Facebook has officially crossed the point of being just a social network. It is now a topic of research and debate. Yesterday, I came across two articles that spoke about Facebook’s effect on different demographic groups: one spoke about Facebook creating a ‘friendship addiction’ in women – essentially because women get their self-worth from ‘adding’ friends. The other spoke about Facebook ‘destroying the nuclear family’, but in a good sense, because we are witnessing more and more people over the age of 30 joining Facebook with the sole aim of keeping in touch with their family. This is true – I’ve noticed a lot of parents, even grandparents, of some of my friends joining Facebook and commenting on their status messages and photos. Mine are not on it so far, thank goodness!
I was also thinking of how I am not in touch with ALL of my friends from university, but my cousins who are currently studying have ‘friends’ in the high hundreds, most of them being people who go to school with them. When they finish studying and move into the working world, they will have that many more people to tap for jobs, hobbies and the like. I envisage a world where Facebook will ping you to tell you if any of your friends are in a five-mile radius, so you can meet them in person (apparently there is some similar application not related to Facebook that already exists – can’t remember what it’s called). Our next generation will not even know what a non-Facebook world looked like. I like to think of that as a good thing, unless of course you and your family choose to live on a remote island cut off from society (good luck to you). There will be problems of course, psychological and non-psychological, like stalkers, but there are ways to control the negatives – it’s why every network has privacy options you can control. There’s more to be done on that front yet. Women who have self-worth issues will need to find other ways of validating their existence, that’s all.