First of all, I want to put out my prayers to the earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan. I saw another post on here that was discussing this tragedy, and I thought I would add a little more of my opinion about it. I found out about this awful occurrence through facebook, because a friend had posted about her sorrow for those in Japan. Having no idea what she was talking about, I opened up Yahoo! And the first story shown was about Japan. While my heart sank, I also realized that if I would not have logged onto facebook, I would have went through the day without knowing. A few people I had talked to that day had no idea what I was talking about.
To me, this shows that social networking sites can be a very good thing when it brings people together in this way. My twitter blew up with celebrities wanting to raise money for Japan. Facebook groups formed for Japan. Everyone from different corners of the country could come together for a common cause. This is what Shirky discussed in Chapter 2 of Here Comes Everybody.
While social networking can be an enormous pain and distraction, it can also be a conduit to bringing people together. Before this was available, you could not bring hundreds of thousands of people together while they were sitting in their own living room. This is a free, extremely easy way to unify people.
While I don’t necessarily care about every detail of everyone’s personal lives, which is also available to view on social networking sites, I think an underlying positive is the fact that I logged into facebook and was able to find out something very important. As I’m not an avid news watcher, I get most of my information from the internet. I think this is a double edged sword, because it takes away from reading the newspaper or watching the news, but I think as technology evolves, the way we obtain important information evolves too.