In the current world, every single minute happens something that needs attention. For instance, an email, a text message, a voicemail and a Facebook update. A new generation has grown up with the ability to watch TV, read emails from laptops, update Facebook status, and chat with friends at the same time (multitasking). Social networking is an open forum where each individual has an equal opportunity to give his/her opinions regarding a particular issue. Usually, there are no barriers limiting users from contributing, although factors like language or personal traits can restrain users’ interaction in the social socialization settings (Alef 42). Facebook was originally designed to allow its users connect with friends, share photos, and communicate as well as to stay in touch to each other through long distance amongst them (Lusted 78). It has transformed to be a platform whereby one can share photos of mundane activities like what he/she is eating, communicate with people one has not seen for many years, share with others where he/she is, what or whom one like or does not like (Papacharissi 135). As part of these socializing sites, Facebook has provided many opportunities, however people should be conscious while this and other social networking sites transform life.
Society has experienced paradigm shifts in the social life and a basic change of one’s attitude and belief system, especially where individual acquire their personal identity, and learn the norms, skills, and their appropriate behavior according to their social positions (Miller 177). The initiation of Facebook has triggered the growth of a new language which is characterized by the use of abbreviations, some kind of coded language which is clearly understood by users from a specific region or linguistic. Thus, users are classified into several clusters conversant with certain language.
The downside is that there is a possibility of accounts on Facebook abuse by those users who have sham accounts and sham statuses that are written by others, commonly known as ‘frappe’. Friends’ emails, especially their photos, can be trawled and cause some hours of procrastination as contacts involve in Facebook stalking (Wankel 222). These activities are innocently fun: however research has indicated that they actually add stress to the users’ lifestyle. The phenomenon ‘Facebook envy’ becomes a common problem on the basis of the overwhelming number of captivating photographs on ones news feed and some of its users have claimed Facebook can have negative impacts on their life styles. There is also the fear that one can offend others, namely by unaccepted friend request or cases of unfriending by others. Moreover, the feeling of being impelled to use proper etiquette when communicating with friends may lead to online stress, which negatively impacts one’s social life.
As a user, I know of exposure and the dangers Facebook has, for instance, the consciousness that one has to have while updating any information on his/her status. Such cases have led to cautions from company departments and even horror stories about students having been denied job opportunities due to their contents on their Facebook walls or the images they portrayed on their walls. In such cases, Facebook negatively affects the social economic status of its users. Facebook is also becoming a domineering part of our culture and people’s daily life. However, all these are based on our common sense.
Social media have affected the way of socialization and communication (Atwood and Gallo 67). Although not too much, a lot has been written on how social media, especially Facebook, has greatly affected person’s social skills, language, behavior and the way of interacting with others. English film director and actor Ralph Fiennes affirms that the use of social media, especially Facebook, is both eroding and diluting modern language such that a sentence with more than one clause and a word with more than two syllables are becoming a big problem for most of people (Maurieni 76). Another report by the Guardian showed that 90 percent of “people who score highly on the N.P.I.Q (Narcissistic Personality Inventory Questionnaire) had more of their friends on Facebook” where they tagged themselves or updated their statuses more often (Maurieni 76). This report also revealed that teenage people are tending to be more narcissistic or obsessed with shallow friendships and self-image.
Larry Rosen, a researcher based at the University of California specializing in social networks, tried to explain how the digital generation behaves compared to their predecessors. He said that they grew in a world without tweets, mobile phones or Internet. According to him, “There are no magic formulae”, guardians and parents should talk to their siblings about what they do while online, but not criticize them. He also added that frequent or perennial Facebooking can be associated with the lack of empathy, depression and narcissism in adolescence. Social media, especially Facebook, unveiled the field for all sorts of things. For instance, approximately twenty years ago, the worst fear in school was being bullied in the dining hall. However, currently, cyber-bullying is the greatest threat to the youths of contemporary generation. Today’s students are not afraid of openly publishing information about themselves or the others on the social media (Mayrhofer 55). They are not aware of the consequences of it as long as they share it with someone. The issue of cyber-bullying has become a big problem and has driven some children to committing suicide.
However, there are positive sides of Facebook, namely it has over 400 million users around the globe to interact with. Currently, many businesses are creating their own fan pages were they are closely interacting with their customers, exchange ideas, and give their own views towards their services. A very good example is Super Sport and Coca-Cola, which have increased their social capacity of their customers throughout the world by using Facebook. The business–customer relationship is never one-sided, since firms or companies are using their Facebook page to get immediate feedback from users on their products. Also, in the field of education, teachers and lecturers use Facebook to socialize with their students and parents without necessarily coming face to face. They use Facebook to post announcements, create class blogs, and issue homework (Atwood and Gallo 57). The youths commonly use Facebook to advertise their functions or send invitations. Today’s socialization has gone to a level that there is no need to gather everyone’s postal address, instead, it is sufficient to create a page and invite all friends, which is easier and time-saving than manual invitations.
When the site is used as intended, negative impacts will reduce, and restraints need to be shown in order to avoid being a platform of telling everyone anything or anyone everything. After all, the majority of people love Facebook, and it has developed to be a part and parcel of one’s life, for instance, mine. I have to login Facebook everyday and see what is happening with my family, friends, and people, and share with them my daily experiences. From the social point of view, Facebook has changed and is still changing the society in both good and bad ways, which are both beneficial and disastrous to the society. However, it all depends on one’s luck and how people use its benefits in a sober manner.