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Has Facebook Taken Over Our Social Lives?

By: Rana Khatib (rkhati2@uic.edu)

Facebook has become a worldwide phenomenon that has engulfed us all, creating what we view as the social norm. Our siblings, friends, teachers, parents and even grandparents have become a part of this trend. We seem to think of Facebook as our main means of socializing with others.

For any type of long distant relationship this is may be true, but does this then mean that the true meaning of “social” is being lost? How long before we lose our special connection with loved ones?

In other words, although Facebook is a great device for staying connected with friends and family, it seems to be taking away from our real-life societal bonds.

Before Facebook crashed into mainstream society, if we missed someone or just wanted to catch up, we made phone calls, wrote letters and, surprise, even visited and went out with each other. Since this system of what I like to call “new-networking” began, we have slowly been slipping more and more away from direct communication. Calling Facebook a “social” network is ironic in the sense that sitting behind a laptop or facing a phone for hours on end browsing through

Facebook only seems to create a loss for how we used to converse with one another.

It has been brought to my attention on multiple occasions by friends that even when they attempted to deactivate their Facebook accounts, they subconsciously sign back into their accounts when trying to check their emails. What makes this an addicting cycle is that as soon as you sign in, you are automatically logged back into the world of Facebook.

Something I have noticed about Facebook is that rather than strengthening people’s social skills, it tends to make them socially awkward in real-life scenarios. For example, I met someone in a high school literary bowl a few years back and we became Facebook friends.

We now attend the same university and whenever we see each other on campus, the encounter is less than comfortable, sure we smile and sometimes even wave, but compared to her open conversation on Facebook it raises cause for concern about “real life” social situations.

This is not to say that Facebook is a completely negative creation. Facebook definitely helps with staying connected with our family and friends who live far away and it provides an easy and convenient means of promoting products and businesses. The issue I am concerned with is Facebook’s diverting pull on us from the real world.

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