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What’s the point of Facebook – PostADay 2011 Challenge – Today is…

brought to you by Fool on the hill.

What’s the point of Facebook

‘Social networking’ everyone replies. So what’s that exactly, seeing that so many sites which started out as something else seem to be morphing into social networks? Swapping the odd few words with people who, one way or another, have become your ‘friends’, even though you don’t know them and will never meet?

The number of ‘friends’ people can accrue appears to be important, it marks their status on Facebook, and is reciprocal; you can be my friend if I can be yours’, but it’s not genuine or real friendship, merely a way of boasting how many ‘friends’ you have, while at most, making the odd comment on their page occasionally, ‘liking’ something they posted, or a picture they put up. All shallow and meaningless. Real friends of course do keep in touch that way, but they could do so with a simple email, so one wonders why they would want their conversations public.

But what exactly is social networking? For many it appears to be taking over from real networking in the real world which is designed to keep people with similar interests/jobs/careers/hobbies in touch; the more time you spend staring at a screen, the less you have for real interaction with real friends and family. There is obviously a need or people wouldn’t have flocked to the site in millions and made the creator a multi-millionaire at age 24 [more on him later], but is it a genuinely felt need or merely following all the other sheep, and is it being satisfied by Facebook?

Lonely people may feel it is a cure for their loneliness, but is having hundreds of pretend ‘friends’ the same as having a small circle of real friends who actually care about you? Studies have found that people who have hundreds of friends on Facebook only interact on a regular basis with seven. That suggests that we really want just a few friends with whom we feel intimate and can share things in our lives, and perhaps the human animal is only capable of this level of social interaction.

This is a taster of my post on my own blog Fool on the hill.



© 2010-2011 Things in life I find annoying

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  1. January 7, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    Hah! Could not agree more. Thanks for sharing familiar thoughts.

    • January 7, 2011 at 8:38 AM

      Thanks Marie, Peter (Fool on the hill) has said it pretty good! I’m sure he will see your comment. You will have to read the rest of it by visiting his blog at Fool on the hill.

  2. January 7, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    Will do!

  3. January 7, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    I agree too. Older I get though, more I’m astonished at the people I once knew who crawl out of the woodwork. One wonders if, the older generation just lost touch and left it at that. Still, sieving through eight hundred messages a day a over-rated.

    • January 7, 2011 at 10:57 AM

      Visit Peter’s blog and you will be able to read more of it. The link is at the bottom of the posting.

  4. January 7, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    I must admit I have a FB page but I’m not interested in quantity of ‘friends’, more quality. I have made some new friends through it and met up with them but it does allow me to keep in touch with my niece and nephew (I’d lost contact with them after divorcing from my husband) and other relatives but only because I know they are on FB a lot of the time.

    Other than keeping in touch with people (all at once and the cheapest option possible) I don’t tend to give too much away and my information isn’t visible to everyone (except the FB hierarchy of course), but I do see you points!

    • January 7, 2011 at 11:08 AM

      I agree with you. I will make sure Peter sees your comment. Please visit his blog to read the entire posting.

  5. January 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    I agree with you too. Facebook is nice to keep in touch with members of family that you barely see, or people in this way, but thousands of friends ?! I don’t believe it at all.
    I think it’s getting even more complicated when you’ve got your networking contacts on facebook too ! What Can i tell / show without having some problems after ?!
    I have more than 180 friends on facebook, only because more of the half are professionnal contacts unfortunately… but still i have a freelance’s job, so that’s the price to pay to keep in touch with them sometimes…

    • January 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      That’s understandable when you’re working freelance and have a business. But I don’t like whole follow me and I will follow you mentality. Please visit Peter’s blog to read the entire article.

      • January 7, 2011 at 3:45 PM

        I’ve read his entire article and i wanted to comment but I couldn’t…
        I agree with all his point, facebook could really be dangerous, and everyone posting everything about their life, their feeling, their photos.
        I really take care about what i’m writing down this site because as he wrote, he will stay forever, just like every photos that you will post will no longer belong to you, but to facebook.
        I’ve read this story about this teenage boy in England who was playing to Farmville and took the pay cards of her mother to buy some “cash” for his game. He never realized how much he spent on this game until her mother received her phone call to her bank a month later, 900£ !! And even if she tried to defend herself about the stupid act of his son, she had no other choice by paying it… To not pay this amount of money, she would have to complain to the police about his own son and then possibly ruin his future life with a file on him, so problems later to get some jobs… (i’m not sure if i’m speaking clearly now, it’s kind of complicated to explain right now).
        Anyway, because of facebook some people have been fired to their jobs too and i don’t even talk about psychology effect it could have on people… ( watching your ex’s bf or gf page and see how happy he is without you now… )
        Is Facebook good ? I don’t think so, well at least, not when you don’t know how to use it properly ? (no love situation or anything on your profile, no personnal opinion about politics…. ), in fact nothing personnal on it….

  6. January 7, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Well yes, the trouble with short blog posts is you only get a bit. My fault as I should have written a digest of my much longer article here http://www.oneworldnet.co.uk/blog/index.php but I was lazy/rushed and just gave you a taste with the first few paras. So my case isn’t complete until you read the rest; especially about the police having full access to everything you put on FB, not just the FB staff or hierarchy. This means it’s the perfect tool for state surveillance, any state. Think about it.
    Not to mention the commercial data being gathered every time you add something… 😉

    • January 7, 2011 at 4:01 PM

      This at least this gives them a taste of it and those that are concerned and agree will read your entire posting.

  7. January 7, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    I use facebook to keep in touch with all my friends who are spread out over two provinces. It keeps things simple.

    I do NOT add people that I don’t know just to look and feel better about myself and agree that for the most part the whole idea is pretty ridiculous.

    • January 7, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      I agree with you. I am assuming that since you say provinces, you could be Canadian, eh! Please read the rest of Peter’s article at his own blog “Fool on the hill”

      • January 7, 2011 at 2:49 PM

        A VERY good argument and I wholeheartedly agree, but until something presents itself, this is the easiest way to keep track of all my friends.

  8. Barb
    January 7, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    I mostly use FB to keep in touch with family and friends who are scattered over 4 countries! It seems easier to keep in touch that way. I have also found some family members through FB, that I had lost touch with; seems everyone has an account there!
    It seems that a lot of people are doing their marketing through FB now, so the more friends they have, the more people they can reach to sell their product.

    • January 7, 2011 at 4:00 PM

      Everyone has their own reason for using it. Some just person or business or a combination. If you haven’t already you really should read the entire posting at Fool on the hill.

  9. knot2share
    January 7, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Agree with you. Just read through Peter’a article as well. I don’t think I keep in touch with even 7 among the many I have on my list! It is just there serving as a directory of contacts. Since almost everyone is on FB, the chances of receiving a response to a message sent to anyone on FB is greater than a reply to an email. After reading the article, it now makes me think of all the “Likes” that I have on my profile…….

    • January 7, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      It’s all Peter’s writing. I have always had concerns about putting too much information on any site and so does my daughter. This is her bio on Twitter: “I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am”
      I try to never enter information unless it’s necessary.

  10. January 7, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    I can never understand the point or facebook and the security issues are quite worrying.

    If you think facebook is bad you should try twitter.
    I am @portugalpiglet it’s like holding a one way conversation. At least I try and interact with some of my followers and take the time to visit some of their links. How can someone with 1000’s of followers even begin to intereact with anyone?

    At least with the wordpress challenge it has got us all talking to each other 🙂

    • January 7, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      My daughter uses both and has followers but most are her friends and family. She lives across the country now so it’s a way to stay connected. Security is the reason for me too and yes the WordPress challenge has been fun and interesting.

  11. January 9, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    I thought orkut was better. Someone writes a scrap for me, and its not visible to everyone instantly! Ppl have to come to my site to see that. That’s the way i would like to keep in touch with my friends – through personal messages and conversations.

    But facebook seems to be encouraging links, pictures, jokes, and all such entertainment as a lot of people can immediately see what you are posting. I think facebook is not for one to one conversation with friends. Its more like shouting to everyone in college “Hey, I got a new phone” 😉

    Destination Infinity

    • January 9, 2011 at 9:37 PM

      The only real way for one to one is in person or on the phone. Facebook is good for family and friends to stay connected when they are a distance apart, but I don’t much care for all the other things on it.

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