Facebook has Changed Personal Communication: Good or Bad?

By Anais Tobar

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Facebook has changed the way people communicate with each other. That is an undisputable fact. Personal communication used to be about one-on-one interaction—whether it’d be in person or over the phone. Even group reunions used to be about one-on-one. If you had a story to tell you would have a specific audience who was listening to you; you were aware of who they were. Facebook changed that. Now personal communication involves photos, statuses, and likes and very little one-on-one. When a photo is posted it is shown to all your friends, and depending on your privacy settings, to even more people. Therefore, your story was transmitted to a large group of people, most of who know very little about the context of the photo. After all, these images and words put up there are what we consciously choose as what we want people to see. As discussed in visual rhetoric, a photo is only but an instant, a very limited snapshot, of everything else in the real world image. The question remains: is this change goof or bad?

That is still an unanswered question and one that may remain unanswered for many years, since the effects of this changes vary from person to person. However, as Stephen Marche writes in an Atlantic Monthly article that Facebook is just a result of how we use it. As a society, he points out, we seek independence which with the use of technology, and specifically Facebook, we end up isolating ourselves. We are constantly preoccupied with what we put up, what we say, how we say it, how many likes we get and Marche says, “Facebook denies us a pleasure whose profundity we had underestimated: the chance to forget about ourselves for a while, the chance to disconnect”(Marche, 2012).

On the other hand, Facebook is a tool that allows everyone to stay in touch, easily and quickly. Before social media, there was no mass personal information sharing, other than sending a mass email. Many argue that Facebook allows for bonds to stay strong and friends and family to stay in contact. This point is valid since before Facebook if someone wanted to know about another person they had to actively seek information. Facebook presents it to you in the “news feed,” just as a newspaper presents its news. Going by the concept of technology is what we make of it, Facebook allows you to stay close with people you are already close with, outside of the digital world, and does nothing to the relationships that have no real outside foundation.

Personal communication is as important as always, the difference lies within the way we communicate. Research shows during the past decades loneliness has increased, however, this is cannot be blamed solely on technology. Being aware and conscious about your use and its possible effects allows for intelligent decisions. Though Facebook has radically changed the way we communicate, creating our lives into public forums where we choose what people see, as well as intensifying our societal need for independence, this section does not call for you to erase your Facebook page, it is the opposite, it seeks to highlight the way Facebook has change communication in attempt that you will learn from it.

Works Cited

Marche, Stephen. "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely." Atlantic Monthly. May 2012. Web. 03 December 2012.