A field study on the social networking users in the city of Sharjah.


This study aims to find out the implications of communicating through social networking on the reality of direct social relations. This could be done through identifying the social and demographic characteristics of the members of the sample, and detecting their perceptions of the negative and positive effects of communication across networks on social relations. The study intends to identify the degree of awareness of individuals concerning whether communicating via networks is parallel or is an alternative to direct social communication.To reach these objectives I selected an intended sample consisting of 120 network users, male and female in the Emirate of Sharjah, and a questionnaire was distributed to them. Most of the respondents are female and university degree holders or still students. The majority are single and between the ages of 17and 22 years, and their incomes are relatively moderate. As for their perceptions of the positive effects of social networks they ranged as follows: consolidation of relations, shortening of time and distance, raising the level of awareness and the speed of communication, increasing the sense of comfort and freedom, refining of personality and opinion, and contributing to the identification of the other users.The study also reveals that the respondents ranged between rejection and acceptance of the negative consequences of social networks. However while most of respondents recognized that the network relationships are often made at the expense of the time spent with parents, family and friends, a majority of them do not feel an obvious impact of these networks on their real relationships, despite receiving persistent complaints from those around them. Also most of the respondents opposed the idea of replacing real social relations by relations via networks, and preferred to reduce the time spent on social networking. As for the networks effects the respondents stressed that they vary depending on the way they are used and how realistic the network relationships are. In this context the results revealed that the majority of young users consider network relations as a mean of interacting with others in everyday life, regardless of their level of education and age. Therefore network relations occupy the same position as the daily contact especially for females, and it is the user who chooses the topics covered as well as the time and person on the networks and not the network itself. Consequently the user bears the implications of the use of these networks