By Umika Sharma:
Facebook today, is one of the most important things in an urban youth’s life. Originally made for students, it has now become part of our parents and even our grandparents’ lives. The transition from a platform connecting people to a platform for brand-building and online advocacy, Facebook is slowly sneaking into every aspect of our social setup. News on Facebook spreads like wildfire. It is especially beneficial for social media because it helps create public awareness. The Anna Hazare Anti-Corruption Campaign and the subsequent turnout, which was huge, have their roots on Facebook. It was on Facebook that such massive support could be garnered for the cause.
Also, Facebook serves as a perfect business opportunity for businesses- be it a huge, well-established brand or a small business. Eighty-nine percent agencies say that they will use Facebook to advertise to their clients. It’s not just the businesses cashing on this phenomenon, even consumers are benefiting. Fifty percent people follow brands on social media and thirty six percent of social media users post brand related content.
Not just brand promotions, there are companies dependent on Facebook for their survival and success. Take for instance, Zynga, the online gaming portal and developer of games like Farmville and Cityville. It was Facebook which was responsible for their raging success. Maybe these games would have been limited to a smaller audience if itÂ weren’tÂ for Facebook. Then there are also companies whose stock prices have shot up because of their popularity on this social media platform.
Apart from the business point of view, there are a host of social benefits of Facebook as well. The aforementioned online games also encourage people to help each other and show empathy. Let me explain: In games like Farmville, one needs the help of other users to expand their virtual farms. Such games have, in a sense, helped people form interpersonal relationships with one another. Then there is also this boost provided to one’s self-esteem. The more the number of likes on a person’s photo and status or the more the number of shares, the happier and satisfied they happen to be. Another aspect here can be of social approval. Your friends liking your posts, certainly serves as an encouragement.
Even employers use Facebook to hire potential employees. A glance through a prospective employee’s profile might reveal more than an IQ or personality test can actually reveal.
But then there is a flipside to every coin. Facebook also sort of promotes narcissism because here people are totally obsessed with promoting themselves and their views. Sometimes all this might result in annoying other people. Also there is the scope of young adults indulging in dubious activities through the use of Facebook. Another thing here is the omnipresent likes war. The mad race to gather likes. There are also people who suffer from what I call the Hyper Personal Disclosures Syndrome where they reveal too much about themselves which they otherwise would never share in real life.
At the end of the day, Facebook is an entire universe in itself. It is not objective but rather subjective. You can run away from Facebook but you can never hide.