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Facebook… Friend or Foe… 

Facebook has taken over college campuses – swept the nation – and connected cultures around the world. Whether they’re 15 or 50 — folks are logging on and finding friends.The craze created by social networking sites is changing communication, but the benefits of sites like facebook go far beyond just keeping in touch.”How many times a day do you check facebook? Like 5 or 6 probably … hahaha.””Probably, 2 to 3.””How many times a day would you say you check it? Well over 50.” What started in 2004 as the brain child Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg has turned into an addiction for some. “How many hours a day do you spend on facebook? Probably about two.””Ahhh maybe 10 mins a day.””A lot, probably 8 or more.” “You can see students now just constantly with their phone, constantly online, constantly interacting and when they interact they get reinforcement because somebody’s interacting back with them.”Facebook has changed the way folks communicate. What used to be said in a card is now sent in a facebook message. A phone conversation has become a facebook chat. “It seems anonymous and it seems like sort of a cold interface, but for students and people who are really truly engaged in this, it’s a sense of immediate connection.” The site that started as a way for college kids to connect has graduated to a social network for all.”This woman I know is 90. She just started a facebook page because she wanted to talk to her kids and grandkids and great grandkids, and she can do that through facebook.””It has reconnected people, it’s given people an opportunity to make that first entre and sort of say, I’m out here.”The appeal of connecting and reconnecting has folks “friending” all over the map. “How many facebook friends do you have? Him: Ohhhh hahaha. I think last count I had about 790.” “A lot, I think it’s like 800.””I have like 450 friends, and I’d say like good friends, 25.” It’s like a cyber popularity contest. But what does it really mean to be facebook friends?”I’ve had people who’ve I’ve never met add me. And it’s weird cause it’s so impersonal. I just feel like people have redefined the word friend because of facebook.””Are all the friends your great friends, are they friends like we used to think of friends, are they the deepest closest best friends forever, probably not.” Facebook isn’t the only social networking site, but it’s arguably the one most folks are using and talking about. The site’s mass appeal and cross section of users has also turned it into a tool for businesses. “Audiences there have elected to put themselves in a position to receive that news. We know that they are interested and we know that they’re going to be paying attention to it. In the past year we’ve made a serious effort to include social networking mechanisms in our effort to communicate news about UMaine.” And knowledge of this new technology is making young people more appealing to companies looking to use the platforms, giving them a leg up in the job market.”That differentiates them as an expert in the field that maybe somebody that’s 40 or 45 that they are competing against. They only know the old way.”