Thursday, April 24, 2008


Last night a conversation with a friend got me thinking about the ways in which facebook has changed everyone's life. There are some good things and some bad things, but I think it's a very positive thing if it isn't abused. For instance, because of facebook, I'm still in contact with lots of friends from all around the world who I would have probably lost touch with otherwise. People I have long forgotten have made contact with me once again. It's a great way to keep a global community together.

On the other hand, one can forsake their local community for their online community. I sometimes find myself sitting in my room stalking people who are just a hop skip and a jump away from me here on campus instead of just seeking them out and asking them the questions I'm wondering in person. Like I said to my friend, facebook should function like a postcard, helping to maintain relationships but only as a poor substitute for personal encounters. Some people instead treat facebook like a replacement for face-to-face interaction, shutting out our need to physically be around each other.

Doing that risks creating a fake persona. I can have an online "me" that is vastly different from who I am in real life. Online, people seem to get courage to say things they wouldn't normally say in real life. People are bolder, broader, and generally different than they would normally be in person because there is no way to check. I am given permission to be whoever the hell I want to be instead of having the community there to help define me.

Still, I sometimes wish all personal encounters were like facebook. I wish whenever I met someone new in real life I could just click on their profile button. What are their interests? What's their relationship status? Religious and political views? Favorite books and movies? It's a great social lubricant, helping me know what subjects are off limits and what things we have in common, but that's all it should be.

1 comment:

PeterAtLarge said...

... and I don't even know what "facebook" is! Blessings, PaL