Does Facebook add or subtract value from society? TASTY

Facebook bridges social gaps in a unique way. It allows people spanning the globe to share and collaborate on topics while providing a means to reconnect with friends, families, and loved ones. The social media giant also houses a proven platform for promoting fledgling artists. An unknown individual/group can grow his fan base through free distributions of their medium via guerrilla style marketing.


Facebook challenged the long accepted status quo of what constitutes private vs. public content on the Internet. Prior to Facebook, public and private content had firm cultural boundaries, derived from moral evaluation, values, and common sense. As Facebook gained popularity and experienced exponential growth, users began to share images and ideas that would once be considered private. As more and more users shared questionable data, the theory of virtue took an ideological shift.

Facebook’s accelerated growth can partly be attributed to satisfying user’s curiosity about topic matter once deemed private. Unfortunately, many Facebook adopters didn’t grasp the concept of data permanence on the Internet; once data is posted on Facebook, it will be replicated and stored somewhere in the vast network. In addition, Facebook continuously massaged their Terms of Service agreements, often times blurring the line between private and public content.


Within the sixty thousand or so Facebook servers storing all of this data, we ask: Does this data have merit, i.e. value, or does it fall into the category of promoting trite, shallow, and/or selfish endeavors that do nothing but distract and waste the time of users? According to Mashable.com, much of the interaction with this data falls into the category of wasting time. Mashable coined Facebook the ultimate “time sink” on the web. It takes up more American Internet user’s time than Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Microsoft, Wikipedia and Amazon combined!

Without question, countless hours are spent on Facebook doing what people do best: perusing, socializing, and posting. My main concern is relevance and how it ultimately benefits or detracts from one’s daily life. What is the overall user outcome of “Facebooking” on a daily basis? Does it lead to a net gain, thus improving one’s life or is it nothing more than a social gimmick that is becoming an unwieldy distraction?


I joined Facebook in 2007 with the hope of reconnecting with long, lost college friends of years past. It worked like a charm – enabling me to reconnect with five friends that were extremely close college chums. The sheer thrill of catching up with these folks after ten-years of silence was exhilarating.

Several years later, I found myself deeply entrenched in Facebook and actively surfing my ever-expanding friends’ lists of pictures and textual posts. A handful of online buddies appreciated my witty, sometimes sharp often times dry, comments of their pictures. It was an addicting elixir of molding witty commentary with graphical montages. Soon, I found myself spending anywhere from one to two hours a day “Facebooking.” At the time, I saw no harm in my participation since being digitally social had become the accepted norm. My real world and virtual friends alike all accepted the notion that time spent on Facebook was time spent being socially entwined with those in your life circle. Everyone was doing it, why shouldn’t I?


The summer of 2010 brought my social media awakening. Instead of Facebooking for the sake of random socialization, I began using the tool for business marketing of a new start-up company in which I was co-founder and Chief Operating Officer. It was a tremendously successful marketing campaign that helped spread the word of our technological bleeding-edge product. This social media sidestep quickly changed my approach to Facebook and allowed me to see this culture in a different light. My conclusion: A majority of the content within Facebook was not only irrelevant to our lives but was contributing reshaping society’s norms of what is public and what should be kept private.


Facebook has led the charge in reshaping society’s perception of sensitivities to information exchange, one’s private affairs, content relevance, and, in some respects, daily priorities. Let me explain. America is now a society infused with characters whose narcissistic, selfish, once deemed pointless diatribe heavily populates posts within Facebook. Other “friends” within the community often comment on this senseless banter, thus building a thread of informational diarrhea that serves no better purpose than to amuse. On top of this, with the advent and mass adoption of big screen, Internet friendly, savvy user interfaced smart phones, the amount of time spent on Facebook by the average user has skyrocketed. Overall, this time equates to a negative cumulative effect on American society.


It can be confidently stated that the last eighteen years of my adult life have had one thing in common: I’ve paid attention to American societal and cultural shifts. Sociology has been an ongoing passion of mine and has revealed many not so trivial trends. As America undergoes its generational changing of the guard, citizens find themselves shifting to heightened sensitivities in many topic arenas once deemed normal, day-to-day, occurrences. Many of these new societal norms are branching out underneath the guise of political correctness which, like drunken locusts, slowly and steadily eat away at the core of individual liberty.

Facebook is not helping this cause of preserving individual liberty. Instead, it is playing the role of the proverbial gasoline fueling the charge into the abyss of one, massive societal distraction. What is this distraction? It’s the growing focus and discussion of shallow topic matter by any number of self-indulgent individuals. This phenomenon is growing at an alarming rate and has reshaped a generation’s understanding of what’s important in everyday life.

The social media giant has also drastically expanded the ideology of politically correct behavior while concurrently heightening trite societal sensitivities. In essence, we’ve not only become a dumbed-down society but, in large part to Facebook, we are a hyper-sensitized, overly dramatic, misdirected mass of people who is forgetting the roots of our culture’s historical greatness.

Stop Facebooking and start face interacting instead.

Nothing will ever replace the multi-faceted, eon old complexities of face-to-face interaction.

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