My views on social networking

Thanks to the students and staff at TKGS, MediaCorp’s Campus on 938 Live team and my fellow panelists for the lively discussion this morning on social networking. I won’t repeat what was said because there will be a podcast of this session which I will link to when ready.
Firstly, can I say that I had no idea that some of the girls had gone through my blog 🙂 If I had known, I’d probably have updated it more frequently. I used to call it ‘The Daily Weblog’ even though my updates became weekly, then twice weekly… Finally I realised I had to call a spade a spade, and took the name out.
What have I been doing, now that I blog less?
Networking online, of course. And I’ve always been networking offline. Sometimes the two activities meet (when I connect online to someone I’ve met in real life). Other people I’ve met in person may not have Facebook or LinkedIn accounts, so they remain my contacts only in real life.
I have yet to meet a few online friends in person, but we may be familiar with each other’s work or area of interest and have a number of mutual friends. Eventually we will meet in real life. However, I don’t accept connection requests from people I totally do not know of, with no affiliations (like coming from the same school or former company) and no common friends.
I think each of us has to know our limits when it comes to privacy, and enforce this limit consistently.
A few thoughts that I didn’t get to communicate while on air:
Regarding the reaction to parents being on social networks: Age may make a difference. Youths may cringe when their parents try to add them as friends. But, as we grow older and (hopefully) resolve our differences with our parents, it doesn’t feel so awkward.
Conversely, young children today are increasingly tech-savvy, and those who are very close to their parents and other family members may also love interacting with them online.
I can share one personal anecdote. Amusingly, my niece got her grandmother (my aunt) to join Facebook. My aunt, BTW, is not in the least bit interested in technology. But because her granddaughter loves Facebook, my aunt allows her to update her profile. And it is funny because it is obvious that the ‘hip’ updates are not made by my aunt but on her behalf, by her granddaughter.
Ultimately it depends on your relationship with your family. If it’s very good, you probably won’t mind connecting to them online (if they know how to). If it’s very bad, no matter how tech-savvy you and your parents are, you are less likely to connect with them. So, the root of the issue goes beyond technology. It’s really about human relations. Online social networking is simply a means to the end. (And it’s not the only means)
And, to re-iterate my point about self-esteem, don’t let the amount of activity on your Wall, the number of friends and comments you have, or the number of photos you’re tagged in, be a reflection of your standing in life. Not everything can be measured by a website, and quality does count as well, not quantity.