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Facebook – An Odd Social Phenomenon

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Contributor:
Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

It draws you in. A friend suggests you should sign up, “It’s a great way to keep in touch,” they say. Once you’ve signed up and worked out what the hell it’s all about, you’re already in the world of status updates, poking and friend requests from strangers.

Welcome to weird world of Facebook! As a sceptical user of the site, I have been drawn in by the odd status updates, seeing people’s photos, finding out what old mates from school are doing these days and the networking and promotional opportunities. But there are certain quirks of the site that I can’t get my head around.

It’s odd to be added as a friend by folks you were once close to you and yet there is not any attempt from either party to communicate with each other. It’s as if the act of adding you as a friend is enough of an acknowledgement. As a result Facebook has drastically altered the term friend. My definition of a friend is someone who will make the effort to keep in touch, arrange to catch up and is always available for a chat.

In Facebook world a friend has become anyone you have ever meet, a friend of a friend of a friend or someone you have the slightest acquaintance with. Then there is the competitive element – the people who add you so they can chalk up another notch on their belt, one closer to some ludicrous figure like 1,000!

Don’t get me wrong Facebook is a valuable outlet to keep in touch with friends but it shouldn’t be the only means to catch up. It should act as a medium to communicate with friends, an extension to a relationship that exists beyond a computer screen. The phenomenon will only grow.

There is currently a big budget Hollywood movie in the pipeline about the creators and the growth of their site. That site will continue to grow like a snowball as reluctant sceptics are drawn in by friends with the threat of being left out of the loop by not being signed up. The meaning of the word friend is different for everyone but remember that for many friendship is not exclusive to Facebook.

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