“I can go and write on my friend Dani’s wall and she can reply back, even though she’s 800 miles away,” said Michael Goff, senior. Facebook provides instant connection with friends, no matter the distance. Additionally, it makes communication far less time consuming. “It’s a lot easier to communicate [on Facebook] because you can just chat someone or send them a message instead of taking the time to call them,” said Goff.
“[Messaging] helps because I don’t have texting and a lot of my friends don’t pick up [their phones] a lot. [Messaging] will never be as good as one-on-one [communication] but it’s the only suitable substitute,” said Gene Kim, senior. “I have very mixed emotions [about messaging]. It’s good to be in touch from a distance but even when you’re close it draws you further apart, because you’re talking to an electronic message that is supposed to be that person.”
Facebook can help keep friends in touch, but sometimes it’s only about creating relationships online — a lot of the time, these friendships aren’t even personal.
“When I first joined Facebook, it was all about having the most friends,” said Goff. “Now I just use it for socializing, event planning and for school.”
When asked if she knew all of her Facebook friends, Maggie Hall, junior, said, “I probably don’t even know half of them.”
“What are the chances that I talk to all of my 887 friends?” said Kim. “It’s more like contacts and acquaintances. Eventually Facebook will be more advanced in terms of labeling in order to sort people, so you only have minimal contact with some people, such as people you’re friends with on a professional level. You’d have different faces.”
For many users, Facebook is the only way possible to contact their friends. “[Facebook] is my basic means of communication because I don’t have a phone,” said Ryan Rhodes, junior.
Easy and instant communication is one of the many perks of using Facebook. Friends can talk through messaging, instant chat and now, video chat – a recently added feature. Its revolutionary, uncomplicated means of correspondence draw many people into creating accounts.
“Three years ago everyone started to get one,” said Kevin Williams, senior. “I used to have Myspace, but I gave up on it because it was confusing and I didn’t like it, so I switched to Facebook.”
Aside from maintaining and creating friendships, Facebook can also help members be professional and reach out to customers.
“[My way of using Facebook] has definitely changed. I’m more focused and I started meeting adults who are at businesses I want to get into, or people can contact me if they want artwork done. I can use [Facebook] for a lot more professional purposes,” said Kim.
In conclusion, the way Facebook is used to maintain relationships varies from person to person. For new users, it’s normally all about making “friends”. Once a person gets past their newbie stage, their use expands to suit their needs – they start to use the site for educational, business and communication purposes. Many start to delete friends they’ve made that they haven’t actually met in person. Some call them “clean out sessions”: this practice helps to unclutter a user’s newsfeed and narrow down who their actual friends are. After a while, Facebook becomes a place to connect with a person’s actual friends and maintain real-life relationships. Additionally, it can help a person to eventually expand to business relationships.
Facebook has many purposes: creating relationships, maintaining relationships, deleting relationships. The popularity of the website is rapidly growing. Where Facebook will take relationships in the future is unknown, but it has brought the people of the world together in a completely new and different way.