In this day and age, those who don't have a Facebook account are probably in the minority. In the past few years, thanks to social networks like Facebook, we’re able to cast a wider social net than ever before.
It used to be that once a person graduated from high school, they’d have to make an effort to keep track of fellow classmates via letters and phone calls. Now, we can connect with those old friends and quickly and easily share photos and news with them. Excited to announce your engagement or the birth of your first child? All you need to do is log in to Facebook to get the word out to your extended network of connections.
Of course, there are some that argue that while Facebook makes it easier to keep in touch, the connections are often superficial. In a recent New York Times article entitled “The Facebook Resisters,” several individuals who are not Facebook members are profiled. One remarked that they found that because of Facebook, they rarely called their friends to speak on the phone anymore. Another recounted an odd situation in which he was in an elevator with a friend of a friend, and, thanks to Facebook, he already knew everything about her, despite the fact that the two had never spoken to each other.
While the Facebook naysayers may be in the minority today, they certainly have some fair points. As we build our social connections, what purpose do they serve for us? Do we really feel connected to our “friends”? If someone sends you a friend request, what determines whether or not you’ll accept it?
In the case of the online student, Facebook can be an invaluable resource. It allows you to connect with fellow classmates from all over the country, share experiences, and provide each other with support. Social networking, whether via Facebook or some other medium, can provide a wonderful supplement to a student’s online learning experience.
While Facebook and other social networks are deeply ingrained in our everyday lives, most of us can remember a time when that wasn’t the case. How have our interactions with those we consider close to us evolved since those days? Provided that we are mindful of how we interact with one another online, we can find that our lives are actually enriched by the ease with which we are able to connect with each other today.