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Facebook: good tool or for tools?

Oct 12 2006 16:18
Saskia De Longvilliers & Gemma Rees
A quick look at the pros and cons of the social networking website

Saskia De Longvilliers, Third Year

Creating events, writing on people?s walls, poking random people, news feed and mini feed?who could live without it? How else would you be able to keep up with what your friends, whether you?ve known them since nursery school or whether they live on the other side of the world, are up to if you don?t use Facebook?

Of course, you can always phone your friends and have a chat for an hour but then don?t complain when you have to pay the bill! With Facebook, you can stay in contact with hundreds of friends, some you see everyday and some you?ve only met once at your sister?s birthday. Why keep in touch with them? Because you never know when you might need their help and because if you just save their number on your phone, a month later you?ll be asking ?Charlotte C? Who the hell is she??. On Facebook, you?d just add her to your friends, look up her profile and photos, so you?ll instantly recognise her.

Facebook is very simple to use and you can choose how to communicate with your friends: on their ?wall? that is visible to all their networks (Imperial for us) or by sending a private message. You can write to your friends as you wish and they will write back (if they want) when they decide to log on and socialise on Facebook. It?s also a great way to let your friends know when you?re having a party as you can ?create an event? and request an RSVP. CivSoc successfully used this option to invite all members of CivSoc on Facebook to the End of Year Party 2006 and were able to estimate the number of people planning to attend.

Although anyone can register now, it is a private network and you decide who your profile is visible. So make sure to only accept people you know as friends!

To conclude, Facebook is just a safe, easy, practical and cheap way to communicate with your friends wherever they are in the world (but I?m warning you now that it?s very addictive so don?t complain to me if you don?t get the grade you wanted after the exams!)

Gemma Rees, Fourth Year

What has happened to Civ Eng since we were deemed worthy of being part of the Facebook crowd? Everybody seems obsessed with this virtual community were they can check each other out, make friends and send messages or talk to each other?just like real life?except not!

Facebook is in fact nothing more than a virtual joke. Most people use it to flaunt the fact that at one point or another they have come in to contact with 600 people and have decided to give all 600 a friend request, whether they really are ?friends? or not. Yet all these friends? requests are accepted because whilst they are ?people who you wouldn?t necessarily ever want to make contact with again, you don?t really have a choice,? as nobody wants to be rude and everybody wants to seem more popular than the 600 people they have as friends. A small piece of information for anyone not yet under the Facebook spell: this is not popularity!

So, lets consider in detail the supposed features/sections of Facebook:

My Profile ? For all those shameless self-promoters out there, a chance to detail why anyone should care who you are. A chance to post a picture of yourself just to remind all your ?friends? who they are looking at and a chance to advertise yourself to all the possible new friends who would only add you because you are good looking or they think they saw you once in a shop buying a pair of socks.

My Photos - If I wanted my life, my boyfriend?s life and my friends? lives displayed for all the world to see/drool over/bitch about/dismiss without a second thought then I?d be an aspiring Paris Hilton, making myself famous for doing absolutely nothing and I?d be getting paid for it! Not displaying pictures on a random website that poses as an elite and exclusive online club, but in fact is just a website run by geeks without enough server capacity to allow anyone to join if they want to.

Other ?amazing? features include My Notes, My Events and My Messages for all of which I have two words: nobody cares! Whatever happened to the art of conversation!?!

For those of us enjoying living in the real world, get out and explore London and make some real friends, I recommend www.wherewecango.com. However, for those of you who just can?t resist online communities try www.myspace.com, at least your friends can listen to drivelling songs from your favourite bands while they read about your sad little online lives.

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