Facebook, the Anti-Social Network?

Facebook. A website that has more than 500 million active users. A website where people spend over 700 billion minutes each month. A website with over 900 million objects that people interact with. It is even a website that is active in over 190 countries. This is the website that revolutionized how we interact with friends, colleagues, siblings – even parents. The many features on Facebook make it the ultimate social network, complete with status updates, photo sharing, personal profiles, games to compare scores with friends, a chat feature to instant message with, whole networks of friends – even groups to connect with others of the same interests. Also, people can “like” different pages to show other friends his or  her interests. With the new Facebook layout, “friendship pages” let two friends see the pages they have both liked and other similarities. The Facebook home page is also a news feed that shows each user everything his or her friends have been doing on the website recently. The ability for friends to share, comment on, and tag photos has also shaped the way we think of the Internet. Now, instead of just sharing photos through email, people can tag photos on Facebook for friends to comment on. Basically, it is the ultimate social network. While it has provided the easy access to long lost friends and the convenient way to learn more about someone after meeting them, is it really as social as it seems to be?

There are currently 57,805,621 active monthly users on the Facebook for iPhone application, 27,030,915 active monthly users on the Facebook for BlackBerry application, and 1,131,718 active monthly users on the Facebook for Android application. Since there are more than 200,000,000 active users of Facebook mobile, people that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active as non-Facebook mobile users. With these new ways of connecting to the expanding social network, there is even a 50% chance that even you were on or will be on Facebook today. There are more than 3,000,000,000 photos uploaded to the site each month. The average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook.

While Facebook is still a social network, are we turning it into an anti-social network? I personally see people staying on Facebook from the comfort of their own computer instead of hanging out with friends and doing things that we would call, well, social. And, with Facebook mobile, people are getting on Facebook even when they are doing these truly social activities. My cousin just said today, “I kind of wish I never got it, because now its hard not to use it all the time. I could be using this time to do things that are actually social.” Even I have been logged into Facebook for the majority of the time I spent writing this article. The amount of time people spend on Facebook makes me wonder… Is this social networking phenomenon really social, or is it transforming the world into something much less social than before? What do you think?


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