have increased dramatically, the quality has decreased.

It's interesting that the same tools that have improved learner engagement, participation, and the internalization of information into applied knowledge are supposedly contributing to the decline of our interpersonal skills. On the one hand the seeming anonymity social networking tools afford learners who otherwise would not actively participate in a face-to-face discussion become more vocal and engaged. And on the other hand that same comfortable anonymity is the apparent cause why many lose their personal sense of self. Can we truly attribute the latter to social networking technologies, or is it that people who lack interpersonal skills in life are finally empowered to connect, express themselves and speak their minds to others?

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