Undeniably, Facebook is ubiquitous. Students are constantly refreshing this social networking website during class, users sneak a peak during work, and even older generations are beginning to sign up as a means to connect to the changing world. But does this Facebook obsession and hysteria come with a price? What are the effects of having such a firm dependency on a form of an internet phenomenon? Specifically, what is Facebook doing to our real lives that are devoid of a screen?
As a communications major, I wish to further explore and develop the impact of Facebook on current interpersonal relationships. Recent findings from a report conducted in the University of Texas believes that Facebook can actually make you more sociable since its clientele are more likely to stay connected to friends and family far away while expanding their possibility for new relationships. Yet, I can’t help but be startled as I read that ultimately this data “allows Facebook to define what makes for social behavior”. It is interesting, to say the least, that society now relies on a technological interface to determine the norms and standards for how we interact in our daily social lives face-to-face. While the article points out that Facebook users are more likely to dwindle their usage as they grow older, it seems that this is not necessarily the case.
Last Monday, the Pope himself came out with a statement blessing social networking, but sternly recognizing that “online friendships are no substitute for real human contact”. While the Pope comes from a strict religious society and is from a different time of technology, he still makes several relevant points throughout his speech on the alienation and issues that arise within the constant dependency of Facebook to mediate social interactions. Still, there lies other major dilemmas of Facebook such as what happens when its users tragically die and they are still popping up on friends feeds.
As I continue to seek out more information on interpersonal relationships and the Facebook craze, one of the most promising examples I continue to come across are the staggering statistics of Facebook cited as a catalyst for divorce. Many middle-aged couples are now beginning to reconnect with past flames on this website, and living out alternate fantasies online. With about one in five divorce petitions filed, Facebook is claimed responsible. Undoubtedly, Facebook holds a vast power affecting real life relationships from friends to family members. Is Facebook liberating these people from unhappy marriages and expanding others horizons? Or simply acting as the gateway for the deterioration of contemporary social interactions as we known it. By analyzing this issue further online and reaching out to average users in the real world, I wish to develop this idea on Facebook’s interpersonal affects further.