Facebook a social media phenomenon : a critique

Facebook as a social media phenonomen: a critique

Over the last number of years facebook has had an ever increasing presence on our daily lives. It has gone from being a small campus based website set up by college students as a way to meet women and has grown to become one of the most valuable website in the world it is currently worth 200 billion dollars as of 9th September 2014. Like everything there are pros and cons to facebooks growing presence and cultural significance but before you can discuss the pros and cons of facebook you first have to look at the history of facebook.

The history of facebook?

Facbook was launched in February 2004 originally named “thefacebook”, it gained over one thousand members in its first twenty four hours and within two months over half of Harvard’s undergraduates had a profile on the website. Thefacebooks popularity quickly spread and was soon in every college in America. By august 2005 the “the” was dropped and it was just called facebook after the rights to the name were bought for 200,000 dollars. By September 2005 facebook had spread across the Atlantic. By late 2006 it was opened up to the public and anyone who had an email could sign up. In late 2006 facebook was the subject of a 2 billion dollar buyout from technology giants Google and also yahoo but mark Zuckerberg refused to sell the website. As facebooks popularity grew mark Zuckerbergs influence and power also grew and in 2012 facebook purchased social media website instagram for a price in the region of 1 billion dollars. Also in 2012 facebook floated stocks on the stock exchange and in its first IPO (initial public offering) facebook raised 16 billion dollars and overtake tech giant Google in becoming the tech company with the largest IPO in history. With the advancements in technology which allow people to stay connected it looks as though facebooks future is bright but whether that is in the interest of society is another question.

The pros of facebook.

Staying in touch with friends and family: facebook is extremely useful if you want to stay in touch with family that live all over the world. Facebook is also useful in staying in touch with lifelong friends that you otherwise wouldn’t have stayed in touch with. Statistics show that 70% of adults have used facebook as a way of staying connected with family and 57% of teens have reported making new friendships on social media. Facebook allows for people to stay up to date on the lives of friends and family and with features like instant messaging and video staying in touch has never been easier.

Good for improving social skills: facebook when used correctly can help improve people’s self esteem and also socialise with people who share the same interests as you

Education:  facebook can be good for both students and teachers, if a child misses a day of class then the teacher can post the homework on the schools facebook page this means that the child has the ability to catch up and means the child has no excuse for not having the homework done when they return to school. Likewise if children do not understand the homework then they can get into to contact with each other over facebook to discuss it.

Good for advertising business: businesses especially nightclubs use facebook as a way of advertising their business by posting pictures up online and also engaging in social media competitions for example like and share competitions for free entry or to win tickets to a concert. Facebook is a cheap and easy way for businesses to get into contact with their target market which can only be a good thing for the economy.

Good way to kill time: facebook is good if you need to kill time for example if you are waiting in the car while someone is in the shop or if you are at the bus stop waiting for the bus or if you are on a long bus journey and there is nothing else to do. Facebook means that you can stay up to date with current events while you wait.

Facebook is a place where you can broaden your horizons and expand your social circle as there are lots of fun interesting people you can meet on facebook that you wouldn’t meet in your daily life.

The cons of facebook:

Privacy is a big con of facebook when you post something on facebook it then becomes public and anyone can see it. Facebook can sometimes feel like you are opening up your personal life to the world. There are ways of changing your privacy settings so that only certain people can view you r posts but these can be difficult to locate and difficult to change. There is also the case of what facebook do with the information that they have about you. It has been reported that facebook sell your personal data to other companies so they can tailor their advertisements to your personality.

Cyber bulling is a big con of facebook. Children in school and even adults in the workplace can be subject to cyber bulling on facebook this can be in the form of messages, posts about the individual or photos and videos. For parents it is hard to monitor their children’s activity on facebook and as a result it can be hard to know if their child is being bullied or if they are a bully. It is also hard for schools to get prevent cyber bulling as it is hard for teachers to hear about bullying unless the child being bullied steps forward and reports it.

Spam and hackers is another problem with facebook. Hackers set up fake accounts and send messages to people and when they view the content hackers steal their personal information like credit card details and passwords which can then be used by the hackers or sold on. The lack of security on facebook is a massive con.

Future Regrets: Teenagers may post pictures of their friends at parties and other places that can come back and haunt them later, especially when they are applying for college. Many adults have lost their job due to posts they made on Facebook.

Productivity: because facebook is so addictive it means that employees can often check their facebook page during work hours, this can lead to a drop in productivity and by extension and loss of profits. Also students who are studying or doing assignments on the computer can also have a facebook tab in the background. When they go to check their facebook page a few minutes can turn into hours and before you know it you have spend three hours on facebook and only written a paragraph.

Conclusion: in conclusion facebook has many advantages and disadvantages. There is no doubt that when facebook is used correctly it can enrich the lives of its users it can help people stay in touch and people can also find long lost friends they thought they would never see again. It can also help people broaden their horizons and learn new cultures by contacting people all over the world. Facebook can also help students keep up to date with their studies and also is a good way to kill time when you have nothing to do. But there is also lots of things wrong with facebook for example it can lead to a loss of productivity in employees and students, it can prevent people from getting jobs in the future when prospective employers look at their facebook posts. Facebook is also a place that is full of cyber bulling and can be a detriment to peoples self esteem and confidence as a result of cyberbulling. There is also the matter of security facebook is prone to hackers setting up fake accounts and hacking other peoples account for personal information.

In my opinion facebook has contributed lots to society, it brings people together. It is a great way for companies to conduct market research. It is also great way for children to make friends and learn new things. Facebooks has an image in the public that it is pure evil and that it is the end of society as we know it but in my opinion that perception couldn’t be more wrong. Even though facebook has a lot of disadvantages, I believe that the advantages of facebook outweigh the disadvantages. I believe that if facebook is used correctly it can enrich the lives of others and contribute to improving society.



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Philips, S. (2007), a brief history of facebook, the guardian (online) 25th April available: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2007/jul/25/media.newmedia (accessed 03/02/2015)

Inc.com, happy birthday, facebook a look back at 10 years, available: http://www.inc.com/issie-lapowsky/happy-birthday-facebook.html (accessed 05/02/2015)

Feldman, Barbara. “Pros and Cons of Facebook.” Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 4 Mar. 2011. Web. 5 Feb. 2015. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1535/pros-and-cons-of-facebook/  (accessed 06/02/2015)

Nobullying.com(2014), the pros and cons of facebook, available: http://nobullying.com/pros-and-cons-of-facebook/ (accessed 06/02/2015)

Toptensocialmedia.com, 10 pros and cons of social media, available: http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-social-buzz/10-pros-and-cons-of-social-media/ (accessed 10/02/2015)

Ludwig von mises institute, essay: facebooks advantages and disadvantages, available: http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Essay:Facebook%27s_advantages_and_disadvantages (accessed 10/02/2015)

Joseph McGrory (L00106812)


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