Nowadays, most people (lets exclude 3rd world countries) are signed up to at least one social networking site. That includes you, your parents, younger siblings, and even grandparents (given that they are competent with computers). It used to seem like a teenage fad, but in today’s society its almost crucial to be aware and involved in these sites (i.e. for business purposes). Before the MySpace and Facebok hype, there was Meetspot. This site originated from Whimit (which was for the Russian community) and became popular among high school kids. It had very limited features: a profile with the option to post your own pictures, add friends, and write comments on other peoples’ profiles. It seemed more like a popularity contest: who has the most friends/comments. Although the site still exists, I highly doubt people are signing up anymore (can’t say I’ve done my research).
I believe Friendster was the next social networking site that caught people’s attention in 2002. Friendster has all the photo, friend, and comment options, as well as music and games. Currently (I say currently because I don’t know if it always existed) Friendster has a classifieds page for members and a “gifts” option, which allows people to “give gifts” to their friends. Honestly, I never even heard of Friendster until recently, and its no wonder because MySpace took over in 2003. MySpace had similar features to Friendster in terms of music sharing and other options, and it became more popular because it was better marketed. Also perhaps because it had a more attractive layout and name than Friendster did. “Friendster” sounds like something targeting children and the site itself looks cartoon-ish. “MySpace” is a more general name which attracts everyone and allows people to personalize the layout of their profile.
I never joined Friendster or MySpace. I’m convinced that Friendster is for children after looking at the site and MySpace always seemed interesting but I didn’t have the patience to create a profile layout, etc. I think that for aspiring artists/musicians, MySpace is a good way to publicize their work/music. Other than that, my impression of MySpace (based on my friends using the site) was not much different from that of Meetspot. People posting outrageous pictures for other people to see and comment on. Chances are that half of your “friends” on MySpace are talkin $#!% about the pictures you posted. Not to mention the drama that starts because someone’s bf/gf writes a comment to a random person of the opposite sex or changes their relationship status to “single”.
Which brings me to Facebook. A site that evolved from other social networking sites and is presently the most widespread. I think Facebook is great because it allows people to reconnect with people they though they would never see or speak to again. Case and point: I had a pen pal from France when I was in the 6th grade (because I studied French). We used to write letters to each other every couple of months; I would write in English and she would write in French (she studied English and my French teacher translated her letters). We also sent some photos back and forth, but after about 3 years we stopped writing to one another. Last year, the girl found me on Facebook! She wrote me a message saying that she isn’t sure if its me (considering she has pictures of me when I was 12) but if it is then to accept the friend request. Its crazy because now there’s no need for writing letters. I can communicate through Facebook, and get a response within a day as opposed to at least a month. She can see all my pictures and vise versa.
While that is a benefit of Facebook, there are definitely some minor negativities associated with this site. As I mentioned above, MySpace was known for starting drama between couples. Facebook sometimes sturs up the same problems (i.e. relationship status changes, friending random people of the opposite sex, etc.). Something I heard on the radio a few months ago stuck in my mind. There was a discussion about Facebook and one caller mentioned that she doesn’t like the fact that her husband found ex-girlfriends from his past on the site. This made me realize the bigger picture. Of course those who are married with children would be concerned if their spouse was chatting with someone from their past, especially if that someone is attractive. Unfortunately many people cheat on their spouses, but it would be sad if Facebook opened that door.
I don’t check Facebook everyday, but I’m still active on the site. Here are the first things I see when I log on: some couple broke up , again (if I scroll further down I’ll see that the couple is confused b/c they just entered the relationship 4 hours prior); some people “you would never think would but did” became a couple; statuses that imply those people hate their lives; statuses that say how much those people love their lives/how much fun they’re having (intended for their recent ex to read); statuses containing useless (and sometimes gross) “didn’t need to know that” info; and at least 10 comments that accompany each. I know people who are obsessed with the site and I don’t think it is healthy nor does it make you smarter in any way. It is just organized drama. Sure I can find some interesting/funny statuses sometimes, but for the most part my apprehension of day-to-day activity on Facebook remains the above mentioned.
Since I have criticized Facebook for the statuses people post, my impression of Twitter should be no surprise. I am aware of other potential uses for Twitter, (besides tweeting meaningless info), but since a majority of people use it for “pointless babble”, I am unfavorable towards this site. There have been several commercials that have mentioned/included Twitter, implying that people are obsessed. I just wonder: am I the crazy one, or do people who tweet seriously not realize that they’re being made fun of? I wouldn’t be surprised if some people tweet “I’m wiping my a$$”. But of course, to each his own.