Facebook captivates the world−in a storm drain

By Peter Scobas ’12

Even The Roundup uses Facebook, but not from inside storm drains.
Even The Roundup uses Facebook, but not from inside storm drains.

According to a recent story in The Week, there were two girls in South Australia that found themselves stuck in a storm drain.

However, realizing they had their cell phones, the girls used their quick thinking and good judgment and decided on the best course of action: updating their Facebook statuses.

Obviously, you can’t underestimate the importance of keeping their 300 closest friends in the loop. I mean, knowing that the girls are “Stuckkkk in a storm drainnn!! Lol” must be a shocker, but for the girls getting a reply that seven people like this and their friend Carla hopes “u can still make my partyyy Saturday!!! Love u girlzzz!”  must help them cope in their time of dire distress. Or at least that’s what I think; the police had a different opinion. Rescuers said that by not calling the police, they delayed their rescue by hours. But really, who could blame them?

Those South Australian girls are two of nearly 300 million active users and, according to Facebook Press Room Statistics 65 million people like them access Facebook through their mobile phones.

It’s obvious this worldwide phenomenon captivates people. But why?

Is it the chance to connect with old friends, or to meet someone new? Is it simply knowing that Steve “just ate a Reuben sandwich and is going to buy a new pair of kicks?”

The applications for Facebook seem limitless, from personal uses to business opportunities. I have renewed friendships with forgotten elementary friends across the United States. Even my dad, who still can’t turn on the computer, discussed how his company has seen more than 200 more memberships sold since they have been advertising on Facebook. However, is all this actually good? According to Facebook, each day more than 6 billion minutes are spent on the site worldwide.

This sparks a deeper discussion about how we communicate with others.

Should we be spending less time talking through a computer screen and more time conversing face to face? This argument has been around for quite some time. Since the creation of the telephone, texting and e-mail, people are afraid that “old-school” discussions will cease to exist going all the way back to the development of the written word. In Plato’s Phaedrus Socrates himself was afraid that society would depend on writing as a replacement for knowledge. Technology has evolved a bit since Socrates’ time, but the essence is still the same.

So what should be done? At the very least show some moderation. According to Facebook over 40 million statuses are updated each day which may seem like a bit much. Perhaps it is wise to show discretion about what you publish, for as President Obama said in a report by the Huffington Post, “Be careful what you post on Facebook. Whatever you do, it will be pulled up later in your life.”

Remember to spend some time smelling the flowers, but just watch out for storm drains.