The Feedback

Posted on Nov 22, 2011 | No Comments

Last week, in honor of the Jimmy Kimmel campaign to have Americans cut down on Facebook friendships, we asked a simple question: Is Facebook a builder of community or just a waste of time?

Some or our readers were pretty hostile to Facebook, while others were cautiously enthusiastic about it. In the former camp was George L. Williams, who argued that the youth of today are mixed up when it comes to understanding what true social capital is:

They confuse contact for community. They seem comfortable with a process in which ‘friend’ becomes a verb rather than a noun. The quality of the ‘relationship’ that results is meager. . . . I don’t think Facebook is a waste of time, because this generation seems to value time less than did prior generations.

Also down on Facebook was reader Neil, who called it a “giant time suck,” adding:

Yes, it’s great for certain times to reach out to a broad community, but it’s still invasive, and younger people especially have lost all sense of proportion, discretion and privacy. Do I really want to see those pictures of your bloody knee and the doctor giving you sixteen stitches?

Reader Victoria Bryan found something worth sticking up for:

For the past two months, I’ve been away from home, caring for my mother in her last weeks. The ability to be so easily in touch with friends all round the world, and to communicate with them about my mother as well as their daily lives, has been an extraordinary connector and solace. By the way, I’m 60.

Reader Donald Tilley struck a judicious tone:

I’m sure Peter Drucker would be in favor of many of the aspects of social media, but I think he would be the first also to argue that its use, especially in business, must be tempered by a full understanding of its associated risks and organizational impacts.

And reader Kim Hall found inspiration in the reworking of an old National Rifle Association slogan:

Facebook doesn’t waste time. People do!

Present company excepted, of course. 

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