Friday, June 13, 2014

SNS: The Good and the Bad

Social Network Service (SNS) has captured the hearts of the world village. The network has connected us with the rest of the world and with individuals in the world. The Internet and the smart phone enabled SNS to increase its influence. All that is needed is a desire, and you can begin relating with hundreds and thousands of persons in cyberspace. We can become friends with Pope Francis and with leaders both within and outside the country. All possible with the SNS network we have constructed.

Biblelife magazine has an article by the  priest public relations director of a diocese on the effects of SNS on society. He introduces us to a survey that was made at the end of 2013, which reported that 31.3 percent of the Koreans use SNS for 72.8 minutes daily. The use is increasing each year in all segments of society. Politicians use it to increase their influence, businesses to increase sales. It is a way of answering our basic drive to reveal ourselves and to peek into the world of another. We can utilize the information that is available in the world. It is a way of making stronger our solidarity with others and a great tool in developing ourselves.  

However, with the use of SNS, we begin to see some of the negative aspects. In the United States with the appearance of Facebook and Twitter, addiction has followed.There have been public service announcements warning about the addiction. In Korea among college students 7 out of 10 curtailed the use of SNS because it was wasting too much time.  On-line games, web surfing, gambling, shopping, Cyber-sex all are addictive; they affect our lives and harm our health. A study that was made, reports  the addiction to SNS is harder to break than tobacco or liquor.

Addiction is not the only problem that SNS is causing in society. Since one can join the SNS world anonymously we have many abuses with the use of vulgar language and excessive criticism. This has at times even given rise to suicides. Information that has not been verified can spread quickly, making for pollution and distortion. The recent Sewol tragedy was an example of the false rumors that circulated and the harm that was done. Democracy does not always benefit by SNS, and we see some serious obstacles. One of the police investigations in a Korean election showed how a government department can help determine an election. The herd mentality prevents one from expressing his or her opinion.The message is usually a one way message.

Those who are expressing their views are a very small number. 90 percent are just viewers. 9 percent pass along what they have received, leave a comment or a response. Only 1 percent are creating content. In Twitter, according to a study that was made, of the interesting information half is contributed by less than 0.05 percent. Most participate  as passive viewers.

SNS when used wisely and in search of truth is a wonderful tool. However, the over use can work against knowing oneself, and hurt the relationship we should have with God.We can make it into an idol.  When it comes to the point that it is causing more harm than good it is time to disconnect. He concludes the article introducing us to the movie that was released last year called Disconnect. A movie about the tragedies and false images in SNS that brought much harm into the lives of the characters.

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