Facebook is the most popular social networking site on the internet. A social networking site is basically an online platform through which people keep in touch with family and friends, make new friends, catch up with long lost friends and relatives and even communicate with business partners. In short it can be said that social networking sites facilitate online social communication.
Facebook was founded in 2004 by a then Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg. Initially it was meant for students of the university but gradually grew and currently accommodates membership from anyone in the world who is 13 years and above and has an email address. Today, Facebook has a membership of more than half a million people and is available in more than 60 languages. Membership to Facebook is free with its revenue mainly generated from advertising. Majority of the people using Facebook are between the ages of 15 and 40 with the younger generation being more active users.
The site is easy to use with users required to create a profile which has basic information, contact information, education, work, relationship status, likes and interests along with other personal information. There are security settings that allow users to manage the level of information which other users can access. This means that people can only know what you want them to know about you. Once signed up users can search for people they know by email address, name, location, school or college. Once a user comes across someone they know or would like to be friends with, they are required to send a friend request which when accepted allows greater access to each other’s profiles and information. Beyond sharing information, users can share photos on the website and have a facility to share or ‘tag’ others on their photos. It is also possible to create common interest groups as well as events on Facebook. The person creating an event or group has the rights to invite others as well as edit information on the group or event. These rights can be shared with others as the person deems fit. There are also many applications and games that users can add to their profiles to entertain themselves.
Facebook has had a very strong influence on modern lifestyle due to the huge following it enjoys. In many countries today, politicians and others seeking public office have Facebook profiles set up for campaign purposes. Most celebrities and public figures have Facebook pages that are meant to keep in touch with their fans. The site is also a very effective way to share news and information as well as collect views on a particular topic. News posted on Facebook normally takes less than 5 minutes to go around the world.
With all these exciting features, Facebook has proven to be a very addictive indulgence for many people and is banned from many work places and schools. There are people who spend a large portion of their day on Facebook catching up with friends and entertaining themselves and others through updates and comments. Though a great idea, excesses can affect an individual’s productivity.