If Neil Postman thought in Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) that television would dumb down our society, I wonder what his thoughts are on the effects Bebo and Facebook are having on our lives and our attention spans.
“Ow, just burnt my finger on the iron”. “Just had the nicest ham sandwich.”
Social networks give a false sense of community: that we are living our everyday lives together when we are not.
For the most private happenings of our day now to be broadcast to all our friends who can see our profile page. “Friends” is a debatable word for Facebook to use for all the people you have added and have added you as a friend, the majority of them you probably don’t even see in your weekly routines.
Facebook clearly has its uses, seemingly in all echelons of society. You can't walk into a clothes shop anymore without some poster beckoning you to "like" the business on Facebook.
It may also be argued that social networks are good way to keep in touch with long-distant friends and relatives, which it is. But it’s a way for us to keep “out of touch” too.
It attempts to satisfy our social needs so we needn't meet people face-to-face!
And now that we have the all-knowing Facebook to tell us when our “friends’” birthdays are approaching, we need not remember them ourselves.
Now that we can chat instantly in the comfort of our own home, we needn’t meet up and have real conversations, and see how good of friends we actually are.
I’d also like to point out that even if you have hundreds of contacts at your fingertips while social networking, essentially you are still at home sitting at a computer by yourself for possibly hours at a time, and not in real contact with anyone, which is ironically one of the most anti-social behaviours I can think of.
These side-show games don’t help either; Farmville, Mafia Wars etc.
It’s is becoming what World of Warcraft is to nerds: an alter-reality social fun zone.
“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”
A more appropriate slogan would be “Facebook helps you sit a computer for a long time, where you can build up a contact list of people you may or may not know very well, while your friends are probably sitting at home doing the same thing.”
If Facebook wasn’t such a popular profit-making machine, I’m sure they would be thinking, get a life and stop wasting our time using this shambolic form of non-communication.
Now, to get off my computer before I get that FB itch.
Go here to read a better written article on the dangers of Facebook.