Patrick Weaver Mrs. Bey 12/05/09 English 101 Facebook In an age dominated by the technologically advanced and savvy, the Internet thrives as the leading way to socialize with friends and family. Since its development, the Internet has been used as a tool for communication. This online communication is a form of social networking. Social networking is an online community of people who share common interests and activities. Whether through instant messaging or email, the World Wide Web has become an increasingly admired and accepted way to communicate.
According to the Internet World Stats website, the total amount of Internet users has increased by over a billion since the year 2000. In addition to that, in 2009 there were another billion users on the top ten social networking websites. The number one social networking site is Facebook, trumping all other similar sites with over seven hundred million current users. The millions of people that log on to this massive virtual community everyday reap both the benefits and the disadvantages that it has to offer.
From communicating with friends to often posting vulnerable information on the web for many to view, it is easy to see the pros and cons of Facebook. One of the biggest benefits of having a Facebook account is the ability to easily stay in touch with your friends from virtually anywhere in the world. This connectivity is the main purpose of Facebook and the reason why most people invest so much time into this networking system. With special features such as the “Wall” and the ability to post and tag your photos, staying in touch with friends becomes almost effortless and even somewhat addicting.
Another compelling advantage of Facebook is the implementation of safety precautions. With the launch of Facebook’s often-controversial counterpart, Myspace, on August 15, 2003, the social networking era erupted. However, Myspace was often targeted by the media for its lack of safety and even deemed by Parry Aftab, Internet lawyer and safety expert (Stafford) as “one stop shopping for sexual predators, and they can shop by catalogue”. However in February of 2004, Facebook first appeared onto the scene when a student, Mark Zuckerberg, launched the website from his Harvard dorm room.
His original intention for the website was to keep Harvard students connected, but it quickly spread to nearby colleges because users were attracted to its restrictiveness and safety (Yadav). Facebook limits who can view its member’s profiles by having users register for a particular network and approve all friend requests. It is this sense of safety, along with its collegiate origins, that gives Facebook its reputation as a sophisticated and popular social network.
The feature of Facebook that has revolutionized Internet communication is the “Wall”. This comment-posting space is an innovative way to communicate with friends. Often, it may seem unnecessary to call a distant friend or classmate, but the “Wall” purposes a simple solution, whether it is asking an old high school classmate how college is going, or just saying “hi” to a new friend, communication is made easier and more efficient. Facebook allows for interaction of people who know nothing more than each other’s names.
There is no limit on the amount of friends you may have, or the number of people that can join Facebook, and it is this vast community, mixed with hundreds of links to people’s profiles and albums, that makes it easy to lose track of time. One may just plan on signing into a personal account to check an inbox message or new notifications, but twenty minutes later, find time has passed by due to the many distractions such as clicking away at friends ‘photos or status updates.
It is most likely the curiosity in human nature that Facebook takes advantage of so effectively, and causes people to lose track of time, which results in them falling behind on homework and other assignments. Now, it is even possible to access Facebook accounts from your cell phone or iPod, which makes this social phenomenon even more accessible. It is this accessibility, combined with the addictiveness of Facebook, which has created a synthetic society that thrives in cyberspace.
By connecting millions of people in digital space, Facebook has created an artificial community that is based on socialization, and that most likely communicates better than the communities people take part in. Facebook also allows you to have a small window into your friends’ lives through the pictures they post in their profile. While this window may occasionally be vague and depict only the images people want you to see, it is often a decent portrayal of a person’s hobbies, pastimes, and personality. However, Facebook will never substitute as a way to learn someone’s actual personality.
Plus, the friendships that are created by accepting a friend request are not friendships at all, they are merely permission to view a peer’s profile, rather than a way to befriend a person. In an age where technological advances keep children inside, our friendships are becoming based on social networking websites. This false sense of friendship can become increasingly dangerous to the youth if they are not careful. A child, who grows up using Facebook, or other social networking sites, as their main source of communication may have a hard time developing valuable social skills that they will need in the future.
This decline in “people skills” may lead to a world where people would rather write on your “Wall” than have a genuine conversation in person. While Facebook is considered a safe social network, we must not forget that many people can still view information posted online. Once something is on the Internet, it is no longer private information. It would not be difficult for a future employer to view pictures of you posted several years before, and think twice about hiring you.
A false sense of security can become very dangerous in an Internet based society. Facebook can be great tool for teenagers and adults to stay in touch with friends and people that they know. It is a brilliant way to post and view photos, and to communicate with the people around you. However, it should only be viewed as a tool to stimulate basic interaction rather than replace human interaction. If misused, Facebook can become a social time bomb that will explode on the youth, leaving them impervious to the world that is actually around them.
But if used correctly, Facebook can help keep people closer to the friends and family that they know and care about in an entirely new way that has never before been attempted. Works Cited “Facebook. ” Press Room. 12 October 2008. Stafford, Rob. “Dateline NBC. ” Why Parents Must Mind Myspace. 5 April 2006. MSNBC News. 19 October 2008. Yadav, Sid. “Mashable. ” Facebook- The Complete Biography. 25 August 2006. 13 October 2008. < http://mashable. com/2006/08/25/facebook-profile/>. Clemmitt, Marcia. “Cyber Socializing. ” CQ Researcher 16. 27 (2006): 625-648. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. 12 October 2008 .