It seems Facebook has made its footprint in the history of popular culture. In Houston, a city whose residents seem eager to embrace the latest trends, one might find it impressive how Facebook has sustained its place on top. Further, one might find it impressive how the website’s membership base has erased common demographic borders—its members ranging from teens to seniors and covering a broad cultural diversity—the life-force of our city.
In short, it seems our modern methods of communication have undergone many transformations—many major face-lifts—in a relatively short period of time. Handwritten letters were replaced largely by the telephone. Then telephone conversations were replaced with e-mailing, online chatting, text messaging, and now the growing phenomenon of social websites such as Facebook. Now, websites such as Facebook represent a manifestation of another new way we interact with one another, keep up with the lives of one another. One might notice, though, how between each step of our “commutation evolution” we have drawn further away from the direct personal exchange of our thoughts and our ideas--having become perhaps more censored--as it were, conversing increasingly through layers of technology instead of through facial expressions, inflections of tone of voice, and so forth—the combination of the two, the subtle fluctuations of one’s tone and expression as seen in person, may determine a vastly different impression than one presented online.
Today even the search for romance may be only clicks away on a computer screen, even though the first impression online may be far different than the first impression one discovers face to face. But might not we pay a price for such interaction upstream, so to speak, if we further compromise our spontaneous gestures? Might not we lose the complex art of determining our “first impression?” Might not we become even greater strangers to one another if we continue still further up the line of such filtered interaction, where spontaneity is exchanged for a fixed image manicured in accord with how we feel we might best “taste” in the eyes of others—defining ourselves in relation to a uniform image of a general acceptance.
The general charges of the previous paragraph will be challenged in this Facebook examination article series, beginning with a closer look at two types of Facebook users described below.
1. The social Facebook member. Those who use Facebook as a means to keep up with the daily lives of friends. There are of course the extremes—those who seemingly post every step to their daily lives on their page, and there are those who use it in moderation, not every day perhaps but on most, when the routine of daily steps is done and, as one used to talk on the phone, now they connect with their friends online.
2. The business Facebook member. Those who often disguise themselves as the former and may even send an occasional reply to the Facebook junkie, having learned such manners in the craft of networking, those who pride themselves in having mastered the ability to remember a name which they accomplish with the aid of some learned association, no more authentic than reading it from a name-tag, but impresses the excessive Facebook member nonetheless—validates them. And of course in return, should the time come when-the- business Facebook member pitches their deal to the social Facebook person—then they too shall likely reply often in support-of their friend-list friend.