“So you’re Facebook official?”

Facebook has emerged as more than merely a social networking platform, rather, becoming embedded into our very social existence, with particular influence on our personal and intimate relationships. Facebook has come to act as not only a social commentary but as an agent for social legitimacy and actualisation. Perhaps the Facebook phenomenon renders necessary a revision of the philosophical proclamation “I think therefore, I am.”  ‘I Facebook, therefore I am’ seems suitable. Facebook has come to saturate our personal and social lives to such an extent that I would contend that connecting and sharing is no longer the primary function of the platform. Instead I would like to propose the notion of social validation. Social and personal experiences and interactions are documented on Facebook to advertise and compound our social connectedness both virtually and in actuality. Bilandzic (2012) in his article notes the effect of locative media on the creation of indistinct “barriers between the physical and virtual world.” With its capabilities of photo and location tagging, ‘friending’ and ‘unfriending’ and its advertisement of categorical relationship statuses, Facebook has a profound ability for highlighting our social connectedness. Issues arise when this becomes central in determining our real world relationships. A romantic endeavour cannot be deemed valid until it has the officiality of a Facebook status.  Elphinston and Noller (2012, p634) note the potential for severe psychological detriment as the result of a reliance on Facebook for feelings of validation and positive affect. “Although feelings of social connection may enhance psychological wellbeing, there are costs to individuals and their intimate relationships, if they develop a reliance on Facebook for these positive outcomes.” Is Facebook really a social utility aiding in connectivity or has it come to be the slayer of our real world relationships. Nothing a few random friend requests can’t fix…

 

References

 

Bilandzic, A, Foth M 2012, ‘A Review of Locative Media, Mobile and embodied Spatial Interation’, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, vol70, p66-71

Evangelista B, 2010, ‘Facebook’s Places raises more debate’. San Francisco Chronicle, 360Link, accessed 22/03/12

Elphinston, R. A., & Noller, P 2011 ‘Time to face it! Facebook intrusion and the implications for romantic jealousy and relationship satisfaction’, CyberPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, vol 14, p631-635, 360Link, accessed 22/03/12

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