Monday, April 27, 2015

Facebook: The New Frontier

By Lyndsay Borko

According to Facebook's Q3 Earnings Report released in October 2014, 1.35 billion people log on to Facebook at least once a month. This is roughly equivalent to the population of China, and also about 1 seventh of the entire population of earth.

Especially in the United States, Facebook has become a popular site for picture posting, friend-making, and live updating. Upon its launch in 2004, the social networking site quickly surpassed its predecessor, MySpace, which has shifted from a social media site to a music marketing and promotion page.

Facebook is an excellent media outlet for many reasons. The primary reason is social networking. Facebook allows users to connect in various ways and makes it simple to keep in touch with people who would have otherwise been difficult to keep in constant contact with. Facebook offers many services, such as messaging, text posting, picture posting, and video posting. Additionally, a user can “share” someone else's post with their own friends, or click a button that signifies they “like” a  post.

However, I do not like Facebook solely for the “fun” of constantly being in contact with friends. I find one of its most convenient uses is the instantaneous updating of breaking news. I am constantly checking Facebook for updates, and it is my primary source of information for anything from road closings to gun fire.  Sometimes, this comes simply in the form of friends posting their own comments about a situation. Other times, it's a headline from a news outlet.

For example, on Facebook I clicked “like” on the pages for many radio stations and news stations, which means that updates from their pages show up in my news feed. I follow stations like Fox News, the Journal News, the New York Post, 100.7 WHUD, and News 12, amongst others.

The thing I find most useful about this kind of distribution of information is that I can access any article for free. Many news websites, such as the Journal News, only allow a reader to view a certain number of articles before they have to purchase a subscription. When accessing news articles through their respective websites, this limit applies. When I click into an article, it says, “You have reached your limit for this month. Please subscribe to enjoy more articles.”

When I click into the same article through the Facebook link they provided, I am able to circumvent this “limit,” and read any article I want without having to pay. In this way, I am able to stay informed more easily than if I had to purchase a paper every day, or subscribe to access their online archive. My mom is constantly complaining about her loss of access to local news, whereas I never have that problem.

Overall, Facebook is a great tool in today's modern society. It allows people to stay connected and easily distribute information in real time. It is a platform where people can express themselves, share their ideas and beliefs, and share things of importance to them. It has greatly changed the way information is disseminated and has forever altered the way humans interact with one another. I'm sure Facebook will continue to flourish as long as the digital age remains in control.  

Lyndsay Borko is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College, pursing a degree in Communications and minoring in Business and Performing Arts. 

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