The Influence of the Social Networks

18 Sep

In 2004, a Harvard undergraduate named Mark Zuckerberg started what would become an overnight phenomenon in his college dorm room. Of course, this website would later go on to become the social network juggernaut, Facebook. A website that would make Zuckerberg famous and rich, but also form new ways of connecting with our social circles, particularly for students in college. On Facebook and other social networking sites like MySpace or YouTube, people have found newer and faster ways to share information. It is so useful to the point where people are motivated to become addicted to these websites, even when they are away from their computers by using their phones to check these websites. Facebook, more than any other website, is popular mostly due to the speed at which information is shared, the random amount of activities it contains (poking, joining groups, etc.), and the primal aspect of voyeurism.

As author Brett A. Bumgarner writes about how a study was conducted to test why people enjoyed watching television so much, I believe the same results could be applied to Facebook. These results being that they “were diversion, personal relationships, personal identity and surveillance needs”, with each result having its own description. Diversion for example, was described as “a need to escape or a need for emotional release” (411). So it could be said that the need to connect, to express oneself, and to do so without any ACTUAL social interactions could be the true reasons behind the mass usage of Facebook. In addition, the same variables make it easier for one to be spied upon and spy upon others using their profiles. Granted, privacy features have been added, but it still is easy to get around those things somehow. It could be said that Facebook is like the force in that it has a light and a dark side, and it binds us all together.

Works Cited

Bumgarner, Brett A. “You Have Been Poked: Exploring the Uses and Gratifications of

Facebook Among Emerging Adults.” Common Culture: Reading and Writing about

American Popular Culture. Ed. Michael Petracca and Madeleine Sorapure. Sixth ed.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009. 408-420. Print.

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