The Impact of Facebook on Today's Society

Monday, September 27, 2010

The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the topic of social networking. Specifically it will discuss the impact of the social networking site Facebook on today's society. Facebook has become a phenomenon for the social networking set, and what makes that so amazing is that Facebook did not even exist until 2004. Three college students created it to allow other students to network and meet each other, and it has caught on with young people around the globe.

What impact does Facebook have on today's technologically advanced society? It allows people who probably never would have met each other in person to communicate, it creates new relationships and friendships, and it places distance between people who could communicate in person but instead choose to communicate online, instead. It is just another element of society that is interested in sharing information with the intimacy of a close, personal relationship.

Experts estimate that many people now spend at least 50 percent of their waking time online (Fabian, 2008). For many, a large part of this time is spent in social networking sites like Facebook. People give up huge parts of their privacy when they post their feelings, interests, and ideas online, and society seems to be becoming much more open to this lack of privacy, in fact, the users of Facebook seem to relish it, adding very personal items to their profiles that anyone who becomes their friend can view.

This seems to say that our society is much more open now, and much more open to posting intimate information online, but it also is rather anonymous in a way, because users never see, meet, or touch the person they communicate with, and so, even though they know intimate details, they do not really know the person at all.

Writer Fabian continues, "Facebook and My Space are virtual experiences. People are free to be someone they aren't. Peer review doesn't exist. You don't literally touch anyone--not even by a smile, to say nothing of a handshake. No one is accountable to anyone else. And so forth" (Fabian, 2008). Thus, Facebook is kind of a "fantasy land" where people can make up anything they want to command attention, they can live an alternative life if they choose, and no one is the wiser.

The fact that people accept these profiles at face value, and choose people as friends based on these profiles says a lot about our society. For all our worries about information and identity theft, people are still seemingly naive when it comes to sites like Facebook, where they post intimate details with no thoughts to the consequences.

In conclusion, Facebook on the surface is a socially acceptable networking site for college students and others to connect, share experiences, and meet old friends. It does say some disturbing things about how our society views privacy, personal information, and how our society is adjusting to the age of technology, and it brings into question what a generation of Facebookers will deal with the challenges of the real world in person, like career, family, and success.

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