Facebook is a popular web page where anybody can create a free account, similar to an email address. The site allows anybody to add friends, post pictures, and let all their friends know what their doing on an hourly basis. At the beginning, the page appeared to be a great way to keep in touch with people who lived two minutes to two hours to two thousand miles away. The site allows all who have accounts to add friends, some who are suggested by the page itself, and keep in touch through quick, easy Internet access.But is the web site actually helping or hurting the relationships we form everyday? There are many benefits to Facebook. Facebook is the quick, easy way to keep up to date with events that happen every day. Once a person creates an account, they can add their friends and therefore look at the page that is created by that person and see their posts. When a person “posts” something it means that they are writing anything they want for all their friends to see, from song lyrics, to what their plans are for the day, to angry outbursts with a lot of curse words associated.The posts pop on the community wall so a person doesn’t have to go to each individual’s page to see their plans. This feature is beneficial because it allows a friend to discover plans and therefore work with, or around them to be able to see or communicate with that person without having to go through to hassle of keeping in touch every hour or having to send a text to twenty of your friends about what you’re doing that day. Another benefit of Facebook is it allows a person to keep in touch even through long distances.For example, if a person lives across the country, it is difficult to coordinate the time difference, and therefore makes it hard to have phone conversation or text repeatedly back and forth unless it is at a set time that is consensual for both parties. Facebook allows people to keep in touch on each person’s own time through wall posts, and messages, this is especially helpful in families who have ventured off to different areas of the world. Finally, the site is helpful by keeping loved ones in touch.Just as it does with families, Facebook allows person A to say something to person B on their own time but it also lends a hand in reminding loved ones how much they miss or care about each other publicly. As stated by Andrew Sabatini in his article Effects of MySpace and Facebook, “These websites provide a new way for couples communicate and help eliminate geographical boundaries. Both sites allow one member of the couple to get brownie points, through gifts and comments, and get them out of the dog house. (Sabatini) The option for a boyfriend of bringing surprise flowers to his girlfriend when she’s with all her friends is eliminated when the two are separated by hours due to college or job choice or a family vacation. Facebook allows the man to publicly display his affection (though it won’t always work) to his girlfriend through words of endearment and the thought that he doesn’t mind letting everyone know how much he cares for his significant other. Although there are many benefits of Facebook, the site can also create a lot of tension.In the film Catfish, a documentary directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, a 24-year-old photographer begins talking to a family after becoming intrigued with an 8-year-old child painter prodigy. As the main character Yaniv "Nev" Schulman creates a stronger bond with the family he starts to talk to the young prodigy’s older sister via text, phone calls, and of course, Facebook. Without ever meeting his soon-to-be girlfriend, Nev discovers her appearance, her friends, events, and whereabouts through Facebook.However, when Nev travels to visit the family and girl he has been communicating with for months he learns that all is not what he expected. The location where she has said to be staying is not being occupied by anyone, and the mail he has sent her is still located in the abandoned mailbox. Nev and his friend’s next stop is the house of the young artist who inspired the whole film. While there Nev realizes that the girl he had been having a technology-based relationship with is actually the married mother of the 8-year-old sensation. The mother had created a fake Facebook account, added fake friends she had created and posted fake wall posts.Through imagination, and some form of determination this woman formed a relationship with Nev through Facebook updates and text messages. Eric Eisenberg pronounces in a Catfish review, “As social networking becomes more and more a part of every day life for people of all ages, Catfish is a reminder that it’s wise to wonder what’s truly going on at the other end of the line. ” (Eisenberg) The movie simply proves that Facebook can let a person be anyone they want, the pictures, the updates, everything can be a lie, yet nobody will ever know.It’s a concern of trust, but more so of safety. Even though there are many more negative aspects of Facebook, such as the time it consumes from people every day, the things that makes Facebook non-appealing to many is that it creates jealousy, and tension in intimate relationships. On the web site people are able to tag other people in pictures. The website causes jealousy due to pictures because if a person’s significant other is pictured with someone you don’t know, or aren’t comfortable with, or never told you they would be with, the tension rises and questions come up.Another negative effect of Facebook on relationships is how wall posts may not match exactly what a person said. For example, in the article What Effect does Facebook have on Relationships by Lauren Fisher, she says “If your boyfriend told you they were out for the weekend, that was pretty much it. But now you have the ability, should you want to, to scour their Facebook page for updates over the weekend, to see what they’re up to. ” (Fisher) Facebook creates a sense of suspicion, and obsession to check if your partner is actually doing what he or she claims.Furthermore, Facebook has the ability for people to display their relationship status. A relationship isn’t really a relationship these days unless it is “Facebook official”, and a break-up isn’t concrete until a wall post says that they are single. John Norvell declares “…people had ways of telegraphing their status. " (Hines) Even though people could always easily portray their relationship status through actions and words the simplicity of updating a page in seconds can cause a person to second guess “trying to talk it over” or give them time to reflect on what’s actually happened, and if breaking up is the best choice.As stated before, Facebook can let people demonstrate their care for another, however it can also become an annoying obsession preformed by many, women more so then men. For instance, “One participant of the survey said that her boyfriend calls her a pain when she does it (comments on his wall or message’s him) because she has done it so many times that it has become obnoxious. ” (Sabatini) Finally, and most obviously, Facebook use correlates directly to stress in relationships. Facebook permits a person’s significant other to view how much activity is taking place, and therefore generates resentment, yet it is a no win situation.If a person has too much information it can be questioned on why so much action is taking place, yet if things are hidden or unable to be seen it is also grounds for distress because curiosity strikes. In a study “Accessibility of information: Increased info about the interactions of significant others lead to increased monitoring and jealousy for 19. 1% of participants”, “Relationship jealousy: 16. 2% of respondents were explicitly linked to Facebook use contributing to jealousy”, and “Lack of context: 7. 4% of respondents referenced how Facebook can be ambiguous and that, without context, jealousy can be spurred over misunderstandings. (Parr) There is no easy way out of the Facebook jealousy factor, except to delete your Facebook account altogether, and consequently disconnect from society in a way. In conclusion, Facebook is a very good way to stay in touch with people who are distances away. It helps people keep up to date, and know what their friends are doing for the day. The site allocates couples to show their affection to the public without even leaving their house, and doesn’t conflict with time schedules or location. But to every good, there is a little bad. Facebook creates jealousy left and right.The web page makes questions arise that may not have before the site was created. And the option of hiding crucial information or checking and obsessing over it can lead to destruction in a somewhat other happy relationship. Overall, Facebook has its positives and negatives, just like everything else in life, but a person has to ask themselves, is social connectivity via the internet worth a full hearted relationship? Only time can tell.
Catfish. Dir. Henry Joost and Areil Schulman. Perf. Navid Schulman. Rouge Films, 2010. Film. Parr, Ben. "Study: Facebook Increases Jealousy in Relationships.Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide. 9th Aug. 2009. Web. 27 Oct. 2010. . Sabatini, Andrew. “Effects of Myspace and Facebook on Relationships. ” http://webrelationships. wetpaint. com/page/Effects+of+Myspace+and+Facebook.Fisher, Lauren. “What effect does Facebook have on Relationships? ” http://www. simplyzesty. com/facebook/effect-facebook-relationships/.Hines, Twanna A. “Is Facebook Helping or Hurting Your Love Life? ” http://www. fastcompany. com/articles/2008/02/facebook-love-life. html.
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