Currently, accessing social websites has turned out to be extraordinarily popular amongst all kinds of people. For example, sites like Face-book, my space, tagged and twitter have had most people acquire accounts there. These sites require regular status and profile updates together with constant communications with friends. Because of this, many people are stuck in front of their computers and internet enabled devices for hours. In a way, this is detrimental as it wastes time that could have been directed to more productive undertakings, and is also addictive. The problem has been seen to impact most on students. Nowadays, wireless-network connections are available in learning institutions 24 hours all week. A student could spend a lot of hours on net, and this includes access to social websites. Research has shown that, this addictive habit of accessing social websites mostly affects students’ academic performance, and consequently results to decrease in overall grades and scores. It is true that these websites are fun and educative to some extend; but he above information brings forth a very critical concern; what should be done to moderate the issue of social webbing, and especially among students. Therefore, this paper will be discussing on the issue of social webbing.
“The social web is a specified term for the World Wide Web as a kind of Social Media” (Berslin, 2010). This expression is presently used to portray how individuals socialize and network on the Web. Social webbing generally refers to social-networking, myspace and facebook for example, and content sharing sites on the internet that present social networking functionalities within Web-2.0.
The social webbing sites are typically shaped on connections of individuals having same interests, although there are some theories specifying precisely how the kind formation works. “There are for example said to be “people focus” websites such as Bebo, Facebook, and Myspace that focus of social interaction, often by making the user create an online identity (and a profile)” (Kraut et al, 2002). There is again social webbing on internet which is personified by “hobby-focus”. “For example, if one is interested in photography and wants to share this with like-minded people, then there are photography websites such as Flickr, Kodak Gallery and Photobucket” (Kraut et al, 2002).
Mostly when referring to social-webbing, collective-intelligence is mentioned. Collective-intelligence describes the phenomena of internet-users coming together, sharing content, for the reason of creating something larger than a single individual could possibly do. Occasionally, it is referred to as Wisdom-of-Crowds. Wikipedia seems to be an ideal example.
As much as social webbing seems to be fun it has its own detrimental effects and particularly on students. The modern generation of students has been partnered with the internet as a fundamental, centralized and normal part of their daily life. “A lot of student’s access PC at home long before joining learning institutions, and many had their own personal computers before attending school” (Kraut et al, 2002). As shown by Kraut e al again, “in coming of age concurrently with the internet and in confluence with the economic boom of the nineties the student group that now dominates the majority of social websites commands both a native and latent understanding of these technologies” (Kraut et al, 2002). Because of the current situation, there has been ongoing research on the negative impacts of social webbing, and a lot of it has been centered on unreservedly behaviorist assumption. Overuse of the internet has affected student perceptions and aspects of socializing in regards to personality, family, real-communities, and virtual-communities. “New forms of media enact as a conduit to understanding, an altered form of language, and a robust platform for both personal and cultural development” (Kraut et al, 200). Social webbing sites have their own kind of languages that are often absorbed into the academic environment. In social sites students mostly use short words which have brought forth another form of language being used in classes. Many students have been found using these words when writing in class.
The major detrimental effects arise as a result of time wastage which could have been used for studying and other academic activities. Social webbing is addictive, and thus many students spend a lot of time surfing instead of reading, this often results in poor performance. Learning institutions act as centers for academic activities, and that is why they center on the maintenance and increasing student’s academic achievement. Because of the phenomenon diminishing students’ grading, it in turn drains a big attention of stakeholders. It is again evident that most social-website users do maintain their accounts generally with worthless stuff, like impractical updates, making short term friends, gossips, etc. This is most probably the reason these sites could be responsible for students’ decrease in academic performance, brought about by loss of the ability to manage time stimulated by the addictive outcome of social-webbing. Research has also proved that social-webbing does not offer good styles of interaction psychologically. “Direct interaction is still known to be the best way in developing healthy way of interacting. Psychologists believe that people tend to have less attention to others and focus more on themselves once they live in social webs environment” (Gruber, 2007). In a synopsis, social webbing serves a high-risk of diminishing a consumer’s quality of life. This does not only apply on hard-skills, but also on a consumer’s soft skills. As a result of this, learning institutions should put up strict measures governing the use of social webbing.
Off late there are numerous social-webbing network sites, it is just about impracticable to stay active on them. Many addicts do hold had accounts on most of them. To say active on most of these sites one must allocate sufficient time. In these sites, one often gets friend requests of people he/she does not know. When following the links to their profiles you find that, they only request friendship for the sole-purposes of stuffing their friend count or to eventually send advertisements or videos sometimes later. Many people spend a lot of time on social-networks doing this, and not essentially being in touch with people who matter.
With a site like Facebook for example, one obsession with the leading capability to waste ones time is the substantial amount of third-party applications made available. “Individuals do rate movies, rate friends, movie quotes and surveys, before they know it they have spent two hours telling people how much they loved the movie Weekend” (Gruber, 2007).
On the other hand, social-webbing also provides a number of useful functions. Social sites are communication-tools, they allow individuals to make and keep in touch with friends effortlessly. They are also quite efficient, contemptible, and uncomplicated media of publications. “Some use social webs as media for publishing free ads, while others simply do transactions of motivating words. Social webs let students share and gather information related to their study, even some have established an academic network using social webs” (Gruber, 2007). In some instances, social-webs are shown to be really useful. Many students are currently spending a lot of time in learning, institutions meaning that ruling out the access could lessen productivity. Therefore misuse is detrimental and proper use is beneficial.
A site like twitter for example has some useful applications especially for people who have photography as a hobby. There is an application where one can be able o follow somebody’s tweets where one can get photos to follow. “On following these you can get more twitter profiles where more links to photo blogs are presented” (Gruber, 2007). Most of these are extremely amazing which can be downloaded or personalized in a way that, when a post, tweet or blog is posted, the information will reflect on ones account. Information about how to develop as a photographer is also presented. These applications are sometimes better than if one was to take classes on a specific subject, and they are also absolutely free.
Therefore as shown in this paper social webbing is both beneficial and detrimental. Social webbing is detrimental in the sense that, it consumes a lot of time sometimes on worthless applications and contents. On the other hand, it is beneficial and educative because an individual can easily communicate with family and friends or learn a lot of information from the data being relayed. As a result of this, individuals are supposed to make sure social-webbing does not consume time on unproductive applications and content. Time is a resource and needs to be utilized to the maximum.
Berslin, J. (2010). The Social Semantic Web. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Gruber, T. (2007) Social webbing. Journal of Web Semantics 6 (1), 4-13.
Kraut, et al. (2002). “Internet Paradox Revisited”. Journal of Social Issues 58 (1), 49–74.