09/26/2010 03:17 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Debate: Does Facebook Have Social Value?

In my Information Systems class at Rider University, we hold debates about current IS issues.

The first debate of the semester was about Facebook. The specific motion: Facebook is under-appreciated, it has tremendous social value.

I had assumed that most students would be pro-Facebook. After all, these were typical college-aged students, who grew up in Information Age.

The students presented excellent arguments. On the PRO side,

  • Facebook allows users to connect with long-lost friends.
  • Pictures that are taken actually get seen.
  • Facebook allows groups of like-minded people to form more easily.

On the CON side:

  • Facebook enables cyber bullying, anxiety, privacy invasion and other social ills.
  • Facebook erodes productivity.
  • Facebook infringes on people's privacy.

To my surprise, the room was quite mixed. Clearly, a suspicion of Facebook pervades people from all age groups and backgrounds.

Although Facebook has run into the difficulties lately with regards to privacy, the number of users keeps growing. And the movie The Social Network will surely renew interest in what is becoming a global phenomenon.

It will be interesting to see how the tenor of the debate shifts in the coming months.