10 years of Facebook. 10 Facebook truths.
Facebook celebrated its 10th year anniversary yesterday. In its continuous pursuit to engage its customers and stakeholders, Facebook launched the Facebook movie allowing users to share their favourite moments they had on Facebook.
We all grew up together with Facebook. I was perhaps only 30 years old when I first set up an account. A child who is 10 years old today would probably have Facebook as one of his closest friends, and having his life documented from the day he was born to his pre-schooling days.
What a difference Facebook has made in our lives! Our lives have been transformed, digitally.
In today’s social landscape, it is imperative that everyone leads a connected and engaged lifestyle. Facebook has become the new TV of our generation. Our pop-culture or entertainment do not merely come from carefully scripted dramas or supposedly staged reality shows, but a juxtaposition of content and news from the people we are connected with. The highs from dramas are now replaced by a dramatic update from a close friend who is lamenting about his failed relationship. The cooking shows you used to watch are now replaced by photo updates of a restaurant visited. Things are becoming more organic and authentic on social media as it happens right in front of our digital screens.
On this special day, I thought it will be nice to share some unique truths about Facebook. Whether they are boons or banes, I leave it to you to decide.
Organic reach of Facebook Fanpages’ post will decline over time
Facebook has admitted that less and less people will get to see the postings of Fanpages. In fact, only 10 percent of brands’ audiences get to see the updates. This is obviously a result of increased pressures from investors for Facebook to stay profitable. “We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it,” said a Facebook representative. I wonder if this restriction will be applied to personal profiles in future. Perhaps next time if we want more people to see our posts, we have to start paying.
Blame the user, don’t blame the media
It’s been a never ending game blaming the media on all ramifications of internet or digital spaces. Just like we don’t blame TV for spreading violence, hatred or stereotypes, we should not be quick to point finger at Facebook for spreading the ill effects of life, for example child prostitution, pornography or sexual abuse. Media academics will say that the media is neutral and it is how the user uses the media that is important. I believe everyone should exercise self control and censorship when contributing content on the public sphere.
A measurement of popularity
The notion of popularity is exemplifed by the liking and sharing nature of Facebook. Often users will use indicators like the number of friends, number of likes , comments and shares as a mean of measuring social success on facebook. The subtle conditioning in our mind tells us that each time we post something, we secretly hope to receive instant recognition from our peers through liking and sharing our posts. Have we become so focused on getting social results from our day to day interaction that we lost the real meaning of engagement online?
Manifestation of Negativity
It’s human nature to complain and dwindle into self induced negativity. That explains why people pollute our digital space so freely. Do we become even more negative and depressed merely by being exposed to tons of negative facebook updates? Do we get more upset when we hang out with friends who are always negative? That is a theory to be proven by academics.
Who owns Facebook?
Well the obvious answer is Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc. I once saw an update from a friend who was lamenting about the fact that Facebook restricts 90% of his audience seeing his postings and updates. He justified that the growth of his Fan number was purely based on his own effort and has nothing to do with Facebook. What he failed to realise was that we are merely users of the medium and along the way, grew our profiles through our own little organic ways. Facebook Inc still owns the medium and has every right to impose restrictions and rules the way they want. Like I always say, owning a media space is powerful today. If you can, start building your own media empire in whichever way you can.
Happiness Index with Facebook
This is a hypothesis that needs to be proven and researched upon. Are we truly happy with the advent of technology and facebook? Fundamentally, technology is a want and not a need. But in today’s world, it has inevitably become a need for everyone. There are people who can’t function without facebook or even their mobile phone. The central question here is ‘Does Technology enhance the notion of happiness or does it hamper’?
Active or passive?
There are many people who ‘ll keep checking their facebook newsfeed but will never contribute their constructive thoughts or updates. While it is unfair to equate a person’s vocability through his or her digital updates, it is fair to say that people who are generally active on Facebook are, more often than not, trendsetters, opinion leaders and perhaps movers and shakers in our society. I believe Facebook provides a platform for the less vocal and unrepresented minority a chance to lobby for their causes, in a way leveling the playing field for everyone. So people, please make a difference, will you?
Stereotypes of the online persona
We inevitably shape our own online persona through cleverly crafted messaging, pictures and profiles. We are careful with what we say onlne as we understand the consequences in projecting a wrong image in the eyes of our stakeholders. However, on the other hand, are we becoming too critical on obvious stereotypes on facebook? Do we label a friend for being whiny just because we see constant updates relating to complaints, curses and swears? Do we define a person as nacisstic just because he or she likes to post selfies constantly?
Media Meshing To the MAX
Media meshing refers to the constant multi-tasking of media activities from reading Facebook, to whatsapping, tweeting and talking at the same time. We have become so used to doing so many different things at the same time that it has become a way of life. How often do we seriously look at addressing one area or point, and give absolute attention to it? Is this part of a natural evolution of our digital lifestyle that is inevitable, since this digital tsunami has no way of turning back?
Yes, We are on a digital journey of no return. The evolution of technology has transformed all facets of our lives, affecting culture, politics, economy, legistation, education, media and many other areas. Academics will say we need to embrace these changes and transform ourselves into bigger change agents in the near future. The digital landscape in the next 10 years looks promising and challenging . And it is imperative we prepare ourselves to face these challenges and make the best out of our lives.
Regardless, our lives have transformed significantly. Whether they are boons or banes, we only have Facebook and other social media heroes to thank.
Happy 10th year anniversary Facebook.
And We certainly ‘LIKE’ your new found status.
About the Writer
Dennis Toh is an influencer focusing on helping business owners (professionals, consultants, entrepreneurs, SMEs, Semi-personalities) and brand custodians boost sales, build credibility and create a powerful presence using a low-cost, high impact publicity and social media methods.
Apart from owning The Influencer Network, he is a co-business owner of Feet Haven Reflexology Group, The Influencer Media & EastieBrekkie Magazine.