Is Facebook a necessary evil?

Sama Abdul-Aziz

It is hard to believe that Facebook was initially created exclusively for college students. In fact, it had been available only to Harvard University students and other Ivy League schools. In order to join Facebook, students had to receive an invitation from another Facebook member.

In the past, in order to make sure that new users are members of the “permitted” schools, people needed to use their university e-mail addresses to log in, which served as a verification tool. By 2005, a year after Facebook was created, it was opened to high school students, but still by invitation only. Recently, however, Facebook has been open to all, and invitations are no longer necessary.

Most students at Wayland High School are members of Facebook. With so many users at our own school, I can’t help but wonder: How necessary is Facebook?

Facebook has qualities that make it a worthwhile online medium. Facebook’s main goal is to “connect and share with the people in your life,” as indicated on the log-in page of the website. Now that Facebook is open to everyone, not only does it connect students with people in their town, but also with people across the nation, as well as around the world.

Friends I have met at camps are now just a click away. Not only can I communicate with my friends, but I can view the photos, videos, and personal information of others. Many features created on Facebook keep me updated on upcoming events, meeting dates, and other activities. Looking at it this way, Facebook is a valuable tool for staying connected with people I know.

The inevitable evil of Facebook, however, is its addictiveness. It is hard for me (and many others) to stay off Facebook for more than a few days. It has now become part of my daily routine to log into Facebook and check on various updates.

One of the main reasons for its addictiveness is the “Newsfeed,” which provides updates on my friends’ activities. This feature allows Facebook to become almost a type of stalking tool. I have found myself randomly looking at pictures of my friends and their friends simply because I was notified of their new updates through the Newsfeed feature.

Hours of my time have been wasted on Facebook. I could have done more homework or taken care of other responsibilities.

Is Facebook a necessary evil? While I believe that Facebook is not a healthy habit, I also find it useful for staying in contact and catching up with my friends. Whether or not Facebook is helpful or harmful to students, one thing is crystal clear: we will never be able to completely get rid of a social networking site like Facebook. It has become indispensable.