The Effects Of Facebook

Submitted By amandahelle
Words: 2064
Pages: 9

Facebook is a social media website founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2003. To begin users register prior using the site, then create a profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages. Twitter is another social media website that allows people to stay connected through brief message updates up to 140 characters in length called tweets. The concept of Twitter was conceived by Jack Dorsey and with the help of Noah Glass, Florian Weber, and Odeo (company who employed Jack Dorsey), Twitter was released to the public July 2006. These social media websites have changed the way society communicates, how we find information and share knowledge. With these changes, the effects on our society have been both negative and positive. The Effects of Social Media
The purpose of this paper is to explore how social media has changed the way society communicates with each other, the way we find information, and share knowledge. Facebook began in 2003 with a young intoxicated Harvard sophomore hacking the Harvard student directory, or ‘facebooks’ (student pictures intended to help students identify each other) in order to allow others to rate the attractiveness of the students side by side, his take on ‘hot or not’. It seemed like something to pass the time that night. But little did Mark Zuckerberg know that it would become a worldwide phenomenon that would help change the way society interacts. Facebook has recently surpassed over 1 billion users. (Facebook, 2012) The history of social media is really the history of the Internet. The constant and ever increasing influence of technology on society can be illustrated by the use of social media that has changed how the average person interacts with the world around them. I will start with the bad news, then end on a positive note. I do think it is concerning how much unproductive time is spent on clicking away on these social media web sites, especially in our younger generations. It is estimated that the average user spends about 55 minutes a day on Facebook. ( That adds up to about 30 hours a month. It is absolutely staggering to think of all that could be accomplished in that time if one were focused on something more productive. Or how much additional income a person could earn in that time. Or what could be learned while studying a favorite subject NOT called ‘social media’. Like it or not, most people don’t share that outlook. Why is it that we are so enthralled with the idea of constant interaction via posts, updates, or tweets? Maybe we are just wired that way. New research done at Harvard suggests that we are. (PNAS) When people share something about themselves, or someone else talks about them, the chemical dopamine is released in the brain. The same chemical that is released from drugs, sex, or getting money. In the study, the subjects were consistently willing to give up money in order to talk about themselves. People want you to know things about them, and perhaps more importantly, care about those things (i.e. “like” them) or post comments about them. We like feedback. It makes us feel important and relevant in a world that can make us feel so small and insignificant. In this world of instantly posted pictures of what we might be doing at that exact second, any kind of response is a kind of validation of our ‘interesting’ lives. Attention is a powerful motivator, and what platforms like Facebook and Twitter illustrate is just how many people are paying attention to you. It can be quantified in the number of friends or followers a person has. The human brain rewards us for this type of behavior in a major way. The same Harvard study showed that in regular face-to-face conversations the average person talks about themselves about 35- 40% of the time. The average doubles to an astounding 80% on social media sites. It seems that we really love us! So much so that we are willing to neglect our jobs, our face-to-face relationships, and