List of Pros & Cons of Having a Facebook Account
By David Nield
Launched in 2004 as a college-only social network, Facebook now boasts over one billion active users. It pervades many aspects of modern life, from TV advertising to meeting new people. While there are many benefits to having a Facebook account, there are disadvantages to consider as well.
Pro: Keep in Touch
Facebook can prove an invaluable way of keeping in touch with people you otherwise wouldn't see, whether it's an uncle on the other side of the world or a friend who's moved to the next city. Facebook also enables you to hear about real-life events and gatherings you might otherwise miss if you weren't on the social network.
Pro: Share with Others
If there's something big happening in your life -- such as a new baby or a wedding -- then Facebook is a quick, free and convenient way of letting friends and family know about it. If you have an announcement or a group of pictures to share, then Facebook is one of the easiest ways of getting the message out. From holiday photos to interesting Web links, Facebook is a powerful tool for sharing.
Pro: Keep a Journal
Facebook can be used for your own benefit as well as the benefit of others. Through the use of photos, check-ins, events and status updates you can build up a detailed journal of your life. The Facebook Timeline is ordered chronologically and enables you to look back on years gone by and relive the experiences.
Con: Lack of Privacy
With a Facebook account, your life is made public to be viewed and dissected. Even if you don't choose to share something yourself, your friends can tag you in status updates and photos, so you might find your worst moments shared on the site as well as your best ones. It is possible to review activity before it appears on your Timeline, but this extra step adds to the time and effort required to maintain your Facebook account.
While it can be useful to know what your friends and family are up to, Facebook can also be a significant time sink with no real value. A quick check of the site can turn into half an hour of scanning photos, videos and company brand pages that you don't really have any interest in. Consider how productively you could use the time you spend on Facebook elsewhere.
Con: Targeted Advertising
Facebook uses the information stored on your profile to target you with advertising, building up a picture of you, your location and your habits in order to sell you goods and services. Any content you upload to Facebook may be used to tweak this advertising.
An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.