The Facebook Phenomena

Dr. Linda Hancock Social Media & Web The Sixth Year


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This week I watched the popular new movie "The Social Network" which tells the story of how a very angry individual who had a fight with his girlfriend decided to get drunk and "get even" with her. He spent a few hours putting together a website that would allow Harvard students to vote for pairs of girls that he displayed on their screens. Within two hours, there were 22,000 hits on the site.

This led to an offer for the programmer, named Mark Zuckerberg to develop a website that would allow university students to share their lives with each other. But, instead of delivering the product that he promised those who hired him, he instead created The Facebook software. His best, and only friend, according to the movie, finances the project. Since it was launched, the friend and the individuals who had hired him have fought Zuckerberg for a share of the profits and notoriety,

Facebook is recognized world-wide and is used for many different things. Sometimes people trace and reunite with family members or acquaintances from their past. Others might begin establishing new relationships with people from the neighbour or the other side of the world.

The recent rebellion in Egypt was apparently fuelled by individuals who used both Facebook and Twitter as a powerful communication tool.

Unfortunately, like anything, Facebook can be used inappropriately. Many people become obsessed and, as a result, invest hours and hours which could otherwise be used for study, regular tasks or enhancing relationships with the people around them. Some make commitments to people who make false promises or outright lie about their true situation. Facebook can lead to jealousy from partners and danger for children who are deceived by pedophiles who use the internet for their own selfish gain.

Sometimes I ask my clients questions like "Is fire good or evil?" Well, it depends what you use it for. You can warm your home or burn it down with fire. "Is water good or evil?" Depends what you use it for. You can drink it or drown in it.

So, when it comes to Facebook I ask the same type of question "Is Facebook good or evil?" and the answer is "It depends what you use it for".

The First Lady of the United States, was a recent guest on NBC's Today Show and told Matt Lauer, the host, "I'm not a big fan of young kids having Facebook. So, you know, it's not something they need. It's not necessary right now." Her two daughters are banned by their parents from the site.

In fact, Facebook itself has a policy that users must be 13 years and older.

So, when it comes down to making good choices, once again parents need to be involved in areas where there is risk. Just as your child needs to be taught about safety procedures such as not taking rides from strangers or staying out longer than curfew s/he needs to firm guidance about Facebook. Oh, and if you don't know anything about it, you either need to find out or make sure that no one in your household is involved until you do know about it.

Remember, even the originator was up to "no good" when he started the whole thing!


Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com



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