Opinion: Facebook – necessity or addiction?

MIKE MCQUATE / THE GUARDSMAN

MIKE MCQUATE / THE GUARDSMAN

By Ellen Silk
NEWS EDITOR

Recently I had two dreams. In one, I was walking through a convention of all my friends on Facebook. We were laughing and chatting and having a good time. In the other dream, I was being stalked on Facebook by an ex-boyfriend. I kept reading message after message from him. That was really creeping me out. Both dreams lead me to ask, do I have a Facebook addiction?

In the past, on average, I checked Facebook three times a day — usually morning, noon, and night, when I had free time on the Internet. That was before my new Blackberry and its sweet Facebook application. Now I can update my status, upload photos and check friends’ status updates right from my phone. iPhone users have a similar application to do the same.

According to Facebook, more than 30 million users are accessing the Web site through a mobile device and they are 50 percent more active on Facebook than non-mobile users. This instant sharing of updates, photos, common interests and likes and dislikes allows friends and acquaintances to socialize without having to actually meet up.

Of the more than 200 million Facebook users, 100 million users check their page once a day, according to the Web site’s own statistics. Worldwide¬† more than 3.5 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day, worldwide. Twenty million users update their status at least once each day. Some very famous people use Facebook, like Angelina Jolie, Bob Dylan and President Barrack Obama. Facebook has become a popular platform to connect people, causes, groups and businesses. If this is an addiction, I’m not alone and I’m in good company.

Facebook is good for meeting up as well. Along with the many applications that threaten to hook you up with “HOT! Latino Singles,” there are also groups you can join. You can become a fan of your favorite band or sports team and get a Facebook message about their next game or latest gig. Or you can create an event, like a party or scavenger hunt, to gather all your friends together.

Some people use Facebook to network, like journalists looking for sources or stories.

“I use it to help me write. I’ve been able to reach sources through Facebook that I would have missed otherwise. I keep in touch with writing buddies here,” said Cindy Cotter, a student journalist at Los Angles Community College, in a post on Facebook.

Some use it to stay in touch with old friends.

“I actually like catching up with old friends, classmates, schoolmates and it’s kind of cool to see what people are commenting on and thinking about. Although there are way too many apps and sometimes I don’t want everybody and their mama to know what I’m saying to someone else,” Cummings Nauer, a San Francisco City Human Services Clerk, posted on the site regarding Facebook.

No matter how you use it, Facebook can easily become integrated into your life, to the point at which you actually need it to be connected. Instant updates, easy photo uploads and cute virtual gifts make this connection possible. Facebook might be an addiction but at least there is no need for rehab.

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