Social networking sites. Like it or hate it – once you’re on it……YOUR HOOKED!! Whether you’re on myspace, twitter,digg, friendster or facebook (the latter of which i’m on…and I’ll be making the most references to it on this blog) you cant help yourself from just logging on for a few minutes to check on whats going on with fellow social networkers.
Kudos to the ones who started these sites. Never has it been easier to track old friends, classmates, former flings etc. Fb has risen above phone calls, emails and even sms’. You can either wall message, comment on their status or send them a message through the fb mailing system or even just poke them to know that you’re thinking about them and theres even a birthday reminder. The status updates – it ranges from the boring “I am so sleepy today” to the more exciting “there a 75% sale tonight at the XYZ Mall” to the plain bizarre “I am wearing metal underwear so that aliens cant take away my vital organs”. And if ever you forget to carry a camera to an event – no problem- chances are that there are atleast 10 other facebookers at the same shin-dig that will post those pics on their album and tag you. Bottom line is Fb is entertaining and it certainly gives you a sense of belonging to one big happy online family.
The corporate world recognizes its significance too – nowadays new products, events etc are all marketed using either or even both twitter and facebook. Facebook is so popular in the West, HR firms use it to make background checks on prospective employees (hmm..best not to upload those drunken pics when you are on the job trail…) and blackberry devices and iphones both have softwares that are facebook friendly (proving yet again that information is just a click away). The celeb world have taken up this trend too, fans love to keep up with their fav. stars online and media keeps a constant watch on status updates on twitter/fb accounts to find out more about superstars.
Ofcourse as is the case of all things popular – Fb has got its share of controversy, the privacy issue is one that is under constant strutiny. But theres also the rise of the facebook junkies. While its a great tool to keep in touch with friends, its so easy now for fb to become your best friend. Hours can pass by with random browsing and suddenly you can find yourself going thru a friends aunty’s sisters-in-laws son’s wedding photo album (stalker much?). Facebookers complain bitterly on the constant changes of looks and features in order to “better its performance” but yet it doesnt stop them from using it. And then there are those online facebook games… them horrid, annoying games (although i think if i ever played those games i would be one to be on it all the time!). There’s Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cafe world, Playfish, Texas Holdem Poker and the list goes on. Farmville alone has over 75.2 million active users and over 18.1 million fans in January 2010 and its users constantly posting messages of wanting more chicken, or cowdung or something in order to keep their farm going! And we cant forget about those online quizzes, horoscopes and gifts that are constantly posted on walls.( I recently got a bucket of KFC posted on my wall – huh? ). People now get the shakes if they havent done their daily hourly log on.
While its great to know whats happening in your friends circle – sometimes the info thats put into the status bar can just be TMI or even offensive. Theres even a spin-off website www.lamebook.com where they make fun of such status updates (really, some info is just best off being private!)
Ofcourse, its all harmless fun to some – but when your facebook usage border lines obsession – then i guess its time to call for a time out!