They seem to be everywhere, ever present in some way or other as you go about your daily business; whether you're listening to the radio, watching TV or buying something at the supermarket, you're bound to see or hear some reference to one of the social networking sites.
Well, I have accounts on Facebook and Twitter (though I have disabled the former) and there is no doubt that they serve a purpose: keeping in touch with friends. That's all well and good but I take a dim view of the use some people make of them.
Why on Earth would I want to keep updating my friends on everything I do during a particular day? Why would I want to spend hours on a social networking site when I could go out for a run or walk, read an interesting book or meet my friends in the real world instead. Talking of friends, what is the point of having hundreds of "friends" on Facebook who you have never met in your life?
Now, Twitter is a different animal. I like to log in from time to time to read what other "colleagues" are saying (teachers, copy-editors and language lovers in general). In short, a place for like-minded people from whom you can actually get some benefit. OK, I also use it to flirt with the rich and famous (hey, Jennifer Ehle replied to me twice! - and my "advances" to Gwyneth Paltrow may one day elicit a positive response).
Returning to the main line of this post, it seems to me that some people feel the need to adopt some kind of celebrity lifestyle and open the door to the world on these social networking sites in the hope that perhaps they too will be admired. Maybe they need other people to boost their ego. That is rather superficial.
It is how we use something that will determine whether we derive some benefit from it or not. In the latter case, maybe we would do well to pursue other interests.