Opinion | What Is Facebook Worth to Us?

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It is easy to forget how new Facebook is, but remember I do. The first time I logged in to the social networking site was around 2006. I was taking classes in an adult enrichment program at a small Catholic school in Charlotte, N.C. A young literature professor used Facebook to cultivate informal communication with the traditional-age students. I joined Facebook using my university email address, which at the time was required to sign up.

Facebook’s layout and organization of information — what scholars now call “affordances” — were not intuitive to me. It forced me to “like” the literature professor who encouraged us to sign up, followed by the other students in the class. I did not realize that this digital space was an extension of the university’s institutional life, so I was surprised and dismayed when the professor scolded me for making a joke on my Facebook wall. I dropped that class and deactivated that, my first Facebook…

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