Social networking sites hinder people skills

Social networks will be the fall of man.

No, not really. But they are creating a generation of people void of social skills. These online communities that allow you to connect with virtually anyone, have thrown a curve ball at traditional methods of socializing.

Friend, a word that used to mean the epitome of social acceptance, has taken on a new definition.

Secret admirers and clandestine adversaries find refuge in your Honesty Box. Celebrities and politicians effectively dodge the public streamlining statements via Twitter updates, following a scandal.

America’s growing obsession with online social networking is shorting a generation of individuals who may never learn true people skills. We’ve all logged into our Facebook accounts to see a pending friend request from a perfect stranger. I’ve even gotten a friend request from a cattle rancher in South Dakota. It seems all too simple just to ignore the person because you wouldn’t want to be rude in any social context. After all, it is just the Internet.

But every time I get a request from someone who I barely know, I think to myself, to what do I owe this request?

In one instance where I’ve gotten such requests, I asked the person exactly where I knew them from.

Needless to say they didn’t respond, and it was clear that they didn’t think they needed a reason to add me as friend other than to diversify their list of friends.

I can’t help but wonder, if you’ve never taken the time out to introduce yourself to me in person, then why attempt to do so on Facebook?

I take pride in actually having had some type of physical contact with all 344 of my Facebook friends. A modest number, I know.

Before the rise of the Internet, meeting new friends was awkward, but it helped us build meaningful relationships.

Getting to know a person on the Internet is a matter of looking at their pictures and reading their hobby and interest sections of their profile, and deciding that, “Hey, they seem cool”. Nonetheless social networks will continue to take away from traditional social customs. Online social networks may not mark the end of mankind, but it will definitely hinder our sociological advancement.Jason Lawrence is a junior political science student from Tallahassee. He can be reached a