In the recent decades, we have been witness of a big technological revolution. It has caused a deeply and truly transformation in the way of perceiving the wolrd. The arrival of new information and communication systems has opened a whole range of possibilities for individuals, companies, institutions and government: new ways of doing business, more and better informed citizens, new relations between individuals, new education system that involving new teaching methodologies, marketing campaigns more focus on the real needs of consumers, extensive news coverage, thanks to new technology reaches all corners of the world.
We have to recognize that all these significant changes caused by new technology, undoubtedly contribute to the progress, modernization and development of peoples. However, as Marshall McLuhan argued, ? the dominant medium in a given time relatively shaped the way we perceived and understood the world around? For This reason, we cannot understand a given technological experience without studying its social setting.
Moreover, with the new technological uses and the changes caused, appear new ethical and moral issues that must be treated in order to defend human values and preserve the basic ethical and moral principles on which society establishes and sustains. The goal of this paper is twofold. First to be aware the impact that the social networks are causing in society and their deeply consequences. Secondly, to understand the need to establish a ethical and moral framework that regulate and control its use and allow to have behavior patterns to ensure the responsible exercise of the people.
The social network impact Within a decade the so-called Web 2. 0 has been installed in the modern society’s life, dominating all areas and changing behavior patterns. With social networks has created a cultural phenomenon of a scope unimaginable a few years ago. Not only they are used by people, but also by big companies, organizations and even political and public institutions with the aim of promoting products and services, recruit supports, ideological influence or change consumer behavior, etc. It’s true that each society has integrated this new technology in different ways, depending on the culture and its values.
However, without a doubt, the social networks have produced a significantly social change in daily life in all societies. For instance, in the way of communication and interact with others; nowadays, the users have an active participation, not only they can access all the information, but also provides content via chats, emails, posts, blogs, tweets, etc. The social network sites provide a dynamic platform, which enables discussions, sharing information, organisation of events, etc. It’s obvious that social networking has been a high success (in just four years, had generated more than 50 millions users.
Facebook went from 200 to 250 million registered users in just three months. by late 2009, Facebook had reached 300 million users). However, I venture to say that its impact could be a consequence of cultural trends that were already suggesting in modern societies. At this point, we can speak from a Heidegger’s perspective, according to that mass culture in which we live subordinate us to consumerism and hedonism, in response to the capitalist logic that dominates current contemporary societies. Thus, we find a need to “see” and “be seen”, to be in the public arenas to consume and “be consumed” as announced by the Polish sociologist Z.
Baumann in his “Globalization: the human consequences”. In social networks we can find numerous examples of this thought: millions of users share information daily about their thoughts, ideas, experiences, pictures and videos, relying on a virtual space accessible to everyone that nowadays don’t have enough security to protect the personal privacy. Today, we have the so-called: life streaming, which enables to have all our lives summed up in the social network. Consequences of the media social networks Broadly, any impact involves a number of consequences.
In the present case, the use of social networks has had both positive and negative effects on the societies. Undoubtedly, the incorporation of the social networks into our lives has brought many advantages. Perhaps, one of the most important and of the greatest impact is the free expression of ideas, trends, ideologies, etc. Moreover, the incredible expansion of information allows individuals from all over the world are informed in the real time what happens. Furthermore, social networks allow users to be proactive to any event. We have seen several examples that had happened this year in different countries.
The case of Egypt was one of the most notorious: Through the use of new technologies is mainly managed by young people overcome the blocks that the government had imposed on the media and all countries of the world would reflect the poor management of the Egyptian government and the social injustices that there were committing. Furthermore, another advantage is the possibility of contact with people who are far away and that otherwise could not access them. Social networks can create groups, communities and forums to share tastes, opinions, hobbits, ideological and religious trends, etc.
With regard to the professional, web 2. 0 becomes an excellent tool for networking and access new opportunities. Similarly, companies have also taken advantage of new technologies to enter new business opportunities and to capitalize on the communication with customers, suppliers and workers. Similarly, social networks are playing an essential role in the spread of knowledge. Culture and education become more accessible through new technologies. On the other hand, we cannot forget the key role that social networks play at the hedonistic society.
Here, as noted above, the leisure and pleasure become essential, and social networking become ideal platform to develop and facilitate such practices hedonists. Now, new technology can also be used in a wrong way in order to exploit, manipulate, dominate or corrupt individuals and societies. Today, social networks are the focus of attraction for many who seek only to take advantage of unsuspecting users or innocent. In this sense, generally speaking, the most common hazards in the use of social networking is the overexposure of intimacy that leads to a lack of privacy.
Similarly, social networks are no doubt affecting human relations. Intimate relationships have been relegated to the virtual plane, causing it to miss a fundamental aspect of all human beings as are relationships. On the other hand, intellectual property has been severely threatened by the arrival of social networks. Need for an ethical framework For the reasons presented above, the ethical and responsible use of social network becomes a priority for our society if we truly want to get that the new technologies fulfill the role of promoting the prosperity, intellectual growth, and develop of the societies.
Thus, one of the prime duties is to develop a new ethical framework that includes principles and shared values among network users. At the same time, the formation of new generations is essential, because these generations are born and growing in this new technological age. This is the reason why, under my point of view, education becomes an essential cornerstone. It is possible to make people aware of the ethical use of social networks through it in order to a real exercise of freedom. When we talk about social networks, we have to focus on four issues into understand the necessity to develop principles that will provide guidance to sers: privacy, accuracy, property and accessibility.
All of these are very important to understand how users have to share the information on the web. Privacy relates to the information that you share on the social networks. Take as an example when someone uploads some photos of a trip and some people appear in these images, who protect the privacy of these people? We have to take into consideration that it is not only important to consider the privacy of one’s personal information, but also the privacy of others. The second issue is about the important of the authenticity of the information.
Nowadays, a lot of contents, images, videos are shared on social networks by anonymous sources, so who control that all that information would be true? We can find a lot of examples diary on the mass media, where many content come from social networks that have not been verified correctly. It’s the responsibility of the one who desire to share information to verify first the accuracy of the information before sharing it. According to the next point, property, intellectual property is severely damaged with the advent of social networks.
However, it is not only the indiscriminate copying of content on the web as news, gossip, jokes, etc. but also the copy of attitudes, thoughts, ideas and moods. Users shouldn’t post information that is created for others unless they are given consent. The last issue “accessibility” relates about the possibility that everyone has access all kind information even without permission. It’s responsibility of the person to determine the authenticity of others before allowing them access to your information.
Conclusion Without doubt, social networks have become an essential part of the everyday lives of their users. Facebook, mySpace, Friendster or twitter are a parallel universe for many who can’t conceive their lives without this new virtual world. It can be argued that social networks have added many advantages to the social progression of societies. However, as new technology is introduced, societies must learn to use it with caution in the best possible ways that will contribute to the cultural progress of the ocieties and peoples and not hinder its natural progression. It’s essential to raise awareness and educate younger generations, and principals of social media consumers; that they have in their hands the possibility to integrate new technologies in a responsible manner. In my opinion, there are many benefits that humanity can take from using social networks such as connecting people from all around the world, spreading knowledge and information, and sharing ideas, opinions and ideologies.
However, according to the humanist liberals, a responsible use of social networks only depend only on mankind. In my opinion it is imperative that we educate on the necessity to establish basic principles that guarantee rights and freedoms to users in the network. In a knowledge based society, technology be manipulated to be a tool of control. If societies could build a strong ethical framework, they would avoid any attempt at cultural domination by those who can maintain a powerful hold on the control of information sources.
At the same time, it is the duty of the society to maintain its natural order and avoid going into an ideal of a self-centeredness and alienation of the individuals that so many social networks expose. Nowadays, new technologies are very present in our lives, they motivate our behaviors, our daily actions, thus it is more important now than ever to learn how to live in a technological driven world that is compatible with human nature in order to bring the greatest advantage to ethical well being of humanity in all aspects of life.
Modern societies have to be able to create concession in order to establish the common welfare. Through new technologies in general, and specially social networks, societies should find a common space for the diversity and plurality of ideas and values, a space whose main feature would be the sociocultural integration based on the respect and acceptance of differences among peoples.