By Agnieszka Miziolek
When I have read the chapter “Social Networking”, (pp. 232-237) I could not resist one thought- that the Internet is no longer an addition to our lives, something that is supposed to help us, for instance find different information, or to entertain us in our free time, but it is also something that lives its own life, as a separate “creature”.
This state seems to have started when social networks became very popular and widespread. They have started to sneak in in our lives and dominate them a bit. For many people, especially teenagers, cyberspace seems to be even more important than real life is. They spend more time on the Internet than with their real friends, often not being able to create true relationships in the real world. Of course I don’t want to underestimate the role of the Internet and the degree to which it helps us in our everyday life, also to contact with our real friends, but sometimes I wonder whether the negative effects of it are not bigger and more detrimental to current youths than its positive influence is. In addition to this, if one is not “present” in the cyberspace (he or she doesn’t have a Facebook account, etc.), one is usually significantly excluded from social life, since, for instance after creating a group of friends on a site like Facebook, these friends often communicate there among themselves, leaving other people unaware of their arrangements.
But social networks and other sites are not the last steps in the cyberspace evolution as it also triggers other mechanisms. That’s what I meant by saying above that the cyberspace lives its own life- data put there by us is later “reused” in many different ways. For instance, it inspires researches and artists, who create projects based on data from these sites. Apart from examples we can find in our textbook, I would like to provide you with an interesting example of a Dutch artist, Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, who creates works of art based on information from newspapers, magazines and the Internet, but especially from social network systems, like Facebook, Myspace, Hyves or LinkedIn. More information about her can be found here: