It seems that social networking is the top form of interpersonal communication in today’s society. Why say it face-to-face when you can write it on someone’s wall and avoid awkward silences? I found this fabulous study/research done by Carlyne Kujath on the exact topic. Her research about social networking replacing in person communication sheds light on how college students really use social networking sites.
I feel that in many instances college students use social networking sites like Facebook to take the easy way out in certain circumstances. College students use Facebook to tell someone how they really feel, to talk about others, and they even break up with people via FaceBook. It’s all very sad, but it’s the ugly truth. In Kujath’s article, she said that the 183 college students she surveyed said that they mainly use Facebook as an “extension of face-to-face interaction.” So college students are not using Facebook to cop out of one on one interaction all together, but they are using it to extend those in person interactions.
I found interesting that in Kujath’s research, she provided a term that was new to me: CMC or Computer-mediated Communication. This term is widely used in describing the grave use of the internet for communication purposes. I think that our world would go mad if we had to go back to the days of sending letters. The rapid development of CMC is opening doors for expansion, creating, and advertising of businesses as well as social purposes. Also, Kujath’s researched pointed out that college students use Facebook not to initiate new new relationships, but to investigate people that they have met in person.
This research makes a lot of sense to me seeing as how I am a college student as well. I can think of numerous times when I’ve used Facebook to continue a conversation that I didn’t have time to finish in person. I will also admit that i have checked out someone’s page if I briefly met them in person. Facebook, among other sites, prove to be great ways in which people sustain friendships. I think this is because it does allow for those face-to-face conversations to be extended, which builds friendships.
Kujath’s research does show that some of those college students surveyed did use Facebook and Myspace as a way out of face-to-face communication. It’s becoming more common for many more people than just college students. I understand that it can be hard to work up the courage to say something to someone’s face, but then again, that’s life isn’t it? You’ll end up as a couch potato if you only communicate through social networking sites.