Candy's Digital J Thoughts

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Facebook May Do More Harm Than Good

During my first semester as a college freshman someone told me about the Facebook. In fact it was this really nerdy girl in my stat class. So, judging from the source and what sounded to me like another excuse to waste time; I decided it was stupid. But later that week all of my friends started talking about it, saying it was really fun and interesting. I joined the Facebook two days later. My first friend was the nerdy girl in my stat class.

I learned two things:
1. The Facebook is really cool and interesting.
2. The Facebook is an extreme waste of time and energy.

However I continue my membership and continue to waste my time on the site. The site has created a following of epic proportions since I first heard about it. According to Wikipedia.org, as of 2005 it had the largest number of registered users among college focused sites. That number they report is over 7.5 million US students with almost 20,000 new accounts created daily. The interest in the site is simple, people can 'people watch' over the Internet. You can learn everything there is to know about someone by what you read on their profile. You can even look at everything they have been doing in their pictures that are posted online. The Facebook, according to the same Wikipedia article is the number one site for photos with 2.3 million photos uploaded daily.

Think about how much money is made off of advertising alone on this Web site. With this many users on the site for God only knows how long everyday, there is a major marketing tool now available. Most importantly, the content of the site was not even created by the people who will receive all of that money for the advertising slots available on the site. In a way we are just creating a new arena for advertisers to sell us more stuff, and we are making it easy.

We are opening the door to be manipulated. At Sun-sentiniel.com there is an article that discusses the site as a political campaign tool for candidates running for office. Not only are we being sold Lacoste shirts and designer jewelry and hand bags, we are being sold political views and opinions. The article discusses how the candidates use younger interns to help create personas on the Facebook to attract attention from young people. It even goes as far to compare the Facebook to the student center and even malt shop of the past (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/florida/orl-mfacebook2006sep20,0,1030488.story?coll=sfla-news-florida).

While it may be aggravating that we are becoming susceptible to the bombardment of advertisements and campaigning, we are also making it easier for future employers to do a speedy background check. Current employers now check up on possible job canidates on the Facebook. According to a Daily Texan article many employers are now screening interviewees by what they may found unacceptable or inexcusable behavior displayed on the Facebook. Employers are not alone. School official are also able to see evidence of illegal actions such as under-age drinking and hazing posted online for the look at. Some athletic teams have even been disbanded souly off of evidence uncovered in the site's "albums." In which students first and last names are "tagged" beneath incriminating photos.

In conclusion, you should be careful what you say, post, upload, and do online. Students on the Facebook may not realize the amount of their own personal privacy that they publish for the world to see and profit from.

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