They call themselves social networking sites but now it appears that the likes of Twitter and Facebook could be downright anti-social. A leading academic claims that the technology is threatening to dominate our lives, making us more isolated and "less human."
Professor Sherry Turkle has even branded the use of the social networking sites a form of "modern madness."
She argues that, under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, technology is isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world.
Professor Turkle, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the US, is leading an attack on the information age with her book Alone Together.
The professor even suggests social networking can make us mad, citing "pathological behaviour"she has witnessed, such as mourners at funerals checking their iPhones.
Her book is part of an intellectual backlash in America calling for the people to devote less time to sites such as Twitter.
Other American academics have criticized the growing trend of internet activity. One, Professor William Kist, of Kent State University in Ohio, has cited the death in Brighton of Simone Back who posted her suicide note on Facebook at Christmas.
Not one of 42-year-old Miss Back's 1,058 "friends" on the site called for help. Instead they traded insults on her page.
However, defenders of Twitter and Facebook claim social media has many benefits and has, for example, led to more communication for people who are separated by long distances.