Mark Zuckerberg may have had good intentions when creating thefacebook, and he has created a pretty cool site, but I think it has its downfalls.
The purpose of thefacebook is to facilitate communication with large numbers of people at once. Zuckerberg’s goal reflects today’s society; the more and quicker production, the better. But there are certain boundaries that should not be crossed.
Because of the increase in technology and new creations like thefacebook, our generation is missing out on some important aspects of learning how to socialize. With America Online, AOL Instant Messenger, email and text messages, we don’t have to tell people things to their face anymore. This way we can avoid their emotions or reactions to what we are saying. With less emotion it is easier to say certain things, especially if you are letting someone down.
I don’t think thefacebook focuses on quality communication, but rather, quantity. I consider quality, heart to heart, or “real” communication to be communication that includes eye contact, body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, human emotions and literally, personal presence.
Though thefacebook is trying to bring people together, in the long run it may physically and emotionally spread people apart. Though communication has become quicker and easier, as a result, there may be less communication face to face. When you are messaging someone about something, you are missing out on stopping by their room or calling them instead. “Real” communication is a skill that is learned through practice, not by taking the easy or faster way out by messaging. By not having to go out of our way anymore to contact people, we do not have to learn or reinforce certain communication skills.
It’s important that people know when to communicate with friends online and when to say something in person. This is something that we constantly need to remind ourselves of. If it is important enough, no matter how nervous you are, no matter how embarrassed you might feel saying something, don’t take the easy way out and message someone on thefacebook. Wait and talk to them in person or on the phone instead. In the long run, it will make things much easier.
Tara Irani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.