Facebook: is it really as bad as people think?

​Since its arrival in early 2004, Facebook has become somewhat of a viral entity on the internet. At first its reception was eclipsed by that of other social media sites such as MySpace, but slowly began to grow, spiking in popularity in 2008 and growing exponentially since. The question many people asked? Has Facebook been beneficial or detrimental to society?

Since its arrival in early 2004, Facebook has become somewhat of a viral entity on the internet. At first its reception was eclipsed by that of other social media sites such as MySpace, but slowly began to grow, spiking in popularity in 2008 and growing exponentially since. The question many people asked? Has Facebook been beneficial or detrimental to society?

It seems as though everyone has a Facebook friend who seemingly lives in front of their screen for the sole purpose of pressing the ‘like’ button on everything he or she sees. Some suggest users are detached from reality. In other cases, many users post status updates which range from the mundane to the utterly irrelevant. Some might argue that there exist moral dilemmas in select cases, influencing entire governments such as China to place restrictions, recently outlawing Facebook. However, the overall good that such websites bring about definitely shines through the darkness.

On the other side of the coin, these web sites have so much of a presence that they have an influence on the global economy. Recently it was estimated that Facebook has over 900 million users, and that when they file for their initial public offering this week they should generate over 100 billion dollars. Such high demand is clearly representative of social media evolving into more than just a method of expression, but rather communication in everyday life.

For another instance, online marketing firms have allowed businesses to also join the social networking craze; advertising via Facebook and Twitter. As a user explores their preferences and expresses interest in certain concepts and products, these sites remember what you like and refer you to ads with related things, leading to new discoveries and opportunities. This has allowed companies to become more familiar and recognizable with consumers and generating more sales.

Social media sites have allowed people to band together unlike ever before, in the face of tragedy and hardship. Be in the tsunami in Japan or the revolutions in the Middle East and Africa, it has allowed societies to communicate and assist one another in their times of need.

Will these social media sites end up destroying the fabric of our society? My best bet says no. The advent of keeping in touch with hundreds of people with the click of a mouse or stroke of a key is too advantageous to ignore; be it the casual user or the corporate conglomerate. Naysayers feel as though it has diminished our understanding of humanity, and that the trend will fade with time, but I believe the opposite. This new ability to communicate globally and rapidly will only continue to grow, and at the same time it develops our tolerance and empathy towards others, due to the greater understanding of others feelings and situations it provides.

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