The Impact of Facebook on 5 Categories of Personal Relationship

Before Internet and Facebook, the only factors which mattered when it comes to our lives were basically family, friends, neighbors, school, work, and everything that are close to us and we are accustomed or familiar with while we grow up and grow old. 

Our lives back then were shaped with the values our family instilled upon us; the attitude and behaviors we have adopted from our friends; the lessons that our teachers and schools taught us; the details we have observed through our community; scenes we saw from TV and movies; and events we read from papers and other printed materials. 

All of these molded us into what we are right now. Unless we have travelled to places quite far from where we lived, our knowledge about people and places are limited.  People we have met were only those that we came across with when attending school, visiting parks, going to church, working, and dropping by other public places where lots of people frequent.  In other words, our sphere of influence was just around us. 

Internet and Facebook

The adoption of the Internet part of our daily life has exposed us to wider areas of influence, especially when social networks like Facebook became almost the norm of Internet skills and knowledge.  Initially, Facebook was just a web application where one can broadcast thoughts and say something about anything.

Over the years, a lot of developments were developed within this network as more tools, applications, and software were included. These improved the way we navigate the Internet and its content like social networking through Facebook.  We share, post, click on likes and dislikes, add friends, play games, and link our page consciously or unwittingly to other websites and online pages.  Thus, our horizons have expanded, we are now more connected with people that matter to us including friends, family, workmates, associates, clients, employees, and the like.  We also connect to new acquaintances through various ways in Facebook including adding friends, allowing applications, liking and sharing of pictures, news, stories, and sites. 

According to statistics found in several online sites, there are approximately over 1 billion users of Facebook in this planet.  You can just imagine the flow of activities each time everyone logs on to their account; compounding the fact that one can access Facebook through PCs, laptops, and mobiles.  Thus, it is not surprising that Facebook has created a huge impact, either positively or negatively, not only collectively but as an individuals as well. 

Basics of Facebook

There are several steps involved in order to be connected with Facebook and be counted among the hundreds of millions of users. The first thing that you should do is of course to register and create an account and then complete your profile. You must be at least 13 years old in order to do so.  If not, a parent must acknowledge your account’s registration.

Once done, you can now add other Facebook users as friends, post messages to your wall and theirs, play games, send and exchange comments as well as messages to friends, and share pictures, news, stories, and links. You may also click the like, unlike, follow, and unfollow buttons as well as receive notifications.  In addition, you can also join groups created by friends from work, school, community, and other people you have common interest with.  You also have to factor fan pages and brand pages where people are also converging in order to promote, buy, and sell products or services.  All of these activities in Facebook do take a toll in our daily life, especially on our personal life.

Types of Personal or Human Relationships

Personal relationship can be defined in simplest terms as a relationship or connection between two or more people.  There are several types of relationships involving humans.  The most common are:
    1. Filial relationships pertain to relationships among and between family members.
    2. Romantic relationships refer to relationships which involve romance and intimacy between the opposite sex or same sex to be politically correct.
    3. Collegial relationships are described as relationships with your work colleagues and clients or anybody who is connected with your profession, work, or job.
    4. Social relationship denotes connection outside your close friends.  These are your casual acquaintances.
    5. Best Friends Forever (BFF) relationships, as the name implies, are people who are closer and dear to you than any other people.
Each of these types of personal relationships is common to all people and at times one relationship develops and evolves into another type of relationship.  For example, your doctor maybe at one time a part of your social relationship. But over a period of time, frequent contact with your physician will lead to disclosure of more intimate details about your life and you get to recognize their importance in your life; thus, you consider the person a part of your BFF relationships.  

Facebook has penetrated the way we develop and maintain our personal relationships with other people.  At times, there are positives outcome associated with Facebook. But oftentimes, negative effects also result from constantly being updated with each other.  Let us review how Facebook impact each type of relationships.

Before we discuss the main core of this report, take a look at the infographic below:


The Impact of Facebook on 5 Categories of Personal Relationship
Facebook and Family Relationships

Facebook is both a blessing and bane to family members.  It allows family members to connect and reconnect with each other. Communication is very important and this social network has added another medium where members can convey their message across members of the family, especially if they are too timid to say it face to face.  Through posting, commenting, sharing, and liking, parents have an idea how their children behave outside of the house. They also become familiar with their child’s friends and learn about their kids' thoughts which they are not aware of.  In other words, each family member gets to know each other better through Facebook.  Through Facebook, we are also able to solidify our connection with family members and relatives in far places. 

However, Facebook also threatens the basic foundation which parents worked hard for to raise their children.  If not monitored properly, kids are exposed to all kinds of vulnerability and exploitation through Facebook.  This is because their account and profile, if not filtered, is open to over a billion users. No doubt, some of these users have malicious intent.  Moreover, through sharing, posting, and liking, children can access messages, news items, and notifications which are difficult for their young minds to comprehend.   Facebook also encourages impersonal communication among members.  Meaning, the need to confront and communicate issues and concerns personally about each family member is no longer tolerated. Instead, family members just log on to their account and post what is on their minds about their parents, sibling, and even relatives. 

Facebook and Romantic Relationships

One of the benefits of Facebook in terms of romantic relationships is that the ability to keep secrets from each other is lessened.  As a matter of fact, a lot of couples are actually sharing Facebook accounts. This way, it helps build trust with each other.  Facebook is another redundant medium for romantic couples to stay in touch other than mobile gadgets and emails.  Through this social network, our partners have loads of information about us and she or he can use it to analyze the internal aspects of our personality.  Through text and images we share, wall messages we shout, notifications we receive, the likes, follows, and comments we click and post, can form part of what we are implicitly. These are the things that we are not able or cannot share with our partner.

It can also give us a round the clock update on the whereabouts of our partners.  Thus, there is no need for us to check and call from to time to time to say something loving or hateful.  The wall message board is a tool for us to declare our undying love to our romantic partners.  The images that we share can also warn other romantic idiots not to mess up and be involved with our romantic relationships.  The messages that we share may be helpful to our friends and other people so that they too can sustain their own relationship by virtue of a good example from us.  For as little as 30 minutes, connecting to our wife or husband and girlfriend or boyfriend, is more than enough to keep the relationship stronger, especially if the couple is miles apart.

But Facebook do not only preserve relationships, it is also a cause for relationships to falter and break down.  A lot of stories were told and shared about couples going on separate ways because they discovered some things about their partner’s account which lead to betrayal of confidence.    Jealousies were heightened just because they read messages from previous relationships or concluded that one user is flirting with her or his partner.  There are also several users who were complaining that their partners are stripping off their dignity and privacy by asking passwords to their accounts so that they can access items hidden from the public.  There are other ways wherewith Facebook affects romantic relationships but these two are the most common.

Facebook and Collegial Relationships

Very often, we subscribe to Facebook groups because of common interest. Some examples are our college groups, alumni group, hobby group, and work group.  Through Facebook, we are able to get to know other people better by simply exchanging messages and viewing their pictures, profiles, and friends for example.  We get to know important facets of their life without directly asking from them about it. We discover new details about our connections just by merely browsing their accounts.  Each day, we receive updates from these people and every time we read these, our knowledge on them increases and the degree of intimacy in terms of relationships also increase; thus, adding the number of whom we consider as best friends forever. 

However, it is a fact that some of these people are just lurkers and are waiting for the time you post something which can be used against you, especially among work mates.  This is one reason why some people do not add associates who rank higher in the corporate ladder to their friends list as they are wary that these people are just monitoring their Facebook moment and waiting for the time you commit a mistake by posting files that are in-congruent to the values of your company. 

In addition, our moments of disaster with Facebook are not limited to these people alone but to their friends as well.  Moreover, you can be emotionally hurt when you exchange messages with them and yet they are not responding.  It adds up more problems and paranoia for you.    At times, you are bombarded with people asking favors, consulting your opinions, and selling something.  A lot of posts from these people can be a distraction to your daily activities.

Facebook and Social Acquaintances Relationship

It is now the norm for people to ask if one has a Facebook account when they bump onto each other in parties, business meetings or conventions, and other social interactions. Our list of friends continues to aggregate because of this scenario.  Through Facebook, we can further investigate about new acquaintances we meet.  We are able to draw our personal conclusions about the integrity of these people.  Thus, Facebook has become a tool for users to be careful when dealing with other people who do not belong to their filial, romantic, collegial, and BFF relationships.  It has become a habit for us to search the network and find pieces of information about other people.  With that, we are able to minimize our exposure to threats, scams, and other malicious intent. 

However, it also works both ways.  Other parties are also doing the same to you and their negative conclusions drawn from what they see and read from your account may actually do personal harm to you.  Each one of us has different backgrounds and characteristics.  When people tend to overlook our profile and insist on his or her personal bias and prejudice, they can spread their personal views about you and it can become damaging without you realizing it.  Moreover, if your account is not secured, these people may post and comment attacks directly or indirectly against you.  In other words, sharing your Facebook account to so many people leads to potential exposure to harassment, unintentional harm, and deliberate slander.  Thus, the time spent with Facebook keeps on increasing each day as you become paranoid about updates not only with people in this category but other categories as well.

Facebook and BFF Relationships

This is the inner core of your relationships other than your family.  Some of these people are work associates, clients, common interest groups, and others. These people hold the most intimate secret that you could possibly have.  In other words, they tend to have ace on their sleeves with regards to you and your relationship with them.  Undeniably, there will be cases when these people will expose you by unconsciously commenting at any of your posts as if that the network is built exclusively for you and your bffs.  Yes, many people are guilty of this irresponsible action.  They are sharing their thoughts and files, unmindful that Facebook is an open portal for everybody to wander around. 

On the other end of the equation, Facebook is a potent tool for us to experience how great it is to have bffs sharing their thoughts to you, giving you encouraging words everyday, and reminding how lucky you are to have friends like them.  Facebook helps build BFF relationships to last until eternity.  However, the frequency and the number of updates that we receive from them can be annoying. At times, these people are also demanding for you to spend time for them through the site.  After all, what are friends for if you cannot tolerate their eccentricities on Facebook? 

Facebook is Relationship

Regardless of how this social network impacts your daily life when it comes to personal relationships, undeniably, it helps us survive daily challenges.  The images and messages we receive from our relationships guarantee that there are people who care for us.  The damaging effects are just temporary and can be minimized.  One has to device his own security measures for safer Facebook moments like filtering and discreet file sharing as well as messaging.  It is our responsibility to be safe from any harmful intentions within the network.  Facebook is just a medium for us to connect with people.  It does not offer warranty that it is harm and danger free.  It builds and develops personal relationships.  Any harm acquired is mutually created by you and other people, not Facebook. 

Facebook takes up a lot of time daily wherever you are. It is comparable to an addiction. If we avail of it irresponsibly, we will not be able to perform important tasks. Facebook is a relationship. The way, we conduct our personal relationship with other people in the network is also the key for you to maintain your account with Facebook.  Remember, Facebook management can be alerted when someone is stalking your or verbally as well physically harming you in relation to the site. 

Facebook helps us to become responsible with our relationships every day.  The things we do to our friends outside the Internet are more or less similar with what we do on Facebook too. The only difference is that it is more public; thus, a lot of people are compounded in the relationships. 

References:
http://www.helium.com/items/2137032-impact-of-facebook-on-relationships
http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Personal_relationship
http://personalgrowthmap.com/blog/2009/03/20/understanding-the-seven-life-areas/
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/magazine/07awareness-t.html?pagewanted=4&ei=5124&en=b87f67f56fa2fbe2&ex=1378440000&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
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