ASK the modern-age kid how they connect with others and it would be no surprise if he or she said, Facebook! With 1.2 billion users today, the site cannot be shrugged off as mass hysteria. Such has been its impact that people would rather communicate with each other on Facebook, or FB, than through emails or even meeting in person.
But, just as not all relationships are successful or healthy, having a lot of social-media friends and interactions can lull us into complacency; that we’re doing just great and we could throw caution to the wind. And for anyone hooked on social media, just like an addiction, when deprived for any reason, such as an FB outage as we have had on occasion, one can fall into depression.
Those who are always stuck on FB to see how many “friends” or “likes” they have, or are constantly texting, are most likely distracting themselves to crowd out that little voice inside that tries to guide them in a cautious, healthy direction.
Without a doubt, FB transcends physical boundaries and lets us connect with long-lost friends and distant family members and make a host of new like-minded acquaintances, some of whom might even become close friends.
On the contra side, one of its greatest risks is security. Although a lot has been done to improve the site’s security, it still has loopholes. Privacy is a concern for FB users and we need to take care with whom we share our social feeds.
We can be bombarded with updates, some even malicious, about acquaintances, individuals in public life, or on matters that can be sensitive or seditious. Our connectedness can draw us into such an exchange that could land us into trouble.
We need to be aware that the freedom of expression on FB is at times misused by unscrupulous people to promote their agenda.
There is also the possibility of identity theft, with fake and bogus accounts on the site and people looking to steal our personal information. And, even with all the security settings in place, our images can still be misused.
Having pointed out some concerns, if one chooses to stay connected but cautious, Facebook is a fantastic invention that has brought the world closer. At the same time, we should make informed choices to govern our lives not allow our interests to overwhelm us. Rueben Dudley, Petaling Jaya, Selangor NST Letters 7 SEPTEMBER 2014 @ 8:04 AM