FacebookWould you agree that, since the introduction of email, the internet-related development that has had the greatest impact on society is Facebook?  Please explain why this is so, or let me...


Would you agree that, since the introduction of email, the internet-related development that has had the greatest impact on society is Facebook?  Please explain why this is so, or let me know what you think has had an even greater impact.

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Six months ago I would have taken this opportunity to rant against Facebook as a lame excuse for "real" relationships.  "Do you really think you have 1,672 friends?" I would ask students.  I still think that and say that; however, my perspective has changed a bit.

I recently retired from teaching and moved a thousand miles away from friends and students with whomI'd developed very strong relationships.  Facebook has enabled me to stay in touch easily and efficiently with all kinds of people I would normally only hear from on a sporadic or superficial basis.  Some of that still happens, but the potential to be more relational and personal does exist. 

On the down side, of course, is the fact that I often have to see that someone is heading to a favorite restaurant, chewing a new brand of gum, or listening to a great song on an I-pod.  I'm a thousand miles away and this is what you choose to share with me?  This can drive me crazy.

On balance, though, I've appreciated Facebook as a way to stay in contact with current friends and re-connect with friends from the past. I still don't think anyone really has thousands of true "friends"; but if others choose to believe, who am I to stop them.

lfawley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think singling out "Facebook" is not looking at the larger picture. Social networking media as a whole has made us a much more globally interconnected society. While Facebook may have done the best job of marketing itself, and while it is likely arguable as the most popular social networking site today, and while it has also expanded itself to incorporate the business world (something Myspace failed to do which probably led to its decline) I think, in time, something else will come along and revolutionize it all once again.

As such, it seems to me that what is going on is a constant search for better and easier ways to connect. In much the same way that "Superstores" have taken over the market for in-person purchases of goods, the idea of "one stop shopping" on the Internet is the direction in which we are going. It is all about speed and convenience in a fast-paced society. The source which is best able to provide the most tools and services in one place will always be the leader.

ktmagalia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think I would credit Facebook with the greatest technological impact on society, but I do believe it has had an enormous impact on relationship building and socializing.  Sure, there are some positive aspects to social networking. People can express themselves through words and artwork. And as Poster #3 shares, it is a means for people to stay together. However, there are negative consequences to this form of socialization.  I've noted many teens who have difficulty expressing themselves in fact-to-face situations--in fact, I reminded of a teen poster on the discussion board who wanted to question her teacher regarding an English assignment.  Where did she go for advice? To us, on the internet, not directly to her teacher to verbally discuss her concerns. If the teacher had a Facebook page, I'm sure that it would be her preferred means of communication.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'd vote for Craig's List (along with Ebay), instant news (I used to watch TV and read newspapers for this, and now it is so quick and easy to get the top headlines in an instant with my morning coffee), YouTube (I get so many of my video clips for class use from this site), iTunes (a fantastic site for music and audiobook purchases) and dating sites, as well.  Eharmony and others have made a huge impact on the social atmosphere of the internet...I've never dated online, but I have been shocked at how many of my friends have. 

Wikipedia is interesting to peruse, but I always tell my students that while it is a great idea for experts in a field to update information on this site, there are just as many who make up things to post.  It's a good jumping-off place to begin research, but should never be used as a credible site for scholarly work.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would rank Facebook with online news organizations in regards to influence.  Online news sources have made all news mediums reconsider their product and have almost made traditional newspapers obsolete.

Facebook, besides enabling complete strangers to "communicate" has begun changing the way families keep in contact.  I'm not sure that I agree that it's for the better because I know many of my own family members and friends' families will not communicate with someone if that person does not have a Facebook account--it's just too inconvenient for them.  In that sense, I think that Facebook (and other sites like it) have begun to have an extremely negative effect on society.


accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am not too sure if we can say it has had the "greatest" impact, dastice. How would we judge such a non-quantifiable question? I guess facebook obviously combines so much of the way that communication has changed in our world today - it allows us to keep in contact with vast numbers of people globally, and yet it does it in a way that critics argue is "dumbed down" - instead of writing one letter to one person, we write an 8 word status update as a substitute, or if we are feeling cheeky, even poke them. For me, I think of facebook as the natural product of how technology has changed our lives - and above all the way we relate to each other as humans.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Would you agree that, since the introduction of email, the internet-related development that has had the greatest impact on society is Facebook?  Please explain why this is so, or let me know what you think has had an even greater impact.

  It is true that Facebook has had a gigantic impact on society.  But, I'd have to say the greatest impact on society would be the cell phone!  Not everyone has a facebook account as some people are too young, but even smaller children seem to have cell phones these days.  Texting has made its debut and is the fastest and most convenient way to communicate now. 

dastice eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have all raised some interesting points.  One of the major indications of Facebook's impact, in my mind, is the way it has extended into our vocabulary.  If I told you I friended somebody or poked someone on Facebook, a few years ago I might have gotten an odd look but these days most people would know what I meant.

Google, however, is an even more obvious example of this.  If I told you to Google something, I could almost guarantee you would know exactly what I meant.  My second grade students know what it means to Google something, while they are still in the dark in regards to Facebook terminology.


lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are good and bad aspects to Facebook, like there are to most things in the world. I love that it has let me find people I haven't heard from in 30-40 years, and see where life has taken them. I also see people that post questionable pictures or statements, and think how that may come back to haunt them. With employers having access, people need to be careful. People can also be harassed via all sorts of technology, but it the technology can also make it easier to catch the harassers.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Too soon to tell the full effect the Facebook phenomenon will have on society, but one argument in support of that concept is how worldwide Facebook has become.  There is nothing like it in terms of increasing peoples' ability to find and keep in touch with friends, relatives and loved ones.  If and when we can see Facebook's full potential as a political tool, we may have a better answer for this question.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even older folks such as myself are becoming involved with Facebook, and it has certainly surpassed My Space in that realm of the Internet social spectrum. I believe eBay is another Internet phenomenom which will continue strongly for many years to come. Google has swallowed up most of the other info-finding sites, and Wikipedia has become a fast way for general historical and biographical information.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'd say Facebook is the biggest deal on the personal level (and I think that it is all to the good).  But Google is definitely more important in terms of productivity and finding information. Facebook has allowed me to catch up with long-lost friends and keep up with ex-students.  But Google enables me to find out practically anything I want to know.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Facebook is a very big deal and has had a huge impact on society. I know people who are consumed by Facebook, especially teenagers. Ebay is another website that has changed the way that many people do things. Although, I would agree that Google is probably the most used site. Anything can be found by using Google.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes - I agree.  Well, I'd say Facebook and Google, almost equally (based on usership), and in completely different ways.  I'd give Facebook the "most negative influence" award and Google the "most positive."

diarie | Student

Facebook is a great network which links people to each other. I personally was in facebook, but deactivated my account, because I felt myself getting addicted onto facebook and was wasting my time uselessly on it. Most of the people enter facebook thinking not to deal with it unnecessarily, but even without their knowledge, they go beyond the limits and is unable to get out from that.

But, on the other hand, I find it useful because when someone needs to chat with his or her friends, (when they are lonely and sad), this becomes very effective as it lowers the pressure in mind and he or she can live happily, but only if all the aspects are understood and balanced. For students, facebook can be useful to exchange questions with other friends. But they must take great care not to deal with unwanted, unknown people. If this happens, they will be pushed into a devilish world.

Therefore, I believe that facebook has a huge impact on the society, both good and bad effects.

tomrusso | Student

As a senior in college, I'm afraid that Facebook exudes an inordinate amount of influence on students like myself that is liable to shape young adults' understanding of how relationships and friendships work. The older friends I have on the site, who are married with children of their own, carry a much better understanding of how to "properly" use the site, manage their time, and maintain healthy relationships. For them and for others, it is a great tool to connect with old friends and new ones on a genuine basis.

On the other hand, many in my age group (and I have been just as guilty at times) are liable to feel that "shouting" (ie, posting a ton of status updates and giving short, witty replies to most everyone) constitutes a productive afternoon. It's as if everyone wants to be heard (a natural human inclination, to be sure), but we all go about it now with such haste and disregard for others that I feel it may dull genuine feelings of those who mistake Facebook and similar social networking for real-world, deep connections.

I might add that the recently publish book Hamlet's BlackBerry touches on many of the same issues. I was pleasantly surprised upon reading it, to find that the author's views coincided with many of my own, and offered plenty of practical advice for living in a digital age that I had not thought of.