"Facebook Me!": The New Gateway to Relationships
How "Can I get your number?" turned into "Are you on Facebook?"
On my 12th birthday, my parents bought me an LG flip-phone, four months after the first iPhone was released. The year was 2007. My excitement was unparalleled; I had never had a phone before! Now I'd be able to call my friends, play the little card games that my mom would play on her phone, and even text people. I even remember setting my very first ringtone to a unique, 8-bit interpretation of "Good King Wenceslas."
Two years later, I created my Facebook account, and never looked back. Asking people for their phone numbers turned into asking them if they were on Facebook. Texting people turned into messaging people on Facebook. "Call me!" turned into "Facebook me!"
Erik Qualman talks about this "seismic shift" in the way people communicate today in his book, Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. "Today with social media, when people meet, it's common for one of them to ask the other person, 'Are you on Facebook?'," he writes. "Just as people use the word Google as a verb - "Google it" - they now use phrases like "Facebook me" or "Send me a tweet."
It's crazy to think that I, as a millennial, have lived through this change, the transition from a mobile world to a digital one. But whereas some highlight the negative effects Facebook can have on a single person, I often like to look at things from a different angle. "My frustration about how we approach young people is that we think that everything must be so much worse because of technology," says technology and digital guru Danah Boyd, in an interview with The Verge." "The funny thing is that we’ve had these moral panics for every generation. Comics were ruining everybody, rock and roll was ruining everybody, MTV was ruining everybody — we’ve had this in many different iterations."
In my personal opinion, it's all about defining your expectations and understanding why social media was brought into existence in the first place. Harbor balance, and you'll see exactly why Facebook accounts are the new cell phone numbers.