Culture Critique
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Previous post: The Social Network

The Facebook Middleman

If Facebook is useless for the development and exchange of ideas, it is also useless as a platform for citizens to conduct business. In daily life, through our face-to-face networks, we promote our political and economic interests, give each other referrals, and connect people who could benefit from knowing each other, so that we can all secure what we need to survive, prosper, and generally improve our quality of life and our communities. That is one of the main purposes of a social network. Because Facebook is an unnecessary commercial intermediary in our relationships, which discourages real two-way communication through functions such as the “like” button, it is necessary to leave the site in order to discuss ideas, exercise our citizenship, and conduct business personally in the traditional networks we have formed over time through shared experience.

 

Some might argue that you can always send a direct message on Facebook to an individual in your friend network, if you have something of importance to discuss with them. While that is true, you can also send them an email, call, or meet with them without Facebook. Indeed, a personal email carries more weight than a Facebook message, a phone call is more important than an email, and a face-to-face meeting is best. If world leaders still insist on meeting face-to-face to discuss important business, we should, too. Otherwise, since most messages posted on Facebook aren’t imperative, they can be, and are often ignored. And when it comes to conducting the business of our lives such as finding a job, housing, or some product or service we may need, or just to ask for advice, if it has to happen on Facebook at all (for example, if we don’t already have someone’s contact information), it quickly moves out of the online platform, to email, a phone call, and/or a meeting (if possible), after we secure these more reliable contact methods. Because for good communication with a purpose, we naturally cut out the Facebook middleman.

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