Victims of the Facebook phenomenon

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Helen Clare Furton
Contributing Writer

The irresistibility of that blue compound-word has created a popularity so thriving that Mark Zuckerberg, creator and CEO of Facebook, recently filed a public offering at a starting value between 75 and 125 billion dollars. This company’s rapid growth has not resulted merely from Facebook’s availability in 70 languages to over 800 million members, but because members spend 400 billion minutes per month on the social network. Consider the ungodly amount of wealth generated through advertising on this site, and why you and the world make it possible through your obsession with Facebook.

On Facebook in the “newsroom” you can read what Mark Zuckerberg presents as the mission of his brain child: “Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” This is a commendable mission statement.

But if your Facebook page contains pictures of you drinking at a party, then you are not networking to stay in touch with your parents or promoting yourself to future employers. Besides providing damning evidence as to how you spend your time, you are making personal information about yourself available to whomever is interested.

Facebook is undoubtedly an effective way to communicate on a certain level.  Every picture of you can be uploaded so that every person you’ve known since middle school knows what you did last night.  It is also good for sharing pictures among close friends of a fun weekend or vacation.  But unless you use the privacy settings to their full extent, you are giving permission to perhaps a thousand of your Facebook “friends” to look at them too.

The truth is, having previous knowledge regarding another will have an effect, whether positive or negative, on your opinion of that individual.  A Facebook profile is only a projection of how someone wishes to be viewed, which is in turn subject to the viewer’s interpretation. One’s actual personality is filtered and warped, producing a far from accurate understanding.  Information plus misinterpretation leads to unbelievable amounts of gossip and stalking.

Users should be aware of the social influence they absorb from the distorted world of Facebook. Society, friendships and people are complicated enough without the chaos of an online world. Real human interaction and communication is hampered and undermined by modern technology, including but not limited to texting, blogging and Facebook. Research has shown that Facebook can have a negative effect on relationships and that there is a significant relationship between time spent on Facebook and satisfaction with life.

Ask yourself how many times you check your Facebook or just how many times you hear the word “Facebook” every day. Are you even aware of how much of your day is spent under the influence of this site? Facebook is the ultimate form of gossip, giving you and everybody else everything needed to form opinions and ideas about others without any face-to-face contact. Regardless of the original purpose of Facebook, it has gone far beyond that, changing our world and how we relate to one another. Let’s try not to forget that Facebook is a virtual world and the real people are right here.

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