Nowadays, with the rapid developments in technology, more and more people are using their computers, smart phones etc. to browse the web. Moreover, many people are browsing social networking sites, especially Facebook. Facebook is a social networking website that was founded in 2004. There are over 500 million active users (users that have returned to the site in the past 30 days) and it is estimated that people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. (http://www. facebook. com/press/info. php? tatistics)
So what is that Facebook has that attracts so many people to visit its site? While older social networking websites like Twitter only allows the user to share text messages, photos or videos with others, Facebook has even more features, for example “Poking”, “Places”, “Events”, “Status” and the norm features such as “IM”, “Photos”, “Videos” etc. With all these features, one can interact with their friends more easily as they have access to all these brilliant features that allow them to share more things with their friends.
However, there is a problem. With all these features, people can argue that this might make one become addicted to Facebook and therefore affect one’s relationship with others. However, I do not agree. I think that Facebook actually has a positive impact on people’s relationships with others as it is easy to make friends on Facebook and communicate with them and it has the power to put people together. What is Facebook? It is a social networking website. What is the definition of a social networking website?
A social networking website is one that allows users to create a profile within a system, view their connections within the site and create a list of other users whom they have a connection with. (Boyd, Danah M. , and Nicole B. Ellison)Actually, if Facebook is defined as this, it is not just a social networking website as it has many more features and these features can be easily used to communicate with others, sharing things and making friends and these features are used frequently. On the website, people can not only maintain their current relationship with their friends, but they can even make new friends through the site too!
With more than 500 million active users (http://www. facebook. com/press/info. php? statistics), it should not be a hard task for people to find a friend of your choice thus encouraging one to make more friends. However, one and his ideal friend might not be able to communicate with each other as they do not speak the same language! Fortunately, Facebook has a solution to this. The built-in translation feature of the website allows people from all the different parts of the world to communicate with each other and therefore making communication more easier.
In a report named “The Global Network Facebook has conquered America. Can it take over the world? ” there is a short passage that discusses the “poking” feature of Facebook becoming globally accessible as it has been translated into many culturally different actions, for example “Call” in Chinese, “Puncture” in Latin, and strangely, “Make a sound” in Urdu. (Andrea Ford) Also, this report informs us of people of what ages are using Facebook. From that graph, we can see that there is at least fifty-thousand users of Facebook that fall into each age range of ten years. Andrea Ford)
Therefore, there should be an ideal friend for everyone that can be found on Facebook. Facebook is well known for its array of features, but what do people actually use these features for? A graph named One Hot Minute. On Facebook, every 60 seconds is packed with a lifetime’s worth of social interactions published in Time Magazine can answer this question. (Carl Detorres) The graph shows that 1,789,736 actions were done in a minute and among those actions were comments, liked posts, messages sent, status updates, friendships approved etc.
There were 98,604 Friendships Approved and 82,557 Status Updates. (Carl Detorres) From this we can see that people indeed use Facebook frequently for communicating and making friends. Imagine that you’re googling for information on a news website and suddenly the Facebook widget pops out and tells you to share to story with your friends, or imagine that you’re playing a video game on your iPod and you get your high score and after the game the Facebook widget comes out of nowhere and tells you to share your high score on Facebook.
It might be annoying but it provides a very convenient way for people to share things with their friends. There are currently over two million websites integrated with Facebook and ten thousand new websites are integrating with Facebook. (Time Magazine) Moreover most games now have a built-in widget that allows you to share things on Facebook at the tap of a button. I once had to perform at a concert in an orchestra and while we were waiting for the show to start, I saw that almost everyone was tapping away on their phones on the Facebook site to kill time.
From this all, we can see that Facebook can indeed provide a convenient way for people to communicate with others, sharing things and make friends. Now that we know that Facebook lets us share things conveniently and make friends, what are the other things that make Facebook so popular? One of the things that makes Facebook so popular is that it has the power to put people together, and organizing reunions on Facebook are a perfect example of this. There is a unique feature of Facebook that is callled “Events”. Events” allows the user to create an event and share it with others. If one wants to organize, let’s say, a college reunion, he or she could do so just with a click of a button. After creating an event, one can share it with his or her friends and they can reply if they would attend the event.
Some of the advantages about using Facebook to organize reunions is that it is easier to get in touch with people when compared to the traditional methods such as word of mouth, advertising in the paper, sending things to people’s parents etc. it is free(compare that with the princely yearly sum of USD29 charged by Reunited Inc. ) and it is easy to get feedback. (Gilbert Cruz) With Facebook, organizing reunions is as easy as it can be and thus unifying people. The 2011 Egyptian Revolution was an event that also clearly shows that Facebook has the power to unify people. It was a revolution that was sparked by Wael Ghonim, who sparked the revolution by setting up a Facebook page named “We Are All Khaled Said”. Emily Banks) Khaled Said was a man who was beaten to death on an Egyptian street in Alexandria publicly by the Egyptian police! He was pulled out of a cafe and beaten to his death. Many people left comments on the page, and this finally lead to the Egyptian Revolution. The page “We are all Khaled Said” unfied people angry about Said’s death and the police’s mistreation of him, and they marched in protest on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities in Egypt until Mubarak, president of Egypt finally resigned. (BBC News)
During the Egyptian Revolution, many people in the streets were protesting for Khaled Said’s mistreation by the Egyptian police, which goes to show how much Facebook can do, especially when it comes to unifying people. However, some people do argue the opposite of the issue, that Facebook has a negative effect on interpersonal relationships. Personally, I believe that all of these arguments are wrong. Some people argue that Facebook significantly reduces the amount of time spent on chatting with people face to face thus making the only medium of conversation between people Facebook.
I believe that this is wrong. I think that Instant Messaging a. k. a. IM takes out most of the pleasure of talking face to face. One can’t kick a person’s leg under the chair if he says something bad, one can’t see that happy expression on someone’s face when he hears that he won the lottery(that’s replaced in IM by emoticons 🙁 ) and all these little things that are experienced when talking face to face cannot be replaced or enjoyed or found in IM.
Moreover, one can only transmit simple messages through the IM feature in Facebook and although its name is Instant Messaging, it is not exactly instant because of the various speeds of internet access that people have. Because of this, most of the people I know just hang out at a cafe for a chat (arranged through Facebook) instead of Instant Messaging on Facebook. Therefore we can refute the argument that Facebook significantly reduces the amount of time spent on chatting with people face to face.
Other people argue that people are putting too much time on Facebook and finally become addicted and therefore affect their relationships with others. I have done a survey titled “The Amount of Time People Spend on Facebook” and it clearly rejects the argument that people are putting too much time on Facebook. Besides asking how much time people spend on Facebook everyday, I asked what they spend their time on. Out of the ten people I interviewed, five people spend around fifteen minutes, three people spend around thirty minutes, and the final two people spend more than one hour.
Out of the ten people, all of them spent their time on social interacting, and three of them spent their time on video games. From this survey I concluded that most people didn’t spend too much time on Facebook and they spent their time wisely. Through this persuasive essay, I hope that I have successfully persuaded all of my readers that Facebook has a positive effect on our interpersonal relationships.
“Across the Web. ” Time Magazine 27 Dec. 2011: 56. Web. 03 June 2011. Banks, Emily. “How Facebook Supported the Egyptian Revolution. Social Media News and Web Tips Mashable The Social Media Guide. 25 Feb. 2011. Web. 11 June 2011. . BBC News. World Service. BBC World Service – Programmes – Egypt: “We Are All Khaled Said” BBC – Homepage. 17 Feb. 2011. Web. 07 June 2011. . Boyd, Danah M. , and Nicole B. Ellison. “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. ” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Vol. 13. Morgan Kaufmann, 2008. 210. Print. Cruz, Gilbert. “How Facebook Is Affecting School Reunions – TIME. ” Time Magazine 15 June 2009.
Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME. com. 15 June 2009. Web. 07 June 2011. . Detorres, Carl. “One Hot Minute. On Facebook, Every 60 Seconds Is Packed with a Lifetime’s worth of Social Interactions. ” Time Magazine 27 Dec. 2011: 52. Web. 03 June 2011. Ford, Andrea. “The Global Network Facebook Has Conquered America. Can It Take over the World? ” Time Magazine 27 Dec. 2010: 44-45. Web. 03 June 2011. “Statistics | Facebook. ” Welcome to Facebook – Log In, Sign Up or Learn More. Web. 2 June 2011. .