By Jonathan Woon
Staff reporter

Registering for a Facebook account for the first time wasn’t a good experience. My mother constantlyencouraged me to think through the consequences of my actions and believed that social networking sites were the utmost trap that young people fall into these days- the devil of technology. Very commonly, Facebook is labeled as a platform where time-wasting activities start, and somehow never come to an end.

The majorities of users looks at social networking sites at their surface and rarely go the extra mile to carefully evaluate how Facebook changes with regards to trend.  For Facebook, it all started off as a site where student were rated based on their physical appearances.

Remember that Burger King commercial on television that asked you to follow them on their Facebook page? Look around you and observe the trend today. Everything is Facebook-related, simply because almost everyone is on Facebook; kids, adolescents, adults, grannies, grandpas…Today, to have a Facebook account has become a necessity of some sort, not a want but a must.

Often, we use Facebook as a medium of communication to contact our peers and family members thousands of miles away. Coming from Malaysia, a land approximately 9,000 miles away, Facebook has been a great tool to  contact with my loved ones especially family members at no cost at all. One hit of the button and messages are sent almost instantaneously over the internet.

Beside the messaging function, Facebook has taken smart steps in expanding their database to a wider scope which caters to a broader range of users. One-to-one chat sessions are no longer intriguing. Group chats, recently introduced on Facebook, bring a whole new dimension when chatting.

Others would then argue the negative effects of Facebook. A hardcore user would proudly claim to beaddicted to the site as if it were weed or tobacco. In today’s society, we find parents opposing the notion of being connected via Facebook.

There is more to it than just the socializing aspect. Many of us forget about the networking side of Facebook. What lies beyond Facebook that we do not realize, is business. Facebook is a virtual marketplace. Think of the role of Facebook just as you would for Ebay.com orAmazon.com. It has become a self-sustaining marketplace where both sellers and buyers are present atone same location regardless of their physical location. Companies these days use Facebook as a tool toglobally market their products going across seas, borders, and thousands of miles that can never happen instantaneously when done traditionally. This is business profitable and all is done via Facebook.

This not only happens to big time companies but also small time business people. For instance, when you follow or “like” someone’s photography page, you are indirectly approving and allowing the photographer to virtually channel, display and market his or her product to you. The day will come when you are in need of a photographer for your senior pictures and trust me, you will find that very same photographer because of the bridge and network she has seemingly built ever since you hit the “Like”button on his or her page.

Personally, I managed to make about $200 from photo shooting sessions that all started as a result of Facebook. Of course, $200 is not a large sum to make one’s jaw drop but who knows how far this network will take me in five, 10 or even 20 years time?

Contrary to popular views, I undoubtedly believe in the many wonders social networking is able to make, not only on a family-to-family or peer-to-peer basis, but most importantly the construction of networking bridges that can go a long way especially in the professional industry.

We’ve all heard of the saying, “A knife in the hands of a murderer can kill, but a knife in the hands of a doctor can save a life.” Similarly, when Facebook is used wisely by one who recognizes the power of such social networking sites, more positive benefits can be reaped.

Jonathan Woon is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at jonathan.woon@sckans.edu

Edited By Alejandra Rojas