When I first heard the words "face" and "book" paired together I was a sophomore in college. I was 19. 4 years after 9-11. Midway through the Bush years. Coldplay, The O.C., and Napoleon Dynamite were all quite culturally relevant. In those days Facebook was only available to college students. We used it to keep in touch over the summer, flirt, and entertain ourselves when we were supposed to be listening to lectures. It acted as an online presence representing the social experience that was happening in college towns across the country. We were wary at first but quickly decided Facebook was great and Myspace was obsolete.
That was 6 years ago.
Now I can count on my hands the number of people I know who don't have a Facebook account. It is a prime form of keeping in touch, self-expression, and the exchange of ideas. My uncle calls it "town square." My mom uses it to reconnect with people she hasn't seen in 30 years. My 13-year-old cousin uses it to display inside jokes with friends. My sister uses it to keep up with former classmates in the States while she lives abroad.
My question is: What is this platform of communication doing to us? Our psyche? Our attention span? Our manners? Our compassion? Our listening skills? Our ability to multitask? Our productivity? My guess is: a lot.
So I'm in grad school studying it. And when I figure it out, I'll let you know. :-)