Facebook is a social networking website that was originally designed for
college students, but is now open to anyone 13 years of age or older.
Facebook users can create and customize their own profiles with photos, videos,
and information about themselves. Friends can browse the profiles of other
friends and write messages on their pages.
Facebook was originally developed by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 initially only for students of Harvard. Once its popularity grew its member base included other ivy league schools in USA, then high schools and eventually opened up to the public in 2006. These days most people have a 'profile' and spend much of their day on the social networking site, myself included.
It is astounding how quickly social networking, particularly facebook, has taken over so much time in our lives. Through the use of smart phones we have access, at all times of the day and night, to our friends and family and can follow what they are up to second by second.
But how much is too much? Do we really need to have photographic evidence of what we are eating for dinner every night? Do we really need to know which friends are going to the gym and which are going out to the cinema? It seems there are some that would like the world to know every waking moment of their lives, they seek approval for every mundane event they are up to. There seem to be no boundaries as to what is appropriate for the facebook world to know and what is not. Before we sober up and regret a posting it is 'out there' for all of our 'friends' to access, copy and share before we can possibly hope to remove it.
Future employers can quickly search the facebook profile of a propsective employee's name and see what they can find before they make their final decision. Although there are many privacy settings available to users, these are not always utilised wisely or checked that they are still in place after facebook constantly update their privacy and user settings.
I don't believe that social media is necessarily a bad thing, after all it is here to stay in all of its many forms such as twitter, pinterest and instagram which are also trying to gain the popular following that facebook has found. I actually think facebook is a really good thing, after all before this technology was available how else could we possibly converse with ALL of our friends and family from everywhere on earth at the same time? We can now update our 'friends' with pictures of our growing children and important events that are going on in our lives. The question is 'How much is too much?' The answer to this seems to differ depending on your values in life and often your age. Whilst there are many parents that adore being able to share newborn pictures with people they care about but are unlikely to get a chance to visit, others are sick of those pictures and just want to show their latest outfit to their next party. It all depends on what is going on in your phase of life.
The great thing about facebook is that if you don't like it, don't use it! Also if you don't like what people post on your page, or on theirs, then you can 'unfriend' them even better 'block' them and they are out of your life for good (at least in social networking)! Where else in the world do we get this much control? In addition, watching what people post can tell you a lot about that person, before we didn't get an 'inside view' into others lives, now we do. Arguably it is a view that tells us often more than we wanted to know about a person, however, it can also allow us to reach out and help someone in their time of need that we may not have known about any other way.
Facebook is a learning experience which is ongoing and, despite threats of this popular forum phasing out, I personally think that it will be here for some time to come. Facebook is becoming more and more popular, particularly in my generation and older, where more and more friends and relatives learn to access this 'new' experience with joy and become just as addicted as the rest of us. After all, we all have a tendency toward voyeurism whether we are prepared to admit it or not, otherwise we would not have a facebook account!
Personally I really enjoy facebook, however, I am concerned how often I seem to 'check in' and see what is going on but really scroll endlessly through a boring lot of drivel that doesn't interest me in any way. I like posting family activities, interesting and inspiring quotes and 'big' events in my family or my life. That may very well bore the hell out of some people, but it will also be interesting to others; particularly those that are interested in the same kind of things I am. That is the beauty of facebook, if you aren't interested you can just scroll past it. I have to say that pictures of meals and the 'check in' updates bore the hell out of me, but I guess for some it's a good way of keeping tabs on what their mates are up to without having to ask. For me, I really appreciate the positive and inspiring quotes and some of the amazing pictures from around the world. I believe instead of isolating humanity, it is actually bringing us all closer and more intimate than ever before.
Before I was bored enough to become a member of facebook, whilst on maternity leave during 2009, I have to say I did not appreciate all the positives that could come from social networking. Being able to update my own status with pictures and comments when travelling around the world has made life much easier to update 'everyone' at the same time. Having the capacity to follow my niece's life via photo's from a different country is amazing. Being able to share in the lives of family overseas is all encompassing and a blessing. Catching up with how my high school and even some primary school friends are going has been rewarding; scrolling through photo's of how they are living their lives and viewing pictures of their children is something I would not have been able to do prior to social networking. I appreciate the technology, if used appropriately it can be an amazing tool to enhance our lives.
How exactly we decide what 'appropriately' means, is up to us...