In their research work, The Benefits of Facebook “Friends”, Nicole B. Ellison and Charles Steinfield (*) described Facebook as a “rich site for researchers interested in the affordances of social networks due to its heavy usage patterns and technological capacities that bridge online and offline connections. We believe that Facebook represents an understudied offline to online trend in that it originally primarily served a geographically-bound community (the campus). “
I believe considering Facebook as “an offline to online trend “, is a quite restricting view. I think the intention of Facebook is more than offering a platform that “bridge online and offline connections“. But then, what is the real intention of Facebook?
Ultimately, the answer to this question is less interesting than the consequences that Facebook is currently having on online sociability. My impression is that Facebook polarize the discourse: either you are “part of Facebook” or not.
(*) The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students Use of Online Social Network Sites. Nicole B. Ellison, Charles Steinfield, Cliff Lampe,Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Volume 12, Issue 4, pages 1143–1168, July 2007