I am on Facebook, therefore I am?

OK. This is a youth talking. If you ain’t got no Facebook account, go live in a cave. With more than 200 million strong followers worldwide and still counting, Facebook has and continue to entice just about any men and women, old or young, working adults or even school children. Currently ranked as the leading social networking site, Facebook is a force to be reckoned with.What is so compelling about Facebook is its entertaining Features that offers everything under the sun.

Feel the need to proclaim your love to someone today? Status Update is just what you need.

Long to reunite with your high school clique? Then invite them for a spanking good night out through Events.

Want to share some Kodak moments with your distant relatives or long lost friends? Uploading yesteryears or current photos into Photos would be both nostalgic and fun at the same time.

You know those games Applications? I’m not averse to all those. I don’t get the whole brouhaha about people’s fascinations for these Applications.

Are you one of those games addicts who are guilty as charged? Squander all your time on harvesting, levelling up or feeding, getting completely engrossed with the adventure that these games have to offer?

There’s FarmVille for the failed farmer gone awry.

There’s also Mafia Wars. No, we’re not talking about the first high-profile conflict between Mafia clans in post-war Italy. We’re talking games that offer inspiring Mafia to play Don Vito Corleone at the comfort of their home or workplace.

For those with ultra deep motherly instinct, Baby Adopter trains you to become a good mother in the future. We do hope virtual training helps.

Apart from the youth, the Facebook community today includes professionals, politicians, celebrities, businesses, and just about any sector of the society.

The plus points are that constituents are getting more connected with their Yang Berhormats, as so are fans with their favourite Idols, students with their teachers and, clients with their service providers. It’s also been amazing to witness old schoolmates who have been out of touch for decades suddenly updating each other on just about any aspect of their lives; cousins who barely had the time of day for each other in real life suddenly have tonnes to say to each other. The possibilities seem endless.

These are all acceptable and within the norms of Facebooking. But what happens when Facebookers, particularly as employees, cross the boundary of work ethics conventions?

Addiction to social networking has never been so pronounced. It is the cutting-edge kind of addiction, if I could put it that way that has caused the enslavement of our society, so much so that for many, everything but Facebook has taken a back seat in their lives. People are spending less quality time with their family and friends; forget how important it is to socialise outside of the virtual world, neglecting outdoor activities and worse still, paying less attention to work.

England’s top Catholic bishop once issued a warning on the downsides of social networking sites. It could lead to the decrease in work productivity, damage relationships between family members and friends.

The challenge at the workplace is that we have two personas. One is our personal persona and the other, a work persona. Managing this in online networking is tricky.

While some establishments banned ‘Facebooking’ at the workplace, there are those who chose to invest in the positive potentials of the facility for larger and longer term goals of the organisation. The issue is whether the staff has the integrity to ensure that the facility is utilised to create added value to the work of the organisation. After having taken the position to allow online networking at the workplace, employers cannot entertain the illusion that it will be used for work-related activities 100 per cent of the time. While employers need to exercise some flexibility, the onus is on each employee to ensure that the trust given is justified through at least high work productivity.

Ultimately Facebook may follow Friendster, and other early online social networks that have become saturated and stale. Whatever the next new thing may be, the rules of engagement will remain similar and there will always be pitfalls. Although online networks and their influence on the modern society are here to stay, genuine happiness cannot be pursued through such networking alone. I’m sure too much Face

booking can leave one feeling jaded and lethargic. So, be smart in managing your virtual life, and get in touch with reality. Get a life already!

By Marcella Gider and Rosalind Yang

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