I agree with many of Smith’s points. Social media has had a huge impact on society and how people interact with each other. People definitely say things that they may not say in person, post pictures that will create a perception about them that may not be completely true. People are allowing Facebook to become a world in which they live, rather than Facebook having a place in their world. My critique would be that maybe Facebook is a positive for people who are extremely introverted and have trouble communicating in person. If they did not have the opportunity to hide behind a computer or cell phone, maybe they would have no friends or social circle at all. I believe Facebook brings together the introverts and extroverts onto a common platform. Yes there is still room for judgment and people to say mean things faster than they might in person, but it also gives the quiet nervous ones a place to express themselves among peers that they may not do in person. For example, Zuckerberg created the site with an idea that if a guy sees a pretty girl in class but does not have the guts to walk up to her and ask for her name and number, he can search her on this website and add her as a ‘friend’ or message her. Does this have a negative impact on the introverted person giving them an easy way out instead of facing their fears? Or does this give them an opportunity to take a baby step to make new friends.
The statement Smith makes about Facebook taking away from peoples individuality by causing people to be more concerned about what their friends think or say and wanting to please their friends rather than themselves is true, but to a certain extent. I believe that people who were already insecure or unsure about their own beliefs and ideals will certainly be heavily influenced by the affects Facebook can have, however the people who have strong ideals and beliefs will not change their opinion just because their friends disagree. A friend is someone who you share commons interests with, so of course people will publicize and exaggerate those common interests on social sites however I don’t think that necessarily means those people forced the common interest solely to relate with their friends regardless of what they really think. Facebook will influence the same group of people who are influenced by their peers, advertisements, environment, co-workers, etc etc. If a person is consciously aware of the impact these devices can have on their individuality, then it will not affect them as much as a person who is ignorant or unaware. Being an individual who does not become another product of a society is a conscious effort, and I think Smith wrote this article to give people the opportunity to become aware of these things if they were not already.