Facebook: The Anti-Social Network

by Winterfate

This is an article about Facebook, the popular social network, and how it has actually become a chief factor in anti-social behavior.

Facebook is probably the biggest social network in the world. Many people use this popular site (I'm one of them) to keep in contact with the people they care about (and sometimes, the people they don't care about). During the course of this article, I will explain why Facebook, rather than enable social behavior, has disabled it. Read on and see why Facebook is the Anti-Social Network.

Instant Connectivity with your Contacts

One of Facebook's greatest pitches is the fact that you can stay in constant contact with your friends at all times. In this respect, Facebook serves the role of social network quite well. Whether by messages, comments in a friend's Wall, or several other ways of contact, you can always keep up on what the people that matter to you are doing in their lives. However, the problem with instant connectivity is that it cheapens the social component that it so tries to create.

Don't believe me?

Well, think about this for a moment: If you have a way of getting in touch with somebody in an instant, why would you ever use any slower methods of communication? Snail mail has largely fallen off as a form of communication in the last decade or so thanks to electronic mail (e-mail). While this is all done in the name of progress, some people will take this to the extreme. Rather than call someone on the telephone, they'll chat them up on Facebook. Instead of going out to the movies, they'll find a way to watch the same movie using the power of the Internet.

So, people trade the warmth of physical human contact with the frigidity of social network contact. Fair trade? You be the judge.

However, why do people buy into this so readily?

Well...

It's Easy!

Using Facebook is incredibly easy. In fact, all you have to do is sign-up and you have your very own page where people can contact you at all times. The Facebook client will help you set up your page if you're not technologically inclined. As humans, and I include myself (I make no pretenses of being above anyone else in this respect), we tend to prefer the easy way of doing things. Sometimes it makes sense because it's efficient. Other times, it makes no sense for other reasons. In this case, the easy way in socializing with people is also the easy way out of hanging out, having a good time, or doing whatever you like.

It's funny because Facebook runs a parallel with online video games. People tout that online video games are full of social interactions,  but that is only true on a superficial level. You only ever see the virtual characters your online allies have created to play your game of choice, and you never see the real them.

Considerations

In this world we live in, the name of the game is globalization. Soon, everyone will be able to keep tabs on everyone else, if they so choose to. For some things, this is good. For some others, it is not. I believe that social networks should not be allowed to replace genuine social interactions as the social pastime of choice (and this is coming from someone decidedly anti-social).

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter so much if a few people partake in this activity, but what will happen when everyone is integrated? Do we take the final step and live in a virtual reality world for the rest of our lives?

It is something to think about.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Facebook is an anti-social network because, while it enables social interactions between people who may not be able to communicate with each other under normal circumstances, it also serves to separate people from the warmth factor involved in physical contact.

The next time you log into Facebook, think about the people you care about and if it would be good to get in touch with them every once in a while. For real.

Thanks for reading my first article here at Wizzley, and I hope to write about a bunch of topics as time allows! I have a bunch of articles across the internet, so check out my profile if you're curious.

Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)

-Winterfate

Now why don't you go write a real letter?

I'm sure your loved ones would appreciate it.
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Updated: 08/14/2012, Winterfate
 
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SharileeShares on 02/19/2013

You make some really good points here. I agree that Facebook is often used to avoid real socializing and is a lazy way of communicating. And I am just as guilty of that, as anyone.

LadyGuinevere on 08/01/2012

I hated FB when I first got on it. I have made friends on FB and through e-mail that I have talked to on the land line. I don't have a cell phone or any other type of gadget. I am home bound and this does keep me in touch with my family who live all over the place. I see good in this not bad. You can set your FB page to have no one look at it or everyone look at it. That is a personal thing and no one is forcing anyone to get a FB page. Heck a few years ago they said the same about MSN Groups. Just about everyone had one. When that went down lots of friends were lost in that process. Some of them were found again on FB. I sure do wish and so do my friends that we could actually have that touchy feely kind of relationship where one could just meet someplace and have a chat or two, but some people cannot do that or afford the transportation cost.

katiem2 on 07/22/2012

You make a very good point, there is nothing like nor will there ever be anything like an honest face to face. Great article. :)K

Winterfate on 07/20/2012

Well, if you consider that you can enjoy the company of others using a social network, then I respect your opinion. Thanks for commenting.

Tyler Style on 07/20/2012

Assumption: physical contact is better in a social context than any other aspect.
Personally, I find that somewhat insulting; the purpose of social interaction is to enjoy the company of others. To say that the most important aspect of that is their actual physical presence is really quite demeaning on an intellectual and emotional level.

Winterfate on 07/19/2012

Oh wow, so many comments. Thanks in advance for reading! Now, to answer these:

@Dustytoes: I loathe Facebook games with a passion. I think I played Castle Age once upon a time, but then I realized that it is just as bad as every other Facebook game. It's just one big hamster wheel of repetitive gameplay that never changes. :/
I've found a friend or two who I had lost contact with for several years thanks to that place.
Thanks for commenting!

@terry: I agree with your comment wholeheartedly. I've never understood the "have the most friends" mindset myself. I find that, the more "friends" you have, the more of them are actually padding for your friends list number.
I used to have a Myspace myself. The irony in the whole fall of Myspace is that now they're emulating Facebook's design. If that's not a flag of surrender for Myspace, I don't know what is.
Thanks for commenting!

@Tiggered: You have a valid point there. :)
Thanks for commenting!

@bizilady: Omg, ikr? Haha, sorry couldn't help myself. That's "oh my god, I know right?" in case I left you confused. To be fair, if I'm texting or chatting with close friends, I tend to use text shorthand myself. However, I don't think it's ever gotten as obnoxious as what I've seen from other people where it's basically a whole different language. Thanks for commenting!

@Jerrico_Usher: Super comment! :D
You make a very good point with your statement of the blame lying on the people who misuse the technology. Thanks for the comment! :)

Jerrico_Usher on 07/18/2012

I have a facebook page but I only use it much like people used to use land lines in the old days (lol)... It's more of a connection central phone book for me. I don't use it for communication so much as for being able to reach people easier i.e. "hey call me". For my goddaughters it's the only way I'd be able to keep in touch more). for my family spread all over the USA it's a convenient way to find them quickly

I don't use the actual "feed" other than maybe monitoring it once in a while to see what my family is doing and often this leads to a visit or phone call. I don't trust them (FB) with my personal data any further than I can throw the facebook corporate headquarters... but as a way to keep everyone I know in one easy to find/manage place it's great.

I don't even log into the site anymore, if something is important I'll get an email alert not for every boring detail of everyone's lives, I can use FB chat from Yahoo messenger...

I have to admit I love the convenience of digital communication- without it I'd not be able to talk to my true love all day during my work day (text/cell to computer using Gmail chat/text), but we don't lose any personal (warm body?) communication, for those I'd not generally talk to without FB connections it does enhance communication. In the end it's not the network to blame but how WE use the technology- ultimately nobody's putting a gun to your head, unless it's you...

My brother keeps canceling (it's no longer possible to fully cancel your FB account which is a bit disturbing) and re-activating his account- complaining about how the sites privacy is a joke, but in the end he keep going back because there are valid uses of the technology, you just have to be more disciplined to make sure you don't "Live" there and don't post- if you have something personal, email them OUTSIDE the site.

bizilady on 07/18/2012

Young people don't know how to write any more..they use "text" words. I tutor students and it's frightening to see how far behind today's student are in writing!

Tiggered on 07/18/2012

I'm not on FB, I prefer traditional forms of contact. If you restrict your social circle to true friends instead of 'people I once chatted with', it is not so hard to manage.
Anyway, the amount of unwanted advertising disguised as 'sharing' on FB is just too frightful.

terry on 07/18/2012

Back before Facebook and even further back Myspace. I just to have my own personal web site that I used to share pics and news with my friends and family. The site has fallen to disuse years ago, still own the domain. But Im good with this for the most part. Its less work for my friends and family.

I don't understand the over use of Facebook now, or the "I have to have the most friends" mind set. The only people that I have on my Facebook are people that I know and have contact with at least once every 3 months. There are a lot of very good uses for Facebook I think its been over used.

The one good think I'm happy Facebook did was kill off Myspace, that site was just god awful.


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