Facebook Fanatics

Susie DeRoss, Views Editor

“Founded in February 2004, Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people’s real-world social connections. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment.” This bit of background information on Facebook was taken directly from its factsheet posted for anyone to see on the website.

There are currently over 500 million active users on Facebook, and many students at Joliet West are part of that enormous amount. As stated above, this social networking website was created so people could map their “real-world social connections” on the Internet, allowing their “friends, family and coworkers” to follow along. Many people have seen, though, that some Facebook users don’t seem to understand that.

As active high school students, it’s very common for teenagers to know and communicate with a vast amount of people. When it comes to adding “friends” on Facebook, it’s possible and actually very likely that a person will connect with over 100 others. Between family, school, clubs, sports, work, and other activities, it’s not out of the norm to be able to find a large amount of people you know on the Facebook website. What does seem a little odd, though, is when teenagers seem to be “friends” with thousands of other people.

It’s extremely hard to believe that any person has “real-world social connections” to that many people. If a person is in no way part of your life, why should they be able to access all of your posted thoughts, pictures, and information? It seems like some of these social networking butterflies are really just seeking attention.

It’s one thing to add some one as a “friend” on Facebook if you know each other but are possibly not in the same group of friends or don’t necessarily communicate a lot, but it is a completely different matter to add a person for no other reason than how attractive their profile picture is or how interesting they look. Facebook is for sharing information as you please to people you know. I’m almost positive it was not created so a person could boost their popularity by having tremendous amounts of “friends.”

Facebook is helpful when it’s difficult to stay in touch with some friends and family. You are able to post pictures from big events, write statuses or notes about interesting thoughts, or even display your relationship status. However, some people are taking the website and trying to appeal to people’s interests with daring or just plain out ridiculous posts. Once again, the purpose of Facebook is not to see how many “friends” you can acquire or how many people will “like” your newest picture or status.

This website is for staying connected to people you know and not creating connections with ones you’ll never meet. It’s extremely easy to give away a great deal of information to a person you barely or possibly don’t even know. Obviously, that’s a safety issue. Having thousands of “friends” means nothing if a majority of them wouldn’t even be able to match your name to your face without looking at your Facebook profile.