Facebook is a social media that has taken the world by storm through its daily subscriptions and overall impact on the society. Facebook website was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 while he was still in college. Today facebook has so far reached over 500 million active subscribers who are making use of this important platform for various purposes. Facebook is operated by a company called facebook inc. On this platform, the users are allowed to create their won personal profiles in which they include their personal information. This information can be viewed by friends who are invited to the site once a user is activated. On the personal profile , users are able to update their status which can elicit comments from their friends. Users are also allowed to receive and send messages using the inbox option in their accounts. Users receive notifications when their friends comment on their status, when new messages are received and when new friend request arrive for their confirmation or rejection. Facebook has also provided a platform where users can easily upload their photos and notes that can be viewed and read by their friends. Facebook has so many features that have attracted global generations and is continuing to have a great impact on their lives. This social network has influenced global generations both in positive and negative perspectives that are the subject of this discussion and analysis. The impact of the social media on global generations has been wide reaching in terms of positive improvements in communication and socialization. Facebook has also impacted negatively on global generations in terms of increased spending, poor performance, divorce, bad language and immorality.
Facebook has created an environment where people in different parts of the globe can freely interact and form long lasting connections. Through this social media users have been able to make contacts with people of different social classes and origins. Turning strangers into life time friends has become a common trend on facebook. This can be evidenced by international students who seek to make ties with their fellow students in other parts of the world so as to share knowledge. Getting new friends on facebook is as easy as searching for contacts and requesting for friendship. Facebook has also come up with more innovations that make it so fast to make friends out of strangers. This can be articulated by the feature which suggests friends especially for the new users. These are people the user might be knowing or not knowing and they can end up becoming friends with a confirmation. Communication through telephone and email is not preferred by many as compared to facebook. Most people would prefer to use facebook to connect to their friends because their friends log in most of the time with computers and with their mobile phones. Initially to access email using a mobile phone required only the expensive phones but with the coming of facebook, it is easy to log in or sign in using even the simple phones that have access to the internet. (Doug & Monroe,2009)
Facebook has also come with the instant chat features in which users are able to exchange conversations in real time. This feature has really attracted the young people and really causes excitement hence enhancing their connectivity on a global scale.The contacts that are provided on personal profiles can be used to enhance connectivity between people around the world. Once a name search is done, a facebook user can turn to the contact section where the prospective user has recorded the relevant information. Facebook made is easy for me to find a childhood friend who had disappeared for a long time. In this case I did the search using his official names and accessed quite a number of options, From the available results it was possible to request for friendship and upon accepting it we were all reunited. Without the use of facebook, it would have been very difficult to find her because of lack of the resources. (Mitch,2010).
Face book is a medium of communication through which the users can exchange anything using the platform. Through the profile on facebook a new users can receive information about other users that request for friendship. This can be done by looking at their gender, religion, age and other attributes that are associated with the user. Knowing what the other users on facebbook want is also an important aspect o the social networking site.
From a technological perspective it is important to argue that facebook has changed the way in which the society adjusts to technological changes. When computer s first emerged, there was a hesitant attitude among the people but however after some time, the behavior of individuals have changed especially when they witness their friends talk to many people on facebook. . (Mitch,2010).
Facebook as a social networking site has created a good platform where various businesses are advertised. Business organizations are targeting consumers from all over the world with their products. Global generations can easily have access to goods and services through the site. The adverts that pop up on facebook provide links to the specific sites where the goods and services can be located.
Direct advertising that is performed by facebook helps to create more awareness on products and services. Through a network of friends, a product can easily spread and reach different destinations of the world. When one user buys a product, a message can be circulated through the site and this would help to influence the other friends. For instance if Simon decided on by an I phone from an online site, a message would be circulated on facebook claiming that Simon is now owning a brand new I phone. When his friends view such a message, they are more likely to link up with Simon and ask him about the new I phone. His positive reaction would influence his friends on facebook to look for the same phone. This can be considered to be a very efficient way that is being used by companies to influence consumers into buying products. Facebook has therefore had an impact on global generations by influencing their purchasing habits. Young people without any idea of products can now base on their friends opinions to make decisions into purchasing online products. The users of facebook can also develop trust on products when they see their friends being associated with certain products. (Nüscheler&Cochrane,2009)
Marketers have also made use of groups to influence global generations. On facebook, there is a feature that allows user to form groups that can be used for carrying out campaigns on products and services. One member can form a group after having known a certain good or service. Friends have the option of clicking to join different types of groups and this enables them to give their opinions on specific topics that are posted by the members of that particular group. (Nüscheler&Cochrane,2009)
Facebook as a social network has had a lot of influence on the modern world socialization and social interactions. This has been observed across both genders and across different age groups. The facebook platform provides an easy way through which people can make contacts with one another and socialize for different purposes. Research has shown that people who experience socialization problems for instance girls who are too shy or boys who are shy can easily find company on facebook. The socialization process is initiated by a simple comment that can culminate into a heated discussion then physical meeting if the two individuals are in the same geographical region. (Kaveri&Greenfield,2008)
Human beings are social and they have to get some time to go out and make new friends and meet their other friends and relatives. Facebook as a social network has really transformed this phenomenon and it is no longer a must for someone to go out physically to meet their friends. In the global generations, it is now more preferred to wake up and log in just to pass greetings to friends and relatives. This means that a good proportion of people are spending their social time on facebook. This has further resulted in expression of emotions and privacy on this social network. It has become a common thing as articulated by sociologists that emotions such as guilt, fear and happiness are expressed on facebook. When somebody is stressed the tendency of expressing such a situation on facebook is high. Expressions of happiness and joy have become common on facebook. Individual users find it easy to post their happiness expressions so that they can share it with their friends. Sadness is also expressed on facebook. This has been depicted in cases where an individual has been bereaved or has gone through an unfortunate situation. It is a common practice for his or her friends to come in and show their sympathy towards the affected person. Researchers have begun pointing out that people are now using facebook to find solutions to their personal problems. The impact of expressing feelings and other privacy matters has had a wide reaching impact on the society. This is in light of the fact that the society has slowly got used to the openness. Researchers have argued that the society in now more open than before because of social networking and facebook seems to have taken the lead in opening individuals and the society. A single post for instance an update about a personal issue can be viewed by so many friends across the globe. The posting of personal intimate life has become a common thing on facebook. For instance when a young girl becomes engaged to a man he will go straight to facebook and change her status from single to engaged. However if things do not go well with the relationship she still has the option of changing her status back to single or complicated. While in the cause of changing her status the reactions of friends towards the changed status are seen and they are an indication of their awareness to her personal life. This was not the same thing like in the past where it was not possible to even know the relationship status of your own siblings. Facebook has created more awareness of personal life of individuals. For instance if an individual has bad tendencies for instance boycotting work , this can easily be detected using facebook especially by analyzing his status and updates. The modern society and facebook users are also engaged in practices of notifying their friends on their whereabouts. Individuals have become easy to monitor especially when they update their status on their current locations. As they move from one city to another can easily be seen on their status updates. As they move from work to their residential areas, they normally add the same to their status. This has therefore changed the situation unlike in the past where you had to call an individual so as to know their current locations and activities. With the current social networking platforms, it is so easy to keep track with the events of individuals as they move from one place to another. However this should be considered as a threat to personal life especially considering the fact that such expression of personal information can be used by people with malicious intentions to cause harm to an individual. (Kaveri&Greenfield,2008)
The social networking platform has really transformed the phenomenon of dating across the globe. This has been witnessed with the new approaches that have been brought about by the system to suit individuals.
Global generations have made use of facebook for finding new partners for various reasons. Men who are single can easily get hooked up with ladies who are single by looking at their status. The forum has made it possible to view the profile of the prospective date and this can be followed up with a phone call. Dating can take the form of simple inbox messages to the chat option that is also preferred by some people. The other interesting thing concerns the feature of sending gifts and other invitations amongst friends which has really caused excitement amongst both sexes. In essence, facebook has allowed individuals to express their feelings in different ways while interacting with one another.Facebook technology has therefore made the process of finding dates so easily than in other online dating sites that are known to charge a fee for the same services. Research studies continue to indicate that more people are joining facebook so as to find suitable dates after some time. (Romm-Livermore& Setzekorn,2008).
Information, education and empowerment.
We are in the age of information and technology and every individual seeks information to get empowerment. Facebook has in this case proved to be a very important tool that has empowered so many people across the globe with information. On this social network information spreads so fast such that if a fire starts in California, the message can reach parts of Africa within the split of a second. People on facebook get information quicker than those who do not have an account with facebook. The various media organizations have signed up with facebook and they utilize the space to inform the public on various topics. These media organizations have discussion groups in which facebook members have an opportunity of contributing towards specific topics that are posted on their profiles. Social networking allows sharing of information between people who cannot physically meat or talk on phone. The process of sharing information is quite easy for instance if one user wants several users to have a piece of information, he can write a note which would then be posted on his profile for all his friends to see. When such a process is effected so many people get access to the information and it can lead to change in their lives. (Romm-Livermore& Setzekorn,2008).
Minority and marginalized groups have become empowered by the space that has been brought about by facebook. The women for instance have begun using face book forum to air their discontent about the unfair society that discriminated against them in various aspects. The society today can listen to the voice of a woman on various controversial issues. For instance issues such as marital rape, domestic violence and gender inequality can be aired on facebook and reactions of people articulated. Facebook has allowed the creation of groups that can help to address such issues. When women openly speak about them, they have become more empowered and they can have the courage of saying no to violence and injustice. People with disability have also joined facebook and they are now being heard across the globe as they raise their concerns towards the society. A good illustration can be provided by the people with albinism who can come out and express their concerns about how the society has been discriminating them. They have actually raised their voices and showed the society that they are just as normal as the other humans. In such cases face book has been used to dispel the stigma and discrimination that had been put on the people. People who are living with the HIV virus have also had a chance to make use of social networking to martial support and dispel the fear and stigma associated with their condition. Through facebook the people have become more informed about the infection and prevention measures. People with the infection have often come out open to speak about how they have managed the condition. In essence the modern society has been impacted in a positive way through social media by tackling the fear, stigma and discrimination associated with diseases like AIDS, Autism, Diabetes and many others. (Tiemann,2007).
Social networks have become areas where the youths express their passion for sports ,hobbies and even crime. The police can now make use of facebook images to carry out their investigations on the likelyhood of some people carrying weapons and being involved in criminal activities. As mentioned by Clerk (2009), such information can provide crucial leads that can assist the law enforcers in apprehending suspects. This also shows how a social network has become an important source of information to be used in the national security.
Negative impact of facebook
The coming of facebook has been associated with a number of negative aspects that have been seen in the society by researchers.
Poor performance in education.
Young people are the majority subscribers on facebook and they are the ones who are adversely affected by the site. Research has shown poor performance in high schoolers and college students who spend most of their time visiting the site. Researchers have also continued to point out that face book causes students to study less and this eventually affects their grades. This has been cited amongst the new users of face book and those who have smart mobile phones. It is vital to mention the fact that there is an element of addiction to facebook especially amongst the young people. It is so hard for them to distinguish between the time for having fun on social networks and the time for concentrating on studies. The lack of discipline on the use of the site has made them suffer the consequence with their poor performance in education. In a study that was done at Ohio State University where the students participated, those who use facebook recorded a mean of 3.0 to 3.5 in their grades. In this category of facebook users, it was noted that they study between 1 to 5 hours in a week. On the contrary those who never use facebook have recorded a mean of between 3.5 to 4.0 and they reported to study for 11 or more hours. This statistics are an evidence of the extent to which facebook continues to affect education across the globe. This can prompt educationists too start advocating for stiff rules to curtail the use of facebook amongst the students for failing to give education a priority because of the social networking sites. (Walsh,2009)
Low productivity at the workplace.
Organizations have begun facing serious consequences with the use of facebook amongst the employees. The internet has become an essential communication tool in any organization and it has come with access to sites such as facebook. According to studies that have been conducted by various researchers, employees who have access to the internet have facebook as the most common visited site. This has been observed in most organizations as depicted by studies. This situation is affecting individual productivity in organizations. Initially facebook was viewed as a young generation fantasy but in the modern global generations, it is being embraced by all demographics. This has been experienced at various workplaces and it affects the productivity of organizations. Despite the reduced productivity in the workforce, organizations are faced with the problem of securing their intellectual property rights. With the coming of facebook ,it is so easy for individuals in an organization to share out such sensitive information. This could undermine the integrity of an organization and reduce the competitive advantage. Social networking sites like facebook raise security concerns especially with the advent of hackers who can use the platforms to acquire important information that can affect the organization negatively. Besides the threat from hackers there is a potential risk that is brought about by computer viruses. The malicious files can be lodged into the html files in facebook and can cause great harm to computers in organizations. As a result of the negative impact facebook has had on organizations, policies have been initiated in some organizations to discourage the use of the site especially within the premises of an organization. Such measures are intended to secure the information of the organization while at the same time maximize the productivity of each and every employee. (Alemán,Martínez,Wartman&Lynk,2009)
Facebook and increased spending.
The attraction to social networks increases each and every day as more users get involved. By virtue of the fact that the network can only be accessed through computers and mobile phones, modern global generations have been influenced into increased expenditure to satisfy themselves. Some people consider facebook as their only hobby and form of entertainment. This means that their bigger expenditure on entertainment goes to facebook.The modern global generations spend a lot on social media than the past generations. This can be looked at in terms of their higher spending in cyber cafes and on the purchase of smart phones like Apple Iphones for their convenience. Young people can prefer to spend a lot to purchase an I Phone that would enable them to access facebook in their beds and even while travelling in vehicles and in the air.
Studies that have been carried out in the United States depict that there is a high rate of addiction to the network especially by young people and this has contributed significantly to their spending. In some homes and schools facebook has been curtailed and therefore this situation drives most youths into cyber cafes where they spend a lot while trying to socialize on facebook. (Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina, Mundra& Kusum,2007)