I must make a personal confession. I hate Facebook. I did not like it from the beginning and my mood for it did not get better until now. But still I am using it. Each day. Just like the 800 million people who are registered in this best working “social” network. But somehow I have the feeling that I am not the only one out of these more then 11 percent of the world population, who is living under these double standards.
Social network, what is the meaning of this? The probably best way to describe it, is that it is a network of relationships between people, including their interaction. If this “network” is meant in a virtual or real world remains to be seen. Focusing on the virtual social network there is a high danger of a degeneration of the old model of community.
Do we not abandon our more intense strong ties with childhood friends in favour of superficial weak ties with acquaintances? True is that our connections are more widespread and by this high quantitative and ideal for a aggregation of social capital.
Positive effects are the most visible in the sector of communication which is much more simplified with the help of digital social networks. Virtual social networks can sustain friendship or communication over distance, but it also can launch and support whole revolutions such as the “Arab-Spring”.
Nevertheless, if overused, it can support the before mentioned degeneration of true communication and viable face to face relationship, what will lead to isolation and then one day, we will find ourself lonely under billions of people. From this perspective, perhaps this fear from isolation and loneliness is the driving force of the worlds love-hate relationship with Facebook. For my part, I hope that a “chat” will never ever replace a good old chat in a café with a friend who I do not just now from a picture in the internet.
By Robert Hoegerle