Staying connected isn’t always a good thing


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sports the new Occulus Rift virtual reality glasses.

In this modern age of social media integration, everyone with a Facebook or twitter account can easily connect with friends from across the world, without a second thought. More and more websites are promoting “Facebook integration,” allowing you to share content with your friends without even being on Facebook itself. The ubiquity of social media brings up a number of important questions. How far will companies like Facebook and Twitter go? Is it really for the best?

It’s impossible not to notice the pervasive nature of modern social media. Going on nearly any popular website without seeing some kind of Facebook or Twitter widget is nigh impossible, and social media’s influence is still growing. Many websites require users to sign in through Facebook, recording and posting the user’s activity, often without his or her permission.

While some people may be okay with this integration, thinking of it as a way to connect with friends more easily, many more introverted people see it as a source of anxiety or dread. No longer can the internet be used as an escape from the real world, with social interaction a constant force in life. Not to mention, I highly doubt anyone is comfortable letting his friends know everything he does on the internet.

Also important to note is the effect social media integration has had on advertising. The popularity of widespread social networks is a godsend for advertisers, as they now have half of their work already done forthem. Using social media, they can get all the information they need to reach their audiences more quickly and effectively. Facebook has been known to sell out users’ data to the highest bidder, and while this may not have many serious consequences, it sure is annoying.

Facebook’s purchase of crowd-funded virtual reality headset Oculus Rift last week further exemplifies the negative effect social media has on the public. In a Facebook post last Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg stated he acquired the project to “make the world more open and connected.” He fails to realize, however, that the Oculus Rift’s main audience wants exactly the opposite of that. The whole purpose of virtual reality is exactly what the title implies: virtual. Attempting to integrate it with the real world is the exact opposite of what the product’s original investors had in mind.

This purchase has caused a large amount of public outcry on the internet. Minecraft creator Notch even withdrew his plans to bring his popular game to Oculus Rift, saying “Facebook creeps me out.”

With this recent purchase, the future of the internet looks somewhat dim. Maybe this is just a passing trend that will eventually die out. Maybe the whole definition of the internet will permanently change, becoming an extension of normal life, as opposed to another world entirely. Either way, the Facebook juggernaut shows little sign of stopping.