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TAG ME IN THAT PHOTO

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It has probably become social etiquette for the people who have had their photo taken at a party or some other social gathering, to inquire about Facebook tagging and to pester the photographer to upload the photographs on Facebook as soon as possible. Whilst sure, it’s merely a medium for people to remember such special moments with friends and family, at other times it can becomes more of a psychological issue. The sheer fact people would inquire during a real event such as a party as to whether this will be recorded via photographs or videos on Facebook is a testament to the cultural conditioning that Facebook has in our lives.
Often you’ll find these people need to have some sort of physical evidence to show their “Facebook friends” of the amazing night they had (as if to say ‘if the Facebook world knows about it, than my sense of self-worth is immediately inflated with a mere photo comment like “Who’s that girl you’re with buddy. She’s hot. ”) Nowadays, it seems we achieve a greater form of satisfaction of publicly displaying our socially active lifestyle through Facebook. It becomes a sort of self-validation and helps to shape our Facebook identity as ‘socially rich’ people and we must let others bask in our glory so to say. “Envy my lifestyle please, even though I secretly envy someone elses.” Facebook, with its stalking capacities effectively becomes a method to keep score with other people in your ‘friend list’ as to basically who has the most desirable lifestyle. But it becomes a worthless fight because as we should know, Facebook identities aren’t the best translation of reality. Yet many of us are still guilty of fighting this fight of who can out-Facebook who.

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OUR FACEBOOK IDENTITY

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I think one of the most appealing aspects of Facebook is the ability to escape reality whilst maintaining a close enough semblance to it. In many respects, Facebook is a replica of our reality with application of video, photo, text and live chat etc. However, there is one important difference, because with a few clicks we can change our identity entirely, the same cannot be said with reality, and that perhaps is one of the most appealing aspects of Facebook. The ability to escape so easily.
It basically comes down to the question of whether Facebook translates to reality. Within the parameters of Facebook almost anything is possible. Our profile is our own world, our own reality. We allow who we want into our world, who we want to view our identity and what images people will see of us – we effectively reshape ourselves in the best image possible. Perhaps, this is one of the greatest attractions of Facebook and is a big reason as to why so many people have become addicted to the phenomena. A subtle combination of esteem issues and boredom with reality.

The dangers however, come to light when our Facebook identities cease being an escape from reality and instead blend within it, almost becoming a realistic translation of how we view ourselves and how others inconsequentially view us. It is because of this fact, that Facebook becomes so much more than a social networking tool, it becomes like a second-life.

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BRINGING ABOUT THE DEATH OF SOCIAL INTERACTION

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At its purest form, Facebook is a distortion of reality. It is a virtual reality that incites the same human emotions of happiness, love, anger etc. that we would achieve in the real world, minus the tangible experience. Because of this, it becomes natural for us to think the virtual world translates to the real world, however we know deep inside it does not. But the sheer convenience of Facebook as a social networking tool makes it seem so real, in fact at times you may even wonder whether you even need to leave the computer to go see your friends – I mean, why should you? Facebook has it all there right?
The ability to communicate with them via wall-to-walls, the ease in which you can chat live to your friends, view their photos and videos in which they themselves are present in (“tagged”) in many ways eliminates the need to socially interact with them in reality. In fact, Facebook makes it so easy that I don’t even need to ask the other person “Hey, what have you been up to?” because Facebook answers it for me. All I need to do is visit their wall, investigate for any updated photos and see what ‘events’ they are attending.
But what this does is effectively destroy the need and therefore skill of social interaction in the real world as its essentiality seems to diminish with the growing excellence of Facebook. I don’t even need to ask you how you’ve been, all I need to do is check your wall.

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TENDING TO JEALOUSY

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With all the attractive features of Facebook such as event organization and the ease in which you can connect with past friends and such, I personally believe it is the public aspect of Facebook that is the most attractive. However, whilst being the most attractive it also the most damaging, both to ones privacy and ones ability to sustain healthy relationships.
I know a few people in fact whose relationships have suffered due to the public platform of Facebook as an easy route to stalk people. The advent of the Newsfeed is a testament to the public culture of Facebook users, in the respect people can track your activities, who you talk to and respectively who talks to you. In other words, it makes a great tool to able to keep your boyfriend or your girlfriend in track and to continuously monitor their Facebook activities which we believe to translate to our real world interactions.
Such behaviour is dangerous because it satiates our natural curiosity as people to know what other people are doing, especially regarding the faithfulness of lovers. As a result, Facebook unintentionally becomes a cure to our obsessive jealousies and as a result tends to weaken the relationships it aims to foster. Actually, in a conducted study it was discovered that out of 5,436 divorce cases a total of up to 1,087 cases cited that illicit affairs started with the social networking site Facebook.

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DOES ‘FRIEND’ EQUATE TO FRIENDSHIP?

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The issue of basing one’s level of self-worth upon the number of friends you have is a testament to the troubled esteem issues of our generation. In that respect, the popularity of Facebook would only increase as it becomes a platform by which we as a socially anxious population can validate our worth.
Such investigations invariably lead to the issue of Facebook friends translating to actual friends in the real world. I highly doubt a user with 700 friends actually personally knows and communicates with each and every one of those 700 people. Many of them are perhaps mere acquaintances or ‘random adds’ and yet they are detailed as ‘our friends’. Subconsciously perhaps, we tend to fool ourselves into thinking if I have 700 friends on Facebook (a virtual reality) than my real life social circle can be justified.
However the underlying problem is that the virtual world of Facebook inherently does not translate to the real world. If this were true, the friendly conversation you had with your butcher about the weather would qualify him as a ‘friend’. Friendship in the real world is starkly different to friendship in the virtual world of Facebook. We mustn’t forget that.

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THE FRIEND RACE

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Whilst it may sound ridiculous, ‘the friend race’ is a common phenomena amongst many Facebook users. ‘The friend race’ is basically a ‘race’ to see who has more friends than someone else, and therefore who is more popular in a sense. This eventually leads to compulsive adding of random friends to boost the number of ‘friends’ you have, and eventually comparing subconsciously or literally with other people. We develop of mindset of relating one’s level of social status to the amount of friends he or she has – and this is essentially the dangerous aspect of ‘friend racing’.

Personally however, I believe such behaviour stems to deeper aspects than just being a bit of fun to release the boredom as many would argue. It tends to manifest as a revealing aspect to the lack of self-esteem associated with our generation and their dissipating social skills in the real world (the commonality amongst users to base thieir level of popularity and self-worth upon Facebook friends is even more alarming.)
Some of the most lonely, socially inept people I know have well over 1000 Facebook friends, frankly it’s not a great indicator at all. I mean honestly, the measure of one’s self worth from the number of Facebook friends is an issue in itself. Sure you might have more Facebook friends than me, but I beg to ask you the question of defining ‘friends’.

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Welcome

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FacebookFacts.info examines the downsides, dangers and issues associated with using Facebook. A website dedicated to exploring psychological and real world implications of Facebook use.

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