You glance over the first icon which is a silhouette of two people. Any friend requests? You then skim over to the next icon, a picture of two message bubbles. They remind you of the ones you would see in a cartoon. Any messages? You then proceed to direct your eyes over to the last icon, the world icon. Any Notifications? You click on these icons and with that click you begin a social interaction with someone. For many people, what I described above is an action they do everyday. Over 500 million people worldwide live their lives on Facebook. ” (Fletcher and Ford, 32) After reading this quote I asked myself one question, “Is it the communication aspect of facebook that causes everyone to be addicted to facebook or is there more to this addiction? ” I know I go on Facebook almost everyday without fail but why? Do I go on to communicate and use Facebook as a social network or do I go on it mainly to get the dirt on others and what is going on in their lives?
I came to the conclusion that Facebook is definitely a good place to keep in communication with people, however, in many ways, Facebook has definitely been misused and become gossip central. When you think about Facebook what is the first thing that comes to your mind? The first thing for me is friends. Right now I have 933 friends on Facebook and friends are a very important part of everyone’s lives. Facebook, like any other social network, gives you the ability to communicate with friends, coworkers, family members, and people from all over the world.
You request to be their friend and wait for them to accept that request. There are so many people on Facebook today it would be rare to turn next to the person that sits next to you in math class and for them not to have a Facebook account. It is a very easy way to get in contact with those whom you may not have seen in a while. Old friends that over the years have become acquaintances or even friends that you can’t talk to on a regular basis because they live in a completely different country then you.
For many of my high school years I went on missions trips to Mexico to help out at an orphanage down there. I met many different people and as the years went by I looked forward to seeing my long lost friends. Because of Facebook, I no longer have to call them my long lost friends because I can keep in contact with them through Facebook. I think it is great that so many of my friends are on Facebook and this is another way that I can communicate with them. However, one danger of having friends on Facebook is that some of the friends you accept may be quite superficial. Muise, Christofides, Desmarais, 442). I have almost a thousand friends on Facebook do you really think that I am as close to all of them as I am with my best friend? No, that is ridiculous. However, because Facebook is such an open social network and give us many different ways to communicate with others it has a tendency to give us a more open look at life so people tend to share more intimate aspects on life over their facebook status’. It has changed our social DNA, and made us more accustom to openness (Fletcher and Ford, 33).
When we share these intimate aspects we are not necessarily thinking, “I hope everyone sees this. ” We are just thinking about the friends we usually interact with on facebook, but the problem is anyone that you have accepted as a friend can see that status change. For example, I am friends with my mother on Facebook and when I asked her what her favorite thing about Facebook was she replied, “My favorite part about Facebook is that I can look on my kids profile and see what they have been up to. I got a similar response from a friend that said she likes Facebook because it keeps her in on the latest gossip. This is why we need to be careful when on facebook. Not everyone’s intent while on Facebook is to enhance communication. Some people use Facebook as their center for gossip and you never know who has this outlook while interacting over Facebook. Facebook offers many different ways to communicate with others. Status updates is just one of the many different services facebook offers. Status updates are a nice way to communicate what you are doing from a day to day asis or share short quotes that you found interesting. These status updates definitely help communication between people. Another service Facebook offers to communicate with others is the message service. If you want to have a private conversation with one or more people you can use the message service. This message service is somewhat like an email in the sense that you can send and receive messages that no one but the intended recipient can see. This is helpful if you want to plan a surprise party for some one and only want certain people to know about it.
This service is a very good way to have an intimate conversation with others, and I think that it is a very good service. However, many people don’t use the message box as much as they should. This creates problems over Facebook. Another conversation method that is used on facebook is posting on others wall. The only problem with this is that everyone can see your wall. This can create many social mishaps. “While social networks sites provide the opportunity to reunite with long lost friends, they also allow people to make their information public within their circle of friends. (Muise, Christofides, Desmarais, 442) Anyone that is your friend can look at your wall posts and read into it wrong and start a huge rumor about you that ruins your reputation. It is that easy for a simple post on Facebook to be turned into a rumor and soon enough it will be all over your wall and all your friends will see it, making Facebook a center for gossip. That is why I believe if the wall posting service is used unwisely it can turn Facebook into a social disaster waiting to happen. Facebook makes it easy to see what is going on in everyone lives.
It gives you notifications when anyone does something such as post on your wall or make a comment on your status or pictures. On your home page it gives you a play by play of what everyone of your friends are doing over Facebook. It tells you when they are online so if you wanted to have a brief conversation with them you could just click on their picture icon and a little chat box will pop up. Also on the home page all your friend’s status changes will be listed on it and you can freely comment or like them whenever you would like.
I think these notifications are very helpful ways to quickly send out a conversation to someone so you can keep up a relationship with someone even when our lives are hectic and we don’t have time to sit down with them for coffee. However, Facebook is very addicting. Tynee Seno from the Philippines quotes, “On average, I spend about four hours a day on Facebook- more time then I spend outside. ” (Facebook and You, 34) From personal experience, I can suspect that Tynee is not just conversing with others over facebook for the whole four hours he is on Facebook everyday.
When I spend an overwhelming amount of time on Facebook I’m usually looking for an “in”. I don’t know how many times I have read something over Facebook and went immediately to my phone to text someone about what I had read over facebook. “Did you see what she posted on his wall? ” And as simple as that, another gossip chain has begun. For many, it is not intentional to start this gossip chain. As humans, we are just very curious beings and sometime I even believe that jealousy can get involved. “Facebook may expose an individual to potentially jealousy-provoking information. (Muise, Christofides, and Desmarais, 443) Like I said before, we don’t do this on purpose. It is just in our human nature to do this. However, I want to encourage you that next time you read something on Facebook that wasn’t meant for you to read, instead of going and sharing it with the world, try to look past it. Just think how you would feel if you posted something without thinking who all would see your post and it ended up getting spread around in a nasty rumor. If we can avoid this we can avoid making Facebook a place where simple socialization can turn into a disaster.
So my advice is, next time you sit down at that computer and go straight to Facebook be careful because you wouldn’t want a simple post to be the start of a social disaster. I think that overall Facebook has great potential in helping people communicate with others. It helps me communicate with people from Mexico by allowing me to be friends with whomever I want, as well as helping me keep in touch with people through its different venues for communicating with people. I think that Facebook is a great social network, however, I believe that it can be made into a social disaster if it were to be misused.
Works Cited "Facebook and You. (Cover story). " Time 175. 21 (2010): 34-35. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 2 Nov. 2010. Fletcher, Dan, and Andrea Ford. "Friends Without Borders. (Cover story). " Time 175. 21 . (2010): 32-38. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 2 Nov. 2010. Muise, Amy, Emily Christofides, and Serge Desmarais. "More Information than You Ever Wanted: Does Facebook Bring Out the Green-Eyed Monster of Jealousy?. " CyberPsychology & Behavior 12. 4 (2009): 441-444. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 2 Nov. 2010