Social networks... more Harm or hurtful than helpful?

What is your take on social counter cultures?

The Cult of Us - What MySpace living is doing to our minds (from

For millions of people, especially among the under-25s, online culture is becoming the only culture that matters. Take the plunge, and the world becomes one massive network in which users band together to share just about everything. Chatrooms and newsgroups have evolved into social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook. Whatever your interest, from biology to extreme sports, there's a website where you can share your thoughts with the like-minded.

But what is the culture really about? Where will it end up? Too early to say, perhaps,

I'll have to ask my friends – Instant messaging, Wi-Fi and cellphones allow us to be constantly plugged into our social networks. Sociologist Sherry Turkle worries this is transforming human psychology

The end of privacy? – You wouldn't tell a stranger on the bus about your sexual habits, so why do people reveal this stuff on websites available to everyone? Will their openness return to haunt them?

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google – A short story by Bruce Sterling

The internet could be so much better – Social networking websites like MySpace or YouTube owe everything to the genius of Ted Nelson, who invented hypertext in the 1960s

Chris (WI)  comments:

Social update: While I think the web is a great place for media, data & connecting... it is by design a "anit-social" network. Only on the web will someone have a two hour talk on myspace to a "fictional" person... these social networks will be the erosion of our youth communication & social skills.   Furthermore the web has "dissolved" the need for general knowledge... if someone is not sure or doesn't know... they "google" it with no learning or cognitive thought involved. In the 90's most if the net was "solid" information... now social networks & (unqualified) mass media have fluffed and dumbdown the web to the point of less than 5% is new or relevant information.    I often get "cut n paste" ideas, answers, resume, replies and comments with no thought or creative conscience involved.   As you do in the "online game arena", I meet real people with real names on the science networks, that makes it still a good place to connect with people in a semi social way.    While I grew up on the internet & TV... but, was raised to turn them off and learn. Computers are tools created to enrich life not erode it.

Chris (ATL)  comments:

Personally, I think that social networks are helpful.  But, there should be limits.  I have joined several groups both for business and pleasure, and they are really only worth what you are willing to put into them.  Age is a factor that scares me about things like MySpace where kids of any age can interact with anyone.  I have a son... , so the internet makes me nervous.  Just knowing that he could possibly hop onto one of the sites while I have my back turned is scary.  One of my co-workers has 2 teenage daughters, and she got a program that records EVERYTHING that happens on her daughter's computers.  She can then see what is happening and talk to her kids.  I think that any parent out there that doesn't have such an animal is just asking for trouble.


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