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Facebook Addiction 1

Facebook Addiction - When social media becomes a compulsion.

Technology has been changing at a fast pace ever since the industrial revolution. One
of the most important breakthroughs or basis of technology was agriculture. It paved the way
for transportation, labour, media and other forms of entertainment, consumer market and thus
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to a revolution. News papers were popular in the early 90’s but the advent of television
spawned fears of mass idiotization. Similarly, in the late 90s, critics held the dispersion of
Internet as evidence of individuals’ increasing alienation from society and public life. People
always want a better lifestyle; therefore there is always something new arising so humans
can cope with their physical and social environment improving social trust, civic
engagement, political participation, membership in groups and associations, volunteering,
confidence in political institutions, life satisfaction and a variety of other concepts
collectively known as social capital was directly involved with technology. Social capital is
also known as “Elements of social life as networks, norms, and trust that provide the means
for citizens to resolve collective action problems” (Scheufele & Shah, 2000, p. 113).
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his Harvard college roommates,
Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes in 2004. The founders initially
limited the website membership to Harvard students and then later expanded to selective
universities, school students and finally to anyone aged 13 and over.
“Like most social network sites, Facebook provides a formatted web page into
which each user can enter personal information; it’s almost like a bio data with a
lot of detailed information. Once someone is accepted as a “friend,” not only the
two users’ personal profile but also their entire social networks are disclosed to
each other. This allows each user to traverse networks by clicking through
“friends’” profiles, so that one’s social network snowballs rapidly across people
and institutions” (Valenzuela, S., Park, N., & Kee, F. K. (2008)

There is also the public message system called “The wall” where “friends” leave
comments to the owner of the profile that can be viewed by other users. The “news feed
and the mini feed” is also a feature which allows users to see what the other users do and
did and also through the mini feed control who can see what you did and do on your
profile. Among the most popular modules users can incorporate to their profiles is
“Facebook Groups,” developed by organizations, random groups which allow users to
create and join groups based around common interests and activities.

Of course there is “privacy settings” which enables the user to control who can see
what. This capability is the backbone of Facebook and other SNS and what attracts
millions of users around the globe.
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Unsafe disclosure of information, cyberbullying, addiction, risky behavior and contacting


dangerous communities are but a few of the concerns raised in the media about the use of
online social networks Moral panic is a common reaction to new forms of communication.
Facebook has gone from being a social networking website to an addiction to everyone
who uses it excessively. It has been a place where people can reduce, exaggerate, reform
or fake their identity, for the physical presence is not so dominant in a social network
based on a cyber domain. Imitation, thus fake identities and fake personalities are often
enhanced through cyber social networks. Often its users tend to become something they
aren’t, to attract and keep up their personality which they have built for the other users in
their network. This has formed many physical as well as psychological problems such as
split personality, multiple personality, lying disorders, sleeping disorders and a new
found distressing condition known as facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).
The other important form of negativity immerging through compulsive use of social
networks, specifically Facebook, is the decay of the ability to express emotions without
restraint; users tend to withhold what they actually want to say (good or bad) to someone
who is physically present, rather users prefer to update it on their status. For example if a
user wanted to scold to a friend who had wronged the user, s/he would actually update a
status scolding, mostly as if passing a hint than saying what they actually want to say to
the specific person on the face. Thus Facebook causes lots of unnecessary drama in
relationships. This could also be called a form of cyber bullying. Students are less
productive because Facebook acts as a distraction. Freedom of speech and expressing of
emotions have been shaped and fine tuned to this extent that in the future humans would
be evolved to a higher form of species that would not require emotions and expressions
or maybe to an advanced utopia or an anomie.
Every aspect of the compulsive user’s life is “Facebooked”, It’s not official until its
Facebook official. Thus Facebook is affecting various different aspects of people’s
everyday lives. Facebook has become a norm among the current generation but is not a
necessity.
“Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) using survey data from a small sample of
undergraduate students in the U.S. Applying Putnam’s (2000) framework of
“bridging” and “bonding” social capital, Ellison and her colleagues found that use of
Facebook had a strong association to maintaining or solidifying existing offline
relationships, as opposed to meeting new people. Most interestingly, these authors
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found that Facebook usage interacted with students’ psychological well-being,


suggesting that it might provide greater benefits for users experiencing low self-
esteem and low life satisfaction. That social network sites can foster users’ well-being
and social capital does not mean that they always do. Survey research by Nyland,
Marvez, and Beck (2007) found that heavy users of MySpace felt less socially
involved with the community around them than light users. Furthermore, a substantial
proportion of respondents were using this social network for entertainment, as
opposed to maintaining or strengthening offline relationships” (Valenzuela, S., Park,
N., & Kee, F. K. (2008)

The addictiveness of Facebook affects everyone. Many people will start using
Facebook and find that they start checking it more and more everyday. Since it is now
available on most smart phones, whether it is on the browser of the phone or the
Facebook application, it is more accessible causing people to want to check it more often.
One thing, like checking your friend’s status update will lead to more interaction.
Eventually, you will realize you can spend hours on Facebook and end up on a page
totally different than the one you started on and nothing you were actually supposed to be
doing got done. A number of users waste serious amount of time, while exploring the
profiles of other users. Voyeurism is part of human nature and Facebook has found just
the correct way to exploit this inherent human desire Addiction to Facebook causes an
addict to spend a lot of time on Facebook instead of doing other important activities,
interact more via the internet than the society.

Like explained above there are certain advantages in using facebook and also
disadvantages. It is up to the user to know how? When? and why? S/he uses Facebook.
The problem lies when a person does not know the limits. It is evident that all
technologies have a positive as well as a negative impact on people who actually use it
‘excessively’. Rather than finding faults in technology or in this case, censure internet it
is essential to see what went wrong at home and commence fixing from there.
Everything is out in the market for people to use it and make life easier. Yet not knowing
to use it properly or knowing too much about it is where mankind fails. Humans are more
reliant on technology then ever before and that is exactly why Technology actually serves
to harm humans rather then help them.
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References
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Scheufele, D. A., & Shah, D. V. (2000). Personality strength and social capital: The role of
dispositional and informational variables in the production of civic participation.
Communication Research, 27(2), 107-131.
Shah, D. V. (1998). Civic engagement, interpersonal trust, and television use: An individual-
level assessment of social capital. Political Psychology, 19(3), 469-496.
Valenzuela, S., Park, N., et all (2008). Lessons from Facebook: The Effect of Social Network
Sites on College Students’ Social Capital, University of Texas at Austin, Submitted to the 9th
International Symposium on Online Journalism. Texas