Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Facebook: A 21st Century Interactive Yearbook

I was honestly very surprised with just how objective Professor Levinson was about Facebook in Chapter 7. Since he was so complimentary of MySpace in the previous chapter, I wrongly assumed he would be very derogatory about Facebook, MySpace's logical rival. I thought he clearly outlined the subjective and objective differences between the two social media platforms and made a point to say that it really is a personal preference.

Facebook's ability to reconnect relationships is what is most interesting to me personally. As Levinson says, cyberspace has the distinct ability "to vanquish the time and distance that separates us from old friends and acquaintances" (129). My mom lost touch with her high school best friend many years ago. A few months ago, I received a Facebook message from her old best friend, asking me if I was related to my mom. At this point, my mom had an inactive Facebook account, but started using it after she reconnected with her old friend to exchange messages. They have spent the past few months catching up on years of each other's lives they missed out on (careers, husbands, children, deaths, moves, sicknesses) and they do this by "talking" every single day (no verbal communication just long Facebook messages) and by posting pictures of their families, workplaces and homes to their accounts. They are now back in each other's lives and, without Facebook, the reconnection would have never happened, since my mom's friend now lives very far from us. It was very refreshing to see first hand the powerful way Facebook can change reality and truly bring people (back) together.


  1. An interesting coincidence: today's New York Times quotation of the day is about advertising on Facebook and directly relates to what our guest speaker spoke about yesterday- the fine line between social media being a positive new promotion method and being downright disturbing-

    "When it works, it’s amazingly impactful, but when it doesn’t work, it’s not only creepy but off-putting. What a marketer might think is endearing, by knowing a little bit about you, actually crosses the line pretty easily."
    TIM HANLON of Riverview Lane Associates of Chicago, on advertising aimed at Facebook users.

  2. My mom has also activated a Facebook account for the same purpose. She signed up and rarely went on it until she started receiving e-mail notifications that former classmates had sent her "friend requests." She is now an active user. My uncle, and a few aunts have followed her lead. Although it has proven to be a great source to keep in touch, it is also difficult for me. My family started to comment on my statuses, and truthfully, it's embarrassing. I once posted a status that was simply lyrics from a Coldplay song and my uncle commented with a paragraph, taking the lyrics all too literally. I blocked my wall from my family members soon after. Although adults have proven that they too can use Facebook, there still exists a generation gap.

  3. Many teens and young adults expressed disapproval when older adults started to set up accounts on Facebook, when the requirement of an .edu address was lifted. And nowadays it remains an interesting question, of whether you friend your parents or not.