Sunday, August 19, 2012

Friendship in a *click* (by anon)

Facebook is changing the world we live! Facebook was created to help people to stay closer to their family and friends. Social networking sites like Facebook have many benefits including: an avenue to initiate and maintain contact, more resources for relationships, convenient communication, easy group communication, and selective self-presentation. Even though there are many benefits, there are plenty of consequences.

The disadvantages of Facebook far outweigh the benefits. These sites are changing the way we communicate! People no longer need to write letters or pick up the phone when they can type and press send. In addition to changing communication, Facebook is changing how new relationships develop or do not. When meeting someone new, many people first check out their Facebook profile, and make assumptions. These assumptions may lead some to miss out on what could have been a valuable relationship. This simple mistake may cause people to judge too quickly and miss out on new relationships. 

Facebook can hinder possible friendships as well as reduce the quality of friendship. “Friends” on social networking sites are not always friends. A Facebook friendship requires one to send a friend request and after the friend request is accepted, the two are friends unless one chooses to delete or block the other. This concept has begun to change the definition of friendship today. Friends should be defined as someone who cares about and is affectionate toward another. However, Facebook has changed that definition to someone met one time. Many Facebook relationships are superficial. This illusion of friends only adds to the distorted reality that selective, full disclosure influences. Selective disclosure can include the relationship status. A new question today for couples is, “Are you Facebook official?” It is concerning that couples today feel that they have to click a button on Facebook to be in a relationship. A relationship should be defined by the individuals not Facebook.  Another problem occurs when users of social networking sites are corralled into uniformity. In a time like high school, many students are still finding themselves and are not comfortable being who they really are. Therefore, they may selectively display “cool” information to be like others. This does not lead to honest, true relationships but false, superficial ones.

Another danger of Facebook is that it is easy to lie and deceive. When hiding behind a screen, people can be whoever they want to be. It is not difficult to make a fake Facebook. Facebook provides an alternate universe where people can act differently and be whoever they want to be. The concept of the ease of deceiving on Facebook can magnify cyber-bullying. Facebook provides many easy avenues to be mean allowing someone who never had the intent to bully to quickly become a cyber-bully. Drama and conflict can easily spiral out of control. Social networking sites often lead to unwanted contact. Anyone can send anyone a friend request including an ex-best friend or ex-boyfriend. A simple friend request can make the receiver wonder why the sender is thinking about them. Social networking sites are known to lead to jealousy and trust issues. Facebook causing jealousy in a romantic relationship is a common problem. A comment may be misinterpreted and cause the significant other to go on high alert. Moreover, social networking sites can make cheating easy. It is simple for someone to start snooping around out of mere curiosity, but this curiosity could easily lead to an affair.

In addition to cheating and lying, Facebook makes it difficult to escape the past, much less move on. Untangling the web of Facebook from an ex can be a difficult process. The past in never far away on Facebook. Facebook is making it harder to leave the past behind and causes harm to the emotions as well as unhealthy behaviors like creeping. Social networking sites can lead to an increase in socialness online and a decrease offline. Instead of actually doing something and spending time with other human beings, they sit in front of the screen. Therefore, Facebook may actually encourage loner behavior. In addition, if friends are present online, then there is no need to go out and make real life friends. Time online is time not spent with friends and family.  This alternative Facebook reality gives people the chance to be elsewhere at any point in time. Even when face-to-face interaction is present, some still choose the Facebook world. Social networking sites support the trend of quantity rather than quality. Today we have plenty of acquaintances, but how many people do we have in our lives that we trust and can count on for support?

People need to be aware of the benefits and dangers of Facebook so that relationships and loved ones can be protected. If people are aware of the fundamental shift of relationships that Facebook is causing, energy can be focused on real friendships and not the superficial world of Facebook.  If the dangers of Facebook are known, in the long run people can keep their true friends close instead of being left alone.


  1. Does this mean you don't want to friends with me?

  2. Facebook is not the problem - people are the problem. People, with or without social networking sites like Facebook, are going to do things like deceive others, make assumptions about people, and have fake relationships. And there are all kinds of avenues for getting away with doing that sort of stuff; Facebook is just one of them.

    The thing about Facebook (and other social networking sites) is that it facilitates bad behavior, and having it readily available and easy to use allows problems to arise quicker and more frequently, thus more interpersonal issues emerge and get detected making it appear that Facebook is actually the cause rather than the conduit, as you've indicated in your post.

    It is foolish to say though that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits with Facebook (did I mention I might not even be reading this blog right now if it weren't for Facebook?). Not only can one easily avoid and get over the disadvantages you speak of, but furthermore, it isn't even a matter of Facebook being faulty, it's a matter of people being faulty.

    From your post, it doesn't seem like you've given this issue very much thought. It is easy to point to something like Facebook and complain that it's causing a "fundamental shift of relationships", making them go down the drain and so on and so forth, but if you look closer, you'll see that is simply not the case.

    Facebook merely gives people all of the tools necessary to carry on habits of snooping around, making assumptions, maintaining fake relationships and fake identities, etc., habits which they would most likely carry on in some fashion regardless of Facebook's existence. So don't strike at Facebook because you're upset with people and how they choose to use Facebook.

    On a final note, I think it goes without saying that the internet in general is a place full of deceit and misconceptions, and if people don't already understand that, I'd say there's a much bigger problem to be dealt with.