Facebook is one of the most popular social networks, having about 350 million members who spend 10 billion minutes collectively per day. Activities on Facebook range from writing on peoples walls, to keeping in pace with the drastic change the social world. This social media is becoming popular with businesses, political organizations as well civic groups. They are fast embracing use of Facebook as it offers them valuable connections. This social network has greatly benefited the society. However, some negative consequences of the social media such as increased procrastination, bullying, as well as gossip mongering have impacted negatively on our society. This write up regards Facebook as a breakthrough in the current society as it has benefitted the society a great deal. It further recommends that users should exercise self control and behave responsibly to maintain the gain the site has availed. This would help overcome the habit of addiction to Facebook; a tendency that is not desirable.
According to Dubner (2008), social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blog-friendly phones provide mechanisms, by which users can share information, communicate and hang out. Across the world, social media has been instrumental in several ways; bringing people together, enable learning and provision of outlets for creative expression. However, the question the society is grappling with today is whether social networking technology has come with good or has worsened the state of the society. The social, economic and physiological impacts of social media on the society have stirred up a lot of debate. Those who base their argument on negative coverage by the media normally judge social media as an outright evil. This write up examines Facebook as a social media that has done much good than harm to the society. It further identifies the little evil, majorly obsession, which Facebook has imparted on the users, and possible ways through which this menace can be overcome.
Importance of Facebook
Though it has its negative impacts due to obsession, the social networking technology has some advantages. Facebook enables one to manage a huge number of acquaintances and meet new friends. In addition, it helps reconnect old friends and rebuild families. For instance, Stone (2009) narrates how Karen Haber, who lives outside Tel Aviv, relies on Facebook to reconnect to her relatives. Each night, the mother of two puts her children to bed, after which she logs to her account to look for her relatives who are dispersed from Bachenheimer due to Holocaust. Additionally, Facebook provides a platform for online socializing and even coordination of in-person meetings. Users of Facebook tend to have a higher bridging social capital scores as compared to those who do not use it. This results from building contact with people who may contribute useful information for the development of the users. Social media has enabled teens that are not capable of meeting their friends and family members, due to distance or other restrictions, to remain intimate. For instance, parents are able to maintain meaningful contact with their siblings who have gone to college (Dubner, 2008).
Personal Privacy versus Facebook Obsession
According to Collegiate Times (2009) Facebook has basic privacy measures that enable people to share certain information only with friends. However, he warns that this should make those who are obsessed to the social network assume that the information they post is under their control and that of whoever they share it with. This is partly true as asserted by the Facebook team; however users should be aware that any information posted on Facebook may not be completely private. Therefore, it is good that those who are addicted to the social networking site be informed that they are putting their personal privacy at risk and should be ready to bare whatever consequences that arise. Collegiate Times (2009) further notes that the consequences may be good to users; train them to express themselves responsibly. Unfortunately, the huge growth of Facebook is causing inevitable collisions, more so with the meaning of “friend” becoming elastic day by day. In actual sense, social networking has devalued the meaning of “friend” in our current society. Traditionally, friendship embraces; support, trust, as well as compatible values, but on social network a “friend” may mean anybody whose name you have clicked.
While contributing on the dangers of obsession to Facebook, Stone (2009) notes that careless posts on Facebook have, in some situations, severed the relationships between employers and their employees. This is common in circumstances where employees are friends with the employers on Facebook. For example, when Brain Dawkins was allowed by Philadelphia Eagles to go to Denver Broncos, Dan Leone an employee at Lincoln Financial Field was disappointed at this. He openly expressed this discontent with obscenity through an update on his account. Unfortunately, Leone’s boss was his friend on Facebook, and forwarded the update to Mr. Leone’s employer, who in turn fired him. Mr. Leone later expressed remorse for the wrong he did, but the team declined to reconsider his case (Stone, 2009).
Obsession with Facebook
As much as we enumerate several gains that have come with social networking; we can never ignore their negative impacts on the society. Facebook obsession is one of the major challenges to the users; it robes people of their time. For example, Dan Kimball observes how Facebook has affected people even in the church. He narrated how at one time he had been invited as the guest speaker in some church, when he saw a staff member who was responsible for service coordination busy chatting on Facebook. On another occasion, Kimball visited a Christian college and this time round sat at the back of the class during lecture. As the professor was teaching about the New Testament, Kimball noticed that almost a third of the students were busy surfing. Moreover, Kimball admits that this obsession has not spared him as well. One day when he was coming from church, he wanted to log in and read blogs, especially one focused on mission theology. He then received a text from a friend inviting him to a club to watch a band. Though, honoring this invitation would make him respond to missionary work, which was his actual call, it became an uphill task for him to decide on whether to fulfill his call or go home and enjoy the comfort while surfing (Kimball, 2009).
According to Hafner (2009), Facebook tends to be more distractive to teenagers who spend a lot of their time in it at the cost of their studies. It is, therefore, needful that the school-going age be able to find amicable solution to this problem. However, this is a noble task and most people have tried to break from the addiction in vain. This is based on the fact that it brings family members, colleagues, and friends together enabling it to create strong ties that bind the users to the site. This bond becomes so strong that those who try to leave find themselves back to the network. Additionally, addiction to Facebook has caused wrangle leading to separation of families as either couples increasingly spend less time together. Equally, children have lacked the opportunity to develop their interpersonal skills as face to face interaction in increasingly being replaced with Facebook surfing; especially among those who are obsessed with the new technology (Stone, 2009).
It is encouraging that some teenagers have recognized Facebook obsession as menace and have devised strategies to deal with obsession. For example, two juniors at San Francisco University High school, Halley Lamberson aged 17, and her friend Monica Reed, 16, agreed to help each other overcome the temptation of logging in to Facebook. The two explained that they had spent too much time being obsessed with Facebook and finally decided to take a break from it. They made a mutual agreement to log into Facebook only once every month; on the first Saturday of the month. The two vowed to continue with their break from Facebook until they finish their studies. On the other hand, other teenagers have resorted to account deactivation while others have given their accounts to trustworthy friends who change password to their accounts and only allow then log in when it is really necessary (Hafner, 2009).
In conclusion, Facebook is a fast growing social media and is virtually penetrating every part of the society. Whether positive or negative; it is true that Facebook and other social networks have impacted our society. However, the society will experience tremendous benefit from social sites if every person will use the sites responsibly. Finally, all stakeholders should rise to the occasion and help teenagers overcome obsession to Facebook.