Well I don't know if I'm technically addicted to social networking par se, but I am most definitely addicted to the sites. Whether it be to play a game, find out how many kids I'll end up with by taking a quiz created by a 12 year old computer wizz from Idaho or snoop at old school friends photos I spend much of my time online trawling through the pages of Facebook and Bebo to quench my thirst for procrastination. To be honest, I do use these sites more and more for having a snoop at people or Bebo-stalking as it's more commonly known. What really pisses me off is when I'm half way through a juicy gossip trail and I run into a, 'Sorry. No Can Do.' What is the bloody point of having a Bebo page if you're going to make your profile private? The thing only exists so that your ex and people you have pissed off can stalk you and scrutinise your pictures. To make yourself private denies people of these pleasures, makes them quite angry and they therefore resort to extremely underhand methods to get at your profile anyway. Wiser to just have a public profile and not tempt the rage of these cyber nutters.
There's been a lot of uproar in the media at the minute about how Facebook is bad for you. I have just completed my dissertation in the area of psychological well being and the use of social networking and to grasp onto the idea that social networking is bad for you is to throw yourself back ten years in research terms. More and more findings are showing that using social networks is actually of great benefit to people. Nicole Ellison is a researcher who has carried out a lot of work in this field with her colleagues and their research findings are consistently showing more and more positives. A great article to show what a wonderful invention these online social networking sites really are is the publication of findings which show these websites break down the social barriers which Autistic people encounter on a daily basis in one to one communication.
I don't know what future research will show in regard to this area but one thing's for sure the trend for online social networking is continuing to grow at a rapid pace and if these sites disappeared it wouldn't just be me who felt lost!