As Facebook prepares to celebrate its 10th birthday, there is no better time to look at how Facebook has changed the lifestyle of its users since its introduction in 2004. Change is considered a part of life, yet not every change is openly accepted. Similarly, where Facebook might have improved a few aspects of the day-to-day activities it has also received criticism for the negative changes introduced.
Facebook provides a medium for most individuals to connect and interact. Though Facebook was not the first social networking site of its kind, it did however revolutionize social media, giving it a new definition. The ability to interact with anyone, anywhere, was just too great of an opportunity to pass on. In the pre-Facebook era interaction was completely based on telecommunication and emails. Though it gave it a personal touch, it also limited the number of people who could be approached in a given amount of time. Facebook removed that limitation and directed the users to a wider audience, increasing the number of people who could be reached at the same time. Distance was no longer an issue. Remember when moving away was the hardest thing to do?
It meant losing contact with friends and moving to a new place. It might still be a frightening experience for some, but Facebook has made it a little bit bearable. The ability to remain in contact or even find old friends is part of the reason why Facebook is immensely popular. As the entire world is connected through Facebook, not just the people in an area can be contacted but literally anyone anywhere is approachable. Facebook users often even end up meeting others they never thought they would. The list is endless, but all that goes to show how the advent of Facebook from 2004 till the present changed how people interact with the world around them.
Now, there is a flip side to Facebook. No one said that Facebook did not incite a few less than appealing habits in its users. Many might even argue that advantages to having a Facebook account might also be listed under the setbacks to having one. Facebook enables the ability to connect with anyone, but that also means that it welcomes unwanted attention. Users often have limited control over who can access their personal information as opposed to communicating with someone over the phone or email.
It is true that Facebook has been working on these issues to provide a better experience but it cannot be denied that Facebook is no stranger to cases of breaches of privacy. It is also believed that Facebook has effected one’s ability to socially interact as users find it much more easier to connect with someone on the Internet as opposed to communicating personally. Who can forget the term “Facebook friend” that has been introduced? This term usually differs from the average friend. A Facebook friend is simply someone who the average user might know on their Facebook page but has never personally met them. As with the pros to using Facebook, the list of cons similarly goes on.
One statement will always remain true for whatever invention is introduced, no matter the purpose they intend to serve. Each creation can be used for good just as much as it can be used for evil. It all depends on how it is used and what it is used for. For better or worse, Facebook has and will continue to change the way social interaction is perceived, but the degree to which it can change depends on the users.
By Hammad Ali