Posts Tagged ‘social network

04
Sep
10

Facebook, the good, the bad and the ugly profile pic!


I’ve had my Facebook page for a while now. The original purpose was genuine. Hooking up with family abroad, my students and long-lost friends was like the Holy Grail to me. But what you are not aware of is that when you drink too much from that cup things turn pretty bad.

I was pondering upon a very serious thought lately. I never had so many friends or family. How come I’m hitting records on Facebook? And mind you, I am humbled and dwarfed compared to others who end up with thousands of friends. Which pushes me to reflect on the true meaning of friendship…

After a while, I noticed that Facebook actually fulfills one paramount role, and one only: Giving you that ego boost which real friends never managed to provide. Facebook finally is our way to “ask” for attention where none is given. Our eternal quest to make valuable or meaningful statements is undermined by the number of those people willing to listen to us. Facebook is the perfect platform to accumulate “friends”, shout those statements and “make” them listen.

Honestly, why would anyone care if you’re having Cajun chicken for lunch or your “eyes are smiling but heart is crying”, or “if you have a sister and love her, post this on your profile”? And the worst of all is how we found in Facebook the ultimate podium to express how politically stupid we are by displaying our sheepish attitude.

But then again, people love it, use it and… abuse it. Millions of users, including yours truly, have turned Facebook into the largest cyber-city ever created. That’s good, until it turns ugly.

I recently witnessed a “wall” row over some stupid political topic between two “friends”. The ping-pong went on for days. Suddenly, email, telephone, face to face and decency were lost on the “wall”!

One more thing I noticed is how people want to become your friend for one reason, spying! Thank God you can put them on that limited profile thing. But why do you have to do that? Why can’t you simply ignore their friend request? I mean, in real life you would simply ignore them and make them fade away. Why can’t we do the same on Facebook?

The psychology of Facebook is an amazing web of intricacies that has been weaved by our insecurities, crave for fame and lack of self-confidence. What’s worse is the fact that even organizations and businesses are suffering from those symptoms. If a business can’t get its Facebook page right…..

And what’s with the groups thing? It started in the form of small and cute “alumni” and ended up having a group for every saint, politician, geek, nerd, jerk and sick topic you could ever imagine. You join the group because you’re too shy to say no, and that’s it! You never visit or interact. It’s like being a junk collector. Your profile ends looking more like a junkyard.

Oh, and applications and games! Amazing, if your monitor your friends, you’ll find out that most of them play games during work hours! Go ahead, check it! Productivity at its best.

I can tell now that Facebook has lost its raison-d’être. And for me, this is the first sign of decline. How interesting can it keep getting? Every hype reaches a ceiling ultimately. If I were to foretell the future, that’s what I would see:

  1. Facebook will migrate to become a big tunnel, a corridor, through which people come and people go. This will defeat the purpose of long-term online friendships. Your friends will get bored and sign-off, eventually you will too. If you don’t, you will start seeing your wall slowly degenerate into an empty space populated by random boring posts.
  2. You and your friends would have depleted all your stock of tricks, jokes, gimmicks, and bragging. You will all lose interest and Facebook will become a cemetery of wishes.
  3. more older adults, businesses and senior citizens will be the dominant users. In the U.S. currently users above 25 years old, all the way to 65 and above constitute 65% of all users. Those between 35 and 44 are 17%, and those between 45 and 54 are 12.5%.

  1. Other formats of social networking are taking over the worldwide web by storm. Twitter is becoming a favorite of interaction which is more intellectually rewarding, less cluttered, and definitely less full of junk. The concept of “following” people is by itself a different concept than accumulating friends. You actually choose who you follow based on their positive input on your intellect and positive impact on your life.
  2. You will be less interested in when your friend burps and more interested in where they are now or what they are doing instantly. Augmented reality, geotagging, locational networking such as Foursquare will become dominant because they provide instant reward and help hook you up with your friends based on both your behavior pattern.
  3. Facebook still lacks the bridge between what you’re doing right now and what you publish. Most of the time, you either publish what you intend to do or what you have already done. This time-gap will be felt as a handicap compared to other tools that publish your immediate happenings.
  4. Your iPhone (or any other smart phone) are becoming sophisticated gaming devices with in-app purchases and online scoring, etc. Facebook apps and games will slowly become redundant. Their aim to mainly generate income through advertising will be the cause of their demise. Advertisers are becoming more interested in pushing ads based on where you are and what you are doing now, and how you do it. Advertising through mobile apps eventually will be more effective.
  5. With higher bandwidth and better online-desktop integration, photo, video and music sharing, some of the core tools of Facebook will migrate to those websites that are more dedicated and can provide more effective management means (Flickr, YouTube, Ping, etc.)
  6. If you notice, Facebook is becoming more and more a business tool. I, for example publish to Facebook most of my business tweets. Many of my friends have suddenly started doing the same. This leads to many if your friends deciding to open Twitter accounts and start following you and vice versa.

Facebook will surely be here for a while. Undeniably, it has reshuffled all our pre-conceptions of social networking and has paved the way for the new era of connecting people online. The way it has impacted our cyber-lives will be the foundation for all new ways and means to interact. It took the internet years to reach 500 million users; it took Facebook just 2!

For now, please, for the sake of the collective sanity, refrain from publishing when you undergo colonoscopies, have fever or simply have been dumped by your lover. If you insist on publishing pics of you that hardly look like you, remember that most of your so-called “friends” are actually mere acquaintances.

Last but not least, recruiters are using more and more Facebook to analyze the psychology and social behavior of their potential new staff. So, if you badly need that job, don’t put on your status what you think of your current job or what how drunk you were the night before…

©2010 – Ibrahim Lahoud

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Reason To Believe by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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