Levinson's book provides a good overview of what it is, how it works, and who it affects. I could have easily just regurgitated what he has written and commented on how much Facebook has grown since Levinson wrote his book. I could have written about my daily interactions with Facebook and how it's a fun and exciting way to connect and reconnect with people.
I just didn't feel like writing about those nor did I feel like writing about Facebook until I watched the Oscars last night.
I think The Social Network's Kevin Spacey (executive producer) made a very good point in that social media seems to have allowed people to find a voice.
Critics and pessimists will say that it just fuels our narcissistic tendencies and actually creates a disconnect between us and the real world. They will argue that it reduces human beings into brands. Self-branding is at the heart of Facebook. The mere fact that they think that I can define myself into a small box to tell people "About Me" and show my personality based on things I "like" and "people who inspire me" does seem to be over-simplifying how we define ourselves.
Apologists will argue that it has revolutionized the internet. It has brought about new ways to connect with people, it is a new business model, and like Spacey mentioned, it's a way for people to find their voices. It was an integral part in spreading information during the Iranian elections a while back, and it has played an important role (along with Twitter and blogs) in the current goings-on in the Middle East and North Africa.
Perhaps the difficulty I had of writing about Facebook is brought about by the fact that it has been so firmly engrained in my life. It's just a daily occurrence for me that it has provided little inspiration when it comes to writing material. Something crazy happening in my life is a lot easier to write about than writing about how I drink water everyday. Perhaps it is a scary or worrying thing that Facebook has become a regular part of my life that it isn't even a habit anymore. It's something that has become a huge part of many people's lives as well, and it's baffling to see how it only took a few years for this to happen.
Facebook is many things to many people. Sure it has its dark side, but there's no denying the cultural impact it has had in our generation.