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Facebook, a Friend or a Folly?

alt So at last, passing “What is your home address?” and “What is your phone number?” it has come down to asking “Are you on Facebook ?”

Facebook is a social networking service launched in February 2004.It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his mates during his days of studying in Harvard College. The membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students at the beginning of this but was soon expanded to other colleges and then to high school and finally, to anyone aged 13 and older with a valid email address. As of January 2011, Facebook has more than 600 million active users.

One of the very first questions that come in finding the answer to our topic is ‘Why people use Facebook?”. If I ask the same question from you, the answers I get will probably be like “I want to stay in touch with friends” or even “I go just for fun”.

Psychologists often say that people are social animals and have a ‘feeling to belong’ in a community. Things like groups allow you to get some of that feeling by joining. That’s probably the reason why groups/pages are so popular on Facebook. If we list out the reasons for using Facebook according to the priority level, they will mostly be like,

- Keeping In touch
Connecting with people who are away from home. Online chatting.

- Passive contact
Social surveillance Virtual people watching

- Re- acquiring lost contacts
Reconnecting with people who have lost contact with. Finding people who have lost contact for a while.

- Communication
Poking, Facebook messages, writing on walls.

- Photo sharing
Tagging, commenting and posting pictures.

- Perpetual contacts
Seeing the status other people have put, posting status.

- Making new contacts
Talking to singles, getting to know new friends.

- Business purposes
Promoting businesses and keeping in touch with the customer.

alt Another bigger reason among young in using Facebook is to “reduce stress” and it is said this is probably one of the most common reason why people in general use Facebook.Anyway if you have ever been a student, you know that stress is a thing that a student can never avoid with all the anticipation for grades, preparing for tests etc. So students have a way bigger chance to have stress than other age groups. So while we can say that students use Facebook as a way of reducing stress, we can’t say that people in general use Facebook for this purpose. Also, people from different parts of the world may have different reasons for being on this social networking service.

Whether Facebook have a positive or a negative impact on students is a question that is being discussed widely and many parents will be eager to know the answer for Facebook has become an obsession for most of the young generation today.

Disappointed some may be, to know the conclusion it has got from a survey to the above question but it is said that “Grades of students who checked Facebook while studying were 20% lower than grades of those who didn’t check Facebook while studying. Well, it cannot be taken as a surprise because if a student is the big need of studying for an important exam is distracted every few minutes by the urge to check Facebook status updates and all the friend gossips, it only makes sense that the student will be less engaged in learning, absorb less knowledge and likely score lower on the test.

alt Identity theft is another problem that Facebook users face. One can easily create an account and impersonate another person, often for malicious or mischievous reasons and to harass others. This criticism is not unique to Facebook, since any site using user accounts has the potential for users to create false accounts.As Facebook is widely used as a photo sharing tool, the crimes of misusing and corrupting photos is there. Facebook's privacy settings, combined with the sheer volume of personal information individuals put on their profiles, have also led to claims that Facebook could encourage cyberstalking and it is discovered tha Facebook as a possible tool for cyberbullying, with the possibilities of anonymous profiles and the creation of groups allowing bullies to target individuals online.

But however the increasing number of Facebook users cannot be without good and proper reasons. Facebook is a site where you can do a number of things that is different from the experience that you have on a traditional forum. It’s more of a 2 way interaction than on a blog. There are a lot of things to ‘do’ which sounds odd. Apart from the things which can be said as ‘important’, still, people like playing with the app’s for there are many diversions there. The message system there is nicer to read than email.

Making a profile is quick & then you can look around. It can be predicted that Facebook is going to become more mainstream.When you use it as in a good aspect, Facebook is one of the most useful sites for all and at the same time if some one uses it in doing bad things the result can be much worse than it would be if they used another media.

In the end it is all about how the user may use it. As in any other thing that exists, if we use Facebook in a safe, intelligent and fine manner, it can be a very good friend to us and if we do not care much for our safety and use it in an appalling way, it can be more than just a folly !

Copyright © 2011 Xtream Youth. All rights reserved.

Written by Vindya Vithana (Creative Writer at Xtream Youth)

For further inquiries on articles please contact our administrators : Ignatious Jayathilake | Kasun Malith

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