Friday, May 6, 2011

Professional Reading #14

Rhood, D. (2009, May 29). Sweet Valley Twins: Reading to Understand Contemporary Social Networks. Retrieved from:

Stout, H. (2010, April 30). Antisocial Networking? The New York Times. Retrieved from:

The writer of this article makes a pretty interesting comparison between Sweet Valley High books and social networks, in that they both provide a model of socializing for viewers, without them having to participate. As a tween, she used the books as a way of learning about and witnessing social interactions, interactions she was too afraid to experience for herself. I love the idea of learning about social interactions from books. The writer paints herself as on the nerdier side, enjoying reading about how popular girls interact with one another. She relates this to young people looking at Facebook.

I find the author's suggestion that Facebook can be a way for young people to view social interactions from a comfortable distance very interesting and reminded me of an article I discussed earlier, "Antisocial Networking?" which questions if social networking sites are damaging to young peoples' relationships with one another. I am a Facebook user who likes to look at friends photos and read what people are up to, but seldom comments and rarely posts anything myself. I never thought of it in those terms before, but I could see where young people could spend hours on Facebook (an easy thing to do) looking at friends' interactions with one another as a method of learning how peers socialize. As with reading fiction novels to achieve the same purpose, I'm not sure that Facebook communications are going to give young viewers a realistic social exchange. I feel that many younger Facebook users I have witnessed choose to post a more projected view of themselves, rather than the real thing. As an adult, this is easier to recognize, but I would worry about a tween who spends a great deal of time viewing Facebook posts and comments of friends to learn about socializing. I could see where this might lead to "Facebook depression," the recent studies of young people with low self-esteem becoming depressed by spending hours on Facebook looking at peers happily socializing.

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