Is Facebook really bringing us together?

December 14, 2011

Political Theory


I found the recent New York Times article entitled “The Facebook Resisters” to be extremely interesting.  The article includes several testimonials from those who refuse to use facebook. While facebook claims to “build closer ties among friends and colleagues” many people argue that it actually does the opposite.

The article can be accessed here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/technology/shunning-facebook-and-living-to-tell-about-it.html?_r=1

This article contains testimonials from past facebook users who decided to stop using the social networking site because they thought it was giving them a false sense of connection with their friends.  They no longer needed to call their friends in order to catch up.  They could simply look through their wall and photos to see what had been going on in their lives.

In my personal experience, I have seen facebook create and ruin friendships.  Facebook affords people the opportunity to speak their minds, and sometimes users take advantage of this feature.  I have seen people give their personal opinion on a controversial issue and create quite an uproar.  The newsfeed feature allows for users to see the most popular posts and photos on their friend’s facebooks, and this only draws in more users to these frequently commented on items.

This article also touches on the point that norms are changing and it is now considered strange to not have a facebook account.

What is your take on facebook? Do you think facebook is bringing us closer together, or do you think it is doing the opposite?

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3 Comments on “Is Facebook really bringing us together?”

  1. Rainyo Says:

    I agree that Facebook can both create and destroy relationships, it just depends on how a user wishes to conduct himself/herself on the website. I have had a Facebook account for a little over 3 years now, and I can say that I find it a brilliant networking tool. Not only does it help keep in contact with friends after going off to college, but it is a great way to keep business connections too. I’m a film major, so Facebook’s a way for me to keep in contact with other filmmakers I have worked with, and is also a way in which I can readily mobilize people together to create a new film. But yeah, there is definitely a dark side to Facebook, especially with the advent of cyber-bullying in recent years. I mean, kids have killed themselves by what others have said through Facebook or its predecessor, Myspace. But that is why Facebook has ‘blocking’ capabilities and abuse report to try and handle these negative situations to the best of their ability. However, I digress. Facebook definitely does not give us a false sense of connection. It may be false for anti-social individuals out there who literally live through the internet, such as the Second Life internet community. We are a civilization who want to move faster and faster, and have things readily at our disposal, and Facebook does that for us. No one puts flyers out for parties anymore, they send an invite to your Facebook account. You can open group chats to talk to classmates about a test. You can see what’s the next hot concert coming to town, and seeing which friends of yours are going. Facebook is the digital segway to real life.

  2. andgoldberg Says:

    I agree with what Rainyo says, except a big issue that hasn’t been brought up is privacy. Privacy is a huge issue when talking about Facebook because of how much information each user puts up on their Facebook walls. Not only does your Facebook reveal information about how you look and who your friends are, it also shows where you live, your hometown, phone number, and many other personal facts. This is troublesome with the amount of traffic the internet receives. If there weren’t millions of people on the internet each day this would not be an issue. Essentially, society should view Facebook as an optional way to stay in touch with friends. If someone thinks that Facebook “ruins friendships” then I would suggest to them to delete their Facebook. In my opinion, Facebook provides me a medium through which I can stay in contact with old friends from high school and family members.

  3. acicurel Says:

    I feel that Facebook keeps people together. On my mac I have an application that keeps Facebook on my computer constantly and notifies me when someone interacts with my wall in any way. This means that my friends and I have the constant ability to communicate with one another. This brings us together. Using Facebook does not mean that my friends and I do not interact with one another in person still. In fact, it makes it easier for us to do so. Facebook makes it easier for my friends and I to plan get togethers. For better or worse because of Facebook I know more about my friends and what they are doing during the day.

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