Facebook Sets Historic IPO on The Wall Street Journal's website discusses how the social networking giant's value is estimated between $75 billion and $100 billion. This would put the company in the position of having the biggest U.S. stock-market debuts of all time. Facebook owes its success to the hundreds of millions of users that sign on to their site each day. Facebook's revenue is driven mostly by online ads. Through information shared by users and the use of Like buttons all over the web, marketers are able to target their ads towards a specific demographic. With its enormous amount of users and targeted ads, it is easy to see how Facebook could have a historic initial public offering.
The overwhelming popularity of online social networking makes me wonder about the effects on interpersonal relationships. We have been talking about what it means to be a person and what defines person-hood. A person has the unique presence of both the material and immaterial. A person has a mind and emotions that go beyond the physical. What happens when that person is reduced to pictures and text on a computer screen? Do those that are "friends" of this person really know who the person truly is?
We have also been reading the book Hurt People Hurt People by Sandra Wilson which discusses the hurt that people can inflict on each other. Part of the way that hurt individuals can work towards healing is through improved relationships with others. In the present age of online social networking is Facebook having a positive or negative effect on relationships?
My personal opinion is that the use of social networking sites can aid in the development of surface level relationships but does not help with deeper relationships. The information that an individual puts out on Facebook is not true to who the person is deep inside. Each picture is scrutinized as to how it portrays the person. Each bit of information shared is analysed to present the individual in the manner that they choose. A person can portray who they want to be rather then expose who they truly are. The interactions on Facebook can help to keep distant friends in touch but it is hard to delve much deeper. I believe that the true person is hidden behind a facade and relationships are limited to surface level interactions. I think that in order to truly know a person there needs to be direct in-person interaction.