I have recently been reflecting on the current state of Facebook, originally a social tool for friends that has developed into a universal mouthpiece for anything and everything. You can follow your friends in depth, how they’re feeling, where they’re going and even what they’re eating...hmmmm I don’t understand this obsession for posting plates of colourless food! Must say, having read a thriller by Peter James where the serial killer logged intended victims movements by the ‘helpful information’ they posted on Facebook, you need to be very discriminating about personal information. Of course, we all know how many different types of predators can use social networks to their advantage in real life which is frightening. Must say however family videos can be fun and enjoyable- but please don’t give any real names or location details unless your page is open to friends only!! And of course some people write genuinely interesting things about their daily lives and often share informative posts.
Facebook has different purposes but on a personal level has also become a forum people use to put their gripes out in public and be damned. How many times do people mention Facebook on the Jeremy Kyle show? The whole world can know about your personal disagreements and unfortunately many lies are spread publicly too. Such a shame as this form of communication is frequently used to avoid a basic simple right- the opportunity to discuss. How often does a situation become exaggerated once out in public? You quickly discover that everybody has an opinion without being in possession of the facts and when a person is desperate to share their anger many people can be hurt in the process. You could say that the number of encouraging posts outweighs the cons, but I doubt it as personal attacks are often devastating. Also, positive people do not need positive posts to keep them on the right track whereas negative people need a constant outpouring of negativity to satisfy their inner woe.
In my opinion Facebook has become a very selfish site overall in most fields, especially professionally. I saw a prominent figure re-posting a general item with the aim, ‘I want a million hits on this.’ Why? What are we all supporting liking a post? I think we’re just puffing up celebrity feathers to empower someone who needs constant reassurance regarding their public profile.
Another habit I have noticed is that there are many people who only reply to comments on their own posts and do not take time to visit anyone else’s pages. Then we have the ‘I’ll scratch your back & you scratch mine’approach- never did get the point of mutual adoration societies!! Business emphasises peoples' selfish attitudes- we all have the same amount of time but some people will not use theirs to support others. Good job we aren't all like that. People do need to support one another and I have noticed that whoever makes the most noise will always attract the most attention.
Facebook is a good place to find new music, exciting events and interesting updates. The problem is that friends can easily be swallowed in the Facebook machine and you can lose people you once communicated with. Facebook has also been deleting large numbers of friends recently- I lost 25 in one day so it is definitely the system.
One alarming aspect that concerns me is the emphasis often put on race/religious relations in ways that seem determined to divide rather than unite. If you keep picking at a scab the wound can’t heal. It is good to look at the past provided it is done in a positive way whereby we learn and can move on, but again people like to be provocative. The amount of judgements resulting from such posts can make you quite angry. Yes we have different histories and individual experiences and are entitled to our opinions however the intent to incite others is not the same as instigating discussion. This leads on to the recent trend of sharing ‘shockers’ which is appalling; a bit like gawping at a traffic accident. Why do we need to witness atrocities? It gives these acts more coverage and more power allowing evil the upper hand yet so many people want to share without taking further action- a sad reflection on society. Educating people is one thing but sharing mindless violence- another; so we should have controls to censor the type of videos that appear in our news feeds and seeing that Facebook reputedly has key words for spy purposes they should be able to eliminate truly horrific videos. I have discovered that you can go to settings and stop 'automatic play.'
The main purpose of Facebook nowadays is its use as a huge commercial tool with umpteen sponsored adverts popping up in the newsfeed. It must be working for the big companies who refer you back to their pages from their own TV adverts- after all we have to be a part of everything these days! Can’t say a single one of them has inspired me to do anything or buy anything- but they must work for some so maybe I should sponsor my blog posts!!! Being cynical as to the power of Facebook, I imagine in reality you pay a drop in the ocean to reach a drop in the ocean but maybe it works. Thought- you may achieve a lot of likes on your post but how many people check out the website, Youtube video etc? I know one of my friends tried it with no positive results.
I am definitely going to think more about the way I use Facebook and how I go about surfing other people’s posts as that time could be invested more wisely. Sad, but I think if the rest of the world is self-centred it proves that you need to be in order to benefit from social sites. I have observed that if you want loads of hits on your page be as outspoken and controversial as possible- people love a good gossip and the opportunity to rant.
Well, that’s just a few opinions as I have had time to sit back and observe Facebook recently- I must say it’s good to analyse what we do and why from time to time, but overall I far prefer the old Myspace!