Facebook: Changing the Definition of a Relationship
Facebook. A social networking site that now has over 500 million active users, and as stated by Hitwise, now the Most Visited Website in 2010. It is undoubtedly changing the vast realm of socializing.
But before I start talking about Facebook, let me first tell you about how I actually use the service.
Facebook, for me, is a medium to post links, to share what I've discovered on the internet, and also to see what photos I'm tagged in. If there is one thing I commend Facebook, it is for their photo tagging service. Never have I thought how convenient it would be to look at all the photos of a person (regardless of who took the photo). However, rarely do I stare at my news feed, rarely do I visit other people's profiles, and only when I am extremely bored, would I even consider playing a Facebook game.
One thing that I want bring to attention is the way Facebook is subtly changing the definition of a relationship between two different people.
People stalk their friends on Facebook all day, and get a sense of closeness with the person; inadvertently creating a misconception that they know the person. When they actually meet a friend in real life, they talk about things that they posted or seen on each other's profiles. Is this what a friendship is? Is this what close friends are like? Facebook rids relationships of their deepness, and strives for contentment on a surface-level connection.
And what's up with Facebook changing "wall-to-wall" to "see friendship"? Once again, they're subtly promoting the idea that a friendship is what it says on that friendship page.
I guess internet addictions come and go, but I've never seen so many people block (or change the password to their) Facebook during finals season, which portrays the addictive nature this service. People need to be on Facebook to feel connected, to feel like the know what's going on. I guess this is similar to gossiping, but once this starts to dictate the relationships a person has with his or her friends, I feel that that's when it gets out of line.
I fear the day when people will need to be on Facebook to get to know their friends, or just to feel sociable. But, oh wait. It's already happening.