April 24, 2006

The Sociology of Facebook

Writing about web page http://www.facebook.com

Despicable squared-eyes toy or handy communicational medium, in any case Facebook is rapidly institutionalising within our university’s student culture. Although presumably most people would prefer the latter description.

facebook banner2Pondering over the speed with which Facebook has become a central phenomenon in everyday life (a click on my friends list, for example, will tell me that more than a handfull of them have updated their profile within the last 24 hours), I came to think how Facebook might be capable of transforming our social behaviour, placed in the new context of the internet. Do we interact differently in an online community? After all, we find easy access to a whole bunch of people’s sort-of-private information – which they, admittedly, willingly expose to any member of the community. In addition to this, I can find that the most remote characters are only one “social connection” away from me.

Personally, I have so far maintained the policy of “if I have never met you in flesh and blood, I’m not adding you”, and I would assume most other students do. However, with respect to functions that go unnoticed (here I’m refering to “Facebooking” replacing “Googling” people), I must admit that I feel considerably freer to go and discover what people are about, down to their favourite bands, societies and online published photos. One observer once said: “The internet is not what society is, it is what society would like to be if it knew no constraints.”

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