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Is Facebook killing the family? – A contrarian view!

by Steve Prentice  |  January 13, 2009  |  Comments Off on Is Facebook killing the family? – A contrarian view!

At the end of 2008, following my frustration with the fact that most of the family appeared to be more interested in what was going on in the digital world rather than the living room, I floated the idea that our growing addiction to social networking sites was having a negative, even terminal impact on the family.

But maybe I’m just getting too old! The late science fiction author Douglas Adams (who is a ricj source of dry witticisms regarding technology) commented on technology thus – “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is clearly the work of the devil and the end of life as we know it” (or something pretty close to that!).

Since I’m over 35 I am clearly behaving according to type, so at least I can be comfortable with that. In fact, since I’ve now passed the half century I am, as my family happily remind me, a fully paid up “grunpy old git”! Bah Humbug is all I can say to that!!!

So, since I strive to maintain an objective and analytical approach, despite my obvious disadvantaged position, I am happy to highlight a totally contrarian view – that email, twitter, Facebook and the whole gamut of social networking are actually a good thing for the family. Bill Thompson is one of the regular commentators on the BBC Technology site – one that I monitor on a daily basis. It seems that Bill’s family is pretty similar to mine (in age terms) but he clearly sits on the opposite side of the fence. His “very connected Christmas” clearly worked for them – even though it would sit rather uncomfortably with me. 

So is our addiction to social networking good or bad? I look forward to your comments! If the weight of opinion goes against me I promise to flood the living room with wifi and move out to the potting shed next Christmas!

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Stephen Prentice
VP & Gartner Fellow
13 years at Gartner
35 years IT industry

Stephen Prentice is a VP and Gartner Fellow working in the Executive Leadership and Innovation Group (part of CIO Research). He takes a specific interest in emerging trends and the long-term future of technology - looking at the intersection of technology, business and society. Current research interests include... Read Full Bio

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