Facebook: antichrist of intimacy or savior of relationships?

Facebook: antichrist of intimacy or savior of relationships?

"Technology... the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it."

~Max Frisch

It's funny to me the way that I can trace the evolution of electronic social networking through my own personal experiences. It started in middle school when I discovered AOL instant messenger (or AIM to the cool kids). I remember spending hours sitting in front of the family computer talking to friends from school while watching creed music videos online (yes, creed). Then towards the beginning of high school I was trendy enough to advance myself into the world of Myspace. The flashy colors and "artsy" pictures drove my adolescent mind wild. I had never seen so many attractive girls. How did myspace make everyone look so good??? I now had the ability to talk to people without actually having to talk to people. As if the phone wasn't non-confrontational enough, now I could talk to girls without ever having to muster the courage to call them. It was awesome, but I was so unready for what was next.

Halfway through high school i made the controversial leap to facebook and life has never been the same since. Hi, my name is jordan and facebook owns my life. I'm going to choose not to describe the way that facebook owns my life because I'm pretty sure that if you're reading this then it probably owns yours as well. We're all in it together (or at least, that's what the news feed says).

What I am here to discuss and analyze are the effects of facebook on relationships. I find it interesting that no one will ever readily admit how much they love facebook. When asked why they have a facebook, the average person responds with, "it's really good for keeping in touch with friends who live far away." Yeah, ok. I believe that almost as much as I believe that Fox news is unbiased. While facebook is awesome for keeping in touch with friends who live out of the same town, let's be real. If we all spent half as much time connecting with old friends as we did stalking other people, the world would be a peaceful and happy place. Let me guess, you don't stalk people? Sure. So let's delve into these pros and cons and figure out what we really think...

stockvault_7258_20070301The pros are simple because in my opinion, they are usually the excuses. 1) Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people. This is very true because there are literally hundreds of people I see on facebook every day whom I no longer speak with on a regular basis. However, most of the time, I don't care. Let's be real, do we really have facebook accounts so that we can see what Suzie Q from high school is doing on a wednesday night? No. I will mention that since my family has started to acquire facebook accounts I have had the ability to communicate with them easier than ever before. This is fantastic in the regard that my whole family can contact me through facebook, and not so good because my entire family can contact me through facebook. Let's just say that living with 4 other college guys, the status' that are forged are not always family-appropriate. 2) Facebook is the great information spreader. To me, this is the real kicker. What keeps most of us so plugged in to the book of face machine is that we are afraid of losing touch. Facebook has turned into our way of finding out what's going on in the world around us. If there's a party, we get an electronic invitation, if our friends went out to dinner, we see the pictures. We don't even have to remember birthdays anymore because Facebook does it for us. Think about the amount of information that we receive on a daily basis from facebook. Without this information we'd lost and confused puppies searching for friends on cold and lonely streets 3) Facebook helps us to talk to people. This is yet another kicker for me because it hits the relationship nail on the head. It has become astonishingly easy to find people on facebook and to start a conversation. With the addition of facebook chat, it is now easier than ever to instantly communicate with pseudo (thanks corey) strangers in attempt to build relationships out of cyberspace. The idea of cyber-dating is crazy to the majority of the population on the surface, but how many relationships are initiated through comments and chats? Think about it.

Now for the cons. 1) Facebook is the great productivity sucker. Now I'm not going to be the one to shovel the blame of a distracted generation on a social networking system, but geez facebook is distracting! I can't begin to express how many hours of sleep I've lost due to the mindless wanderings through completely irrelevant information. In fact, I guarantee that someone is reading this blog right now instead of doing homework after reading about the blog on my facebook status. That's a paradox if i've ever seen one. 2) Facebook destroys intimacy. Because we have the ability to leave comments and start chats, we have for the most part abandoned our fancy new phones in order to use the less confrontational means of communication. Which is hilarious because I wasn't sure that we could get less confrontational than texting. I do like the fact that I can talk to so many people through facebook, but If i wasn't always on it, maybe I would call those people instead of chatting with them. Who knows. 3) All the good things about facebook make it so very addicting. Yes, I admit it. Facebook is my homepage. The first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and turn on my computer is that little red number in the bottom right corner of my screen that indicates how popular I am. We as a generation have become scarily addicted to our social networks. For instance, why is the iphone so cool? Well one reason is that it has wireless internet. Think about that, we now desire a phone which allows us to get on facebook. At this rate, it won't be long before phones are discontinued in lue of palm-tops (instead of laptops, get it?).

"The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people."

~Karl Marx

This analysis is far from over, but I don't like to go over 1,000 words so I'm going to stop here. I want to know what you think. Try and answer the question I barely scratched: is facebook the antichrist of intimacy or the savior of relationships???