Are Your Family Getting Social This Christmas?

December 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

It’s happened to many of us. Logged onto Facebook to find a friend request, not from a nice boy, nor cool new friend from work but from one of our parents. Mums, Dads, Aunties and Uncles and even Nans are getting on the social media bandwagon and it’s becoming more and more common to log onto Facebook and find a friend request from an older family member. Most of us cringe when we get our first photo comment from a relative or see that they’ve uploaded some hideously old family photo and tagged several more. But despite our teenage embarrassment is this a good thing or not?

When asked ‘Why do you use Facebook?’ most of us will answer ‘To keep in touch with friends and find out what’s going on’. Well, maybe our parents and our other senior family members are doing exactly the same thing. And it’s not just Facebook they’re jumping on, I’ve had numerous conversations with my brother, sister and parents on Skype and regularly chat on MSN Messenger.

As usual, there will be lots of catching up and arranging things with friends over Facebook for me this Christmas, so will my parents and family be doing the same thing? Will we be scrapping the tradition of phoning my Grandparents on Christmas day and send them a quick Facebook message instead? Or perhaps we’ll just email my Aunties to let them know we liked our presents.

An article on twittown states “In August of 2009, Nielson Polls reported that Internet users admitted that they were now spending about 17 percent of their surfing time on social networks. This time is up triple the amount from the 2008 poll“. It’s so true, we do spend a ridiculous amount of time surfing the web and playing on various social networking sites and yes, it is great that our families can stay linked on the web and stay in touch so easily, but is this social media boom ruining the good old one to one conversation?

We can’t get away from the fact that it is. Traditionally, the scene of a living room of an evening would see chatting, cups of tea and a television set playing the daily soaps and family programs. However, I have often found now my housemates and I will sit in the living room glued to our laptop screens, chatting over who wrote what on Twitter or some controversial photos uploaded to Facebook. Similarly, when at home my family and I will often have some kind of laptop, phone or games console in our hands while we probably should be chatting about how our day treated us and what everyone’s plans for the weekend are.

I don’t think we’ll be able to get away from the growing world of social networking, and I don’t want to, it’s great and a key ingredient in the new media world I want to get involved in. But this Christmas Day and festive season, I’m going to try to talk more and perhaps phone a friend instead of Facebook chatting them. Will be a bit more effort, but it’ll probably be a better conversation.


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