Technology / The Facebook Addiction
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Autor: anton 17 November 2010
Words: 976 | Pages: 4
Poke. Poke back. Poke. Poke back. Welcome to the world of TheFacebook, the online community where flirting with that cute person that sits next to you in class is only one click away.
TheFacebook is an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges and universities. Since being founded, in February 2004 at Harvard University, TheFacebook has expanded to many universities across the United States. In November 2004, the numbers of registered users exceeded one million. For example, the University of Florida currently has about half the student body registered, while a university comparable in size, such as the University of South Florida, has registered about a quarter of its student body. The University of Texas at Arlington currently has 6210 students registered. TheFacebook hosts facebooks for some 650 different colleges and universities throughout North America, and is one on the fastest growing online communities on the internet(personal communication, September 20,2005; firstname.lastname@example.org).
To fully understand why TheFacebook is popular among college students, I created an account to experience it firsthand. In participating, I have found that TheFacebook, while sharing some characteristics of other online communities, is very unique.
What is an online community anyway? According to Merriam Websterâ€™s dictionary, an online or virtual community is the gathering of people, in an online "space" where they come, communicate, connect, and get to know each other better over time. People join online communities for many reasons, such as:
â€¢ "Gathering" places where people converse, meet, get to know each other. Examples range from small spaces for families to large spaces for a wider public.
â€¢ Discussing topics such as books, current events, news, global warming, and chocolate.
â€¢ Socializing - informal connection places.
â€¢ Planning and organizing (community groups, scout groups, sports teams)
â€¢ Teambuilding - strengthening group relationships.
â€¢ Relationship building - finding interesting people and getting to know them.
â€¢ Work spaces for group meetings, interactions etc.
â€¢ Learning spaces (all online or in combination with face-to-face learning, group or individual)
â€¢ Information sharing- a place to share files and ideas.
â€¢ Game playing - just having fun
So how does TheFacebook work? You log on to the website and create an account through your college. Then you are able to upload information about yourself, such as your contact numbers, interests, clubs, favorites movies and books, etc. From there, you can search other membersâ€™ profiles based on similar interests, such as what school you are going to, the high school you attended, or what courses you are currently taking. Users can update their profiles often in order to let their online friends know what they are up to.
The most predominant feature is the social network you can develop. Like social networking websites, TheFacebook allows users to search for people and select them as "friends." It offers an interesting advantage over other friendship websites in that it allows members to browse through students taking the same classes, living in the same buildings, or coming from the same high schools. The Facebook even allows you to view your social network. For example, here is a map of the social network of one University of Texas Arlington student.
TheFacebook allows users to search using numerous specific criteria, such as sex, birthday, location, political views, marital status, etc.
TheFacebook has the ability to bring people of the same interest together through interest groups created by members. These groups can be social, academic, or joke groups. There is a multitude of groups you can join.
Many clubs and Greek fraternities/sororities also use TheFacebook to create groups to easily connect members. TheFacebook members may also list parties for their campus. These can be searched for by others. TheFacebook parties allow for public or private parties to be listed and include an RSVP feature. It also announces birthday reminders.
TheFacebook, unlike other online communities, anonymity is not an issue, as the network only extends to college students. The users immediately establish their own identity upon creating their unique profile. TheFacebook is not a virtual reality community, but more like an interactive online yearbook. Also, unlike other online communities, there is no distinguishing factor, besides the school attended, that separates each user. All profiles are established on the users own identity.
Despite TheFacebookâ€™s good attributes of bringing a entire school together through one site and making it easy to communicate and organize student events daily, there is a downside to the site: stalking. TheFacebook has opened a door to the opportunities to stalk people. We have been told for years not to give out our personal information online, and now weâ€™re willingly putting it on display for all to see. With your phone number, home address, daily schedule and picture all in one convenient place, anyone who wanted to find you could do so very conveniently.
TheFacebook also has another downside. It is a great time waster. You think you are going on to â€˜confirmâ€™ a friend request and the next thing you know itâ€™s an hour later because youâ€™ve been looking at all the new people youâ€™re connected to. In conducting research to write this paper, and signing up for TheFacebook, I have often found myself spending hours searching through all the profiles of my classmates.
So why have many college students spent hour upon hour lurking around in the pages of TheFacebook? Other than the broad spectrum of features offered by this community, the reasons could be as different as the individual profiles each user creates. The success of TheFacebook has been largely based on itâ€™s ability to span the continent, and the addictive nature of the site. Just as any other online community, with time itâ€™s popularity may die down.
TheFacebook (n.d).Retrieved September 23, 2005, from
Merriam Websterâ€™s Online Dictionary (n.d.). Retrieved
September 23, 2005, from www.m-w.com
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