As part of an assignment, this blog was supposed to be about, broadly speaking, London, and anything that can be related to it. Since I’ve already been marked on that, I’ve decided to develop this blog a bit more.
Fear not, the main focus of it will still be London; however, I’ll be adding other types of posts from time to time, i.e. about current events, or themes that interest and/or are important to me. This one falls into that category.
Many articles have been written about Facebook, its creator Mark Zuckerberg, what’s good and what’s bad about it, and its consequences in our society. What fascinates me most about the social network par excellence is how it affects communication between us, human beings, that spend hours a day behind a computer talking and sharing things about our life on the internet.
People probably reacted the same way when the telephone was invented, and with the mobile phone after that, but it is unquestionable that internet and all that came with it (e-mail, Google, social networking) changed our lives in ways that we might not even understand just quite yet.
Facebook intrigues us because it’s a paradox. On its homepage, it says: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” In theory, it does. How else would you be able to show your friend on the other end of the world a picture of your new dog? And how else would he “like” the picture and instantly tell you what he thinks about it?
In theory, Facebook is a great tool to keep in touch with your friends. I can speak from experience: having gone to a European School, my friends are all studying abroad, and it would be a lot harder (and way more expensive) to keep in touch with them, which I can do thanks to Facebook everyday.
But does that mean that I want to know what they’re thinking all the time? Where they are? Who they are dating? Facebook, and internet in general, enables us to share, yes, but how do you know how much is too much?
That’s where the paradox lies. You can show everyone who your girl/boyfriend is, your new dress, where you spent your summer holidays, but once you start sharing your most intimate details behind a screen, it makes it that much harder to create a connection where it actually matters: the real world.
There’s also the matter of privacy. In Portugal, there’s a saying that goes something like this: “Being on the internet is like walking around in your underwear in front of everybody.” You’re exposed.
And it’s not just the pictures with your friends or telling people where you’re working anymore; people write suicide notes as their Facebook statuses and share their most private thoughts and dreams online. It used to be your bank account and your telephone contract; nowadays, it’s your whole life.
We, homo sapiens, went from sending love letters to sending love inboxes. Of course, Facebook is not all bad. The thing to do is try to establish some boundaries, and try to figure out how much is too much. Much like with anything else in life.