The Various Faces of Facebook

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Although it seems like just a short time ago we were all hopping onto the Facebook train, much has transpired in the wake of a drastic increase in social media outlets.  How the website works, its various facets, the possibility of becoming addicted, anxiety surrounding it, and even how to be a successful Facebook user are all topics that have become increasingly important if you plan on being part of the Facebook world today.  Living in a time that seems to be changing faster than we can keep up with, it’s difficult to keep track of every little thing that happens.  This is of course the time that we are turning most to our various social media outlets in order to try to stay informed and educated, one of the most popular outlets being Facebook.  While this social media site boasts many benefits, it’s also carrying with it a hefty amount of negative attributes as well.

Let Me Lay it Out for You 

Just as popular as Facebook has become, I understand that there are still a few of you out there that are completely opposed to or not quite ready to hop onto the Facebook bandwagon.  So before I start throwing the pro’s and con’s at you I think it’s best that we are all on the same page about what exactly Facebook is.

What is FB

Facebook was initially started to help connect Harvard students.  As it became more and more popular, Facebook began to expand its horizon’s throughout the Boston area to eventually include all universities in the USA.  By September of 2006, the width to which Facebook reached included anyone with a home address and registered email address.

  • As a new user you can register with Facebook using your name and email address.
  • A personal profile will then be made where you can upload pictures, add friends, and exchange messages.
  • Anyone who is 13 or older has the ability to register to Facebook.
  • Over 70 languages are available.
  • Facebook is proven to be the most useful social networking site used worldwide by a 2009 study.
  • Facebook currently brings in a approximately 4.27 billion dollars US.
  • Facebook as a company has a current net value of somewhere between $75 billion – $100 billion dollars.

But How?

Take at look at the diagram below, it helps to easily demonstrate just how Facebook has infiltrated the media so quickly in the recent years.  As you may have guessed, phones are the target device to get Facebook circulating at such a rapid pace.  Essentially, companies have made is impossible not to be a part of Facebook.  By making it virtually free to access the site from your phone, Facebook has increased its growth by a large margin each year.   

Fb in Phones

Facebook Causes

Now that You’re Informed, Let’s Start with Cons

As time progresses, as does the increase of Facebook users.  With this increase of users, comes with it an increase of issues and negative circumstances due to the nature of the social media outlet itself.  The reasons that people join Facebook are endless, many hoping it will bring them popularity and happiness.  Unfortunately for many, the happiness and friendship they thought they might find, is non-existent.  A recent study from the University of  Michigan has proven that Facebook actually has the ability to increase loneliness and feelings of depression.  Researchers have studied the ways in which the internet can be alienating.  Facebook was also proven to have had a negative affect on relationships because it increased feelings of jealousy and distrust among couples.  The reason behind all of these negative feelings – people are spending more time observing life rather than being engaged with it.  It makes honest sense if you think about it figuratively.  I would be jealous if I spent hours on end looking at friends pictures of vacations, holidays, and time shared with family.  Although this isn’t the typical reaction for every user, the fact that Facebook has the potential to increase unhappiness is an unsettling thought at best.

So Now that We’re Unhappy, Let’s get Jealous!

Breathtaking Facebook Jealousyvacations, statuses about how amazing a friend’s love life is, getting a friend request from someone you admire, posting pictures about life and its many successes… It can all get a little overwhelming when your news feed is filled up with piles of amazing stories and your just sitting at your desk waiting for lunch to come.  This is where the newest Facebook con has come into play, known as the powerful act of social comparison.  A German study suggests that humans have the capability to observe and feel instantly dissatisfied with their lives after visiting Facebook.  Getting more likes on a status or birthday greetings posted to a wall is triggering people to feel frustrated and even angry about their social standing.  Facebook is allowing for unprecedented amounts of comparison and turning people into the green monster of jealousy.  

Alright…So There are Some Benefits

As so much information has been circling in the media surrounding just how detrimental Facebook can be, it’s hard to imagine what positive traits it could possess.  Well, for starters, a lot of research has been done surrounding the promotional benefits of the website.  Although it is easier to imagine how Facebook is negative, much research has been done to prove that Facebook is an asset to our world.  This list below demonstrates various social benefits to becoming a member of Facebook.

  1. Because it is viewed by such a huge demographic of people, companies are taking advantage of advertisement space and having success in doing so.
  2. It has been proven to slow down and improve heart rate.  Studies have shown that time spent on Facebook can actually reduce stress, slow heart rate, and enable for deeper levels of relaxation.
  3. Facebook has the potential to help find jobs and increase the job market.  It has the ability to help companies determine the best candidates for specific positions.
  4. Self-Esteem can be boosted for some people by spending time on Facebook.  A study by Cornell University helped to prove this psychological benefit.
  5. A companies’ popularity on Facebook can drastically determine their level of stock prices.
  6. Research has been shown to prove that employees who take small Facebook breaks during work hours have increased productivity in the workplace.
  7. Facebook can help you earn your degree.  A study proved that students who were engaged in Facebook had less chance of dropping out of school.
  8. It has been noted that Facebook has the potential to increase your love life because of the likelihood of communication between friends and new people.

Facebook Evolution

My Thoughts, Conclusions, and Advice  – Whether You Want it or Not 

As Facebook continuously evolves it becomes more and more critical that we evolve with it.  As demonstrated above, it is very easy to get trapped in the negative effects of misusing Facebook.  Each day I find out more and more about social media and in turn I only want to move further and further away from it.  As many benefits as it may boast, it is my true belief that living your life is far more important than documenting it.  I’m not saying not to have Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, but just be mindful of the world around you and try not to get too caught up in the drama surrounding these various social media facets.  After all, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said,

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Signing Off
– TB


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