March 7, 2011

Facebook: The Light Side Vs. The Dark Side

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 12:18 am

By Matt Evans
Facebook: The Light Side Vs. The Dark Side
Before you go removing me from your News Feed, or worse, un-friending me, I really think I should start off by saying that I have absolutely nothing against Facebook. I actually have a Facebook and get on it multiple times a day. I enjoy Facebook quite a lot, maybe even to point of being an addict. It’s perfectly fine to have a Facebook and there’s nothing wrong with that. And 500,000,000 Facebook users would probably agree, as the website recently passed the half a billion served mark.
Every day these millions of “Facebookers” log into the social network. They use it for everything: staying in touch with family and friends, stalking the profiles of random acquaintances, watching videos, looking at photos, networking for business, advertising, or even for amusement and distraction like “poking” people, “liking” statuses or playing Farmville.
There are so many good uses for and great applications and tools on Facebook, surely one has to wonder, “Has too much of a good thing become a bad thing?”
One big problem that could cause some inherently bad repercussions pertains to the issue of the unintended audience, especially in the business place, or in the hiring process. More and more employers are using Facebook to do background checks on potential employees. Assistant news editor of The Observer, Eileen Duffy, wrote an article where she talked about a recent survey at that said one in ten employers have used social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace to research applicants. If someone had posted something inappropriate or rude, there’s a pretty good chance that the employer would know about it. No one can ever know who is reading his or her Facebook at any given time. There’s always the chance that someone is out there reading it who might not approve.
I’ve even seen this kind of thing happen in real life. A bunch of my friends and I used to head out to Waffle House every Sunday night. We became friends with one of the waitresses there. The last time we went to Waffle House we were talking with her and she informed us that this would be her last night there. Apparently, she had posted that she had a rough night at work and some negative thoughts about her co-workers. Her employers noticed it and they did not like it. They gave her the option of quitting or being transferred to another location. This is just one example of the sad, but true effects the unintended audience can have.
This next negative side effect Facebook could have is actually a big reason why a lot of people avoid Facebook altogether, and quite possibly the most common reason. With Facebook spreading its reach over multiple platforms, and its reach growing bigger and bigger each day with the fan pages, games, pictures, videos and so on, it is becoming increasingly more time consuming. Recently, in Forbes magazine, Kashmir Hill wrote a short article where she posted a 2010 survey for people that don’t use Facebook asking them why they choose not to. More than any other reason chosen was the reason that they simply thought it was a waste of time.
ComputerWorld reporter, Sharon Gaudin, posted an article in July of 2009 about this same topic. Facebook has become such a big deal that it’s even starting to reach into the business world. In the article, she talks about a survey done which showed that 77% of the test group used Facebook while in the workplace. In her article, she states “Companies that allow users to access Facebook in the workplace lose an average of 1.5% in total employee productivity.” Should employers really have to pay for “poking” and buying Farmville cash?
Along with a decrease in productivity in the workplace, a study at Ohio State University shows that there have also been signs that people in college who use Facebook have been getting lower grades than people who choose not to. This would kind of make one wonder if Facebook actually causes lower grades. I would certainly disagree. Like it’s commonly said, correlation doesn’t necessarily always mean causation. Of course other factors could also be contributing to the lower grades, but there definitely was a pretty significant relationship that could be seen between the two.
Obviously, Facebook has many positive aspects. What we have to realize is that there are also many potential negatives it can have as well, if we don’t use it correctly. The negatives are important to realize and keep in mind. I’m not saying go cold turkey and stop using Facebook altogether. I’m saying use Facebook in moderation and think before posting. It’s kind of like the Force. We all have to be mindful of it and use it wisely. It has a light side, as well as a dark side.

1 Comment »

  1. I don’t think that these problems are facebooks fault. It is the person that is using facebooks fault. They are the ones putting up these inappropriate pictures of them selves for the whole world to see. I think it’s a good idea for these employers to be looking at the Facebook accounts of who they are hiring. I wouldn’t want to hire someone who has pictures of themselves doing inappropriate things. I would want to find the most professional person for the job.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 8, 2011 @ 2:59 pm | Reply

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