In the Bucknell Org Theory 09′ blog, Geoff wrote about Facebook in his post The Facebook Effect and I couldn’t disagree more with so much about this post. The crux of his argument is that Facebook and Twitter are “fulfilling fantasies of subscribers” in the same way that a virtual world would, this is so very wrong.
His first paragraph I do agree with, he states that subscribers of virtual worlds, such as World Of Warcraft and Second Life, to create “Second-Personalities” and escape the real world. I believe this is very true, and even I was once bit by the MMO bug and played these games to forget about my problems for a couple hours a day. In his next paragraph, however, it all starts to go wrong.
Geoff states that these virtual worlds have (in 2009) started to take a new shape in the form of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I would argue that people don’t go on Facebook to emerse themselves in a world that is not their own and become someone they are not, they do it to learn more about their world and use it as an extension of who they are. You see what your friends are up to and tell friends what you are up to. You use social media communicate with people who you couldn’t due to physical boundaries and you don’t interact with people that you haven’t already had an in-person conversation with.
Geoff also uses the comparison that people get addicted to Facebook in the same way that they get addicted to MMO games. It is true that some people may spend more time on Facebook than they should (and it is definitely true that they spend more time playing MMO games than they should) but spending an extra hour looking at pictures your friends took while they are abroad is actually useful to your real life, as opposed to spending an hour trying to down a dungeon boss, when you see your friend at a party, you can ask him how cool it was to see that lion in Africa. These social media sites are not virtual worlds to escape too, they are online tools that enhance your real world.