If you’re anything like me, your network of close personal friendships—the people you spend time with in your local community—has been altered over the years by your exposure on Facebook. Actually, everybody’s network of friends is altered (good or bad) by Facebook, whether you’re using the site or not.
Let me explain.
I am referring to that real-life network of friends, family, and acquaintances with whom you try to stay in touch. This includes the people you spend time with, plus people you communicate with via phone, email, snail mail, etc.
In 2013, when I first wrote about this, there were more than 1 billion users on Facebook globally. Eight years later that number has more than doubled, to 2.6 billion users. It’s no longer an exaggeration to say that Facebook is used by the majority of the people you know. In fact, a Pew Research Center study reported that nearly 80% of American adults who are online use Facebook.
You probably fall into one of the following three groups of people:
In my case, I connect with friends, family and customers. But for reasons I’ll explain in #3 below, I post a minimal amount of personal stuff on Facebook.
But only a fraction of my life is represented by what I put on Facebook. If you look at my Facebook page you see work stuff, a few old vacation pics, home improvement projects without my family in it, and pics of me with friends and extended family who are also on Facebook.
Some choose to stay off of Facebook for professional reasons, others simply aren’t interested. But recognize that a segment of your local network of friends will never be on Facebook.
My wife falls into this category. As a Christian counselor, it creates challenging situations in her profession to be on Facebook at all. So she stays off, and she asks me to try to keep pictures of her and details about our life off Facebook too.
So what does this mean? How does it affect your “real life” social network?
I see three ways we are all impacted by Facebook…
There are likely more dimensions to some of the friends you connect with than what you see on their Facebook page.
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