The Power of Social Networking

We are all guilty of spending hours upon hours scrolling through Facebook, reading endless updated statuses and nosing around new uploaded photographs but have you ever taken a second to think ‘hang on’ how many people in the world are currently logged into Facebook right this second? How many people are doing exactly the same thing as me? The answer is staggering.

Facebook was launched in 2004 everyone who’s watched ‘The Social Network’ knows the outstanding story of Facebook and how it came about. Cast your minds back to Myspace, Facebook’s predecessor. I loved my Myspace account everyday I would change my background and ‘profile song’ as did all my friends. Online communities have always existed but Myspace took it to a new level with the younger generation, it allowed us to have an internet presence and leave a little stamp on the world wide web. Suddenly anyone in the world had access to you, obviously depending on your privacy settings but nevertheless you were now the internets property.

Although Facebook has a completely different format, it has arguably evolved from Myspace as it was proved that having your own personal profile was a strong basis for a successful social site. I think the reason why Facebook has become such a phenomena is because it gives the everyday person a voice, you can share what you consider vital information with your Facebook friends at the click of a button and it is ridiculously easy!

The real issue I’m getting at here is are we really using Facebook the right way? Are we getting the most out of it? An example to Facebook being used for the greater good is the ‘KONY 2012’ Video that was posted by the ‘Invisible Children’ group headed up by Jason Russell who created the anti Joseph Kony video exposing a war lord and his crimes against humanity and his use of child soldiers. I am aware that some people have their reservations about this video that was created and some have accused it of being a ‘scam’ but no matter whether it is or is isn’t this video still was shared around the world and made people aware of what was happening, opened peoples eyes to what was happening in the world who would of ordinarily had no idea. The younger generation do not always read newspapers or watch the news. I know this for a fact because I did a Journalism degree and I can say that I am guilty of not keeping up to date with the news, but I know that I regularly check Facebook and if there was something important circulating on Facebook I ashamed to admit theres a much bigger chance of me seeing it on there rather than the evening news.

Facebook is a tool, and I’ve noticed more and more that businesses have started to use Facebook and other social networking sites to promote themselves which is most defiantly the way forward. I don’t want to solely focus on Facebook because as we are all well aware there are several more sites that deserve a mention the front runner being Twitter.

I have only started using Twitter relatively recently and I’ve got to admit I’ve defiantly caught the ‘Twitterbug’ it is a refreshing change from Facebook. Facebook is full of details, where you live, when your birthday is, what you ‘like’ and endless tagged photos. Twitter is the exact opposite, its minimal and compact. I like to liken Twitter to someone standing in a room shouting random outbursts about how they feel, where they are or what they are doing. ‘Your life in 140 characters’ – I like that, short and sweet. Enough to interest people and allow them to share fun things with you, but you’re not allowing people to see straight into your life like Facebook does, Facebook acts as a virtual porthole.

So next time you go on Facebook, take a second to think about how many people in the world might be logging on doing exactly the same as you and consider the power you hold when you update a status or share a photo or video


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