A World Without Facebook: The Good and the Bad

Can you imagine a world without Facebook now that you’re already living a world with one? I can’t, and I don’t want to. I’m sure a gazillion others will agree with me. It has become so tightly integrated with our lives that it’s now part of who we are. In fact, we sometimes prefer to log in to Facebook to chat with friends and stalk people than do what is necessary (based on experience). I won’t say I’m addicted to it, I just happen to prefer Facebook-ing than doing other stuff.

Facebook’s growth is dramatic. It currently has 600 million users, more than the population of Russia, North America, internet users in Europe, and the world back in 1600 AD. It generates 770 billion views per month, and 90 pieces of content per user per month on average.  The majority of Facebook users are those from ages 18-44 with an average number of friends at 130. The majority of Facebook users are from the US, followed by Indonesia, then the UK. Gone are the days when you will have to personally tell your friends of an awesome party you’ve gone to, or email them of the pictures from your vacation, or invite them to your party via mail –as you can now do them all in a few clicks via Facebook.

Not only is it part of us as individual people, it’s also an effective marketing medium for businesses, big and small. A report from Constant Contact reveals that there was an 80 percent increase in social media marketing in the past year, and that 73 percent of businesses use social media for their business. Of this demographic, 95 percent uses Facebook, and 82 percent of them is convinced of its efficacy.

Facebook shrinks the world into the palm of our hands. However, nothing is without a price. It is trending in this day and age, which also the reason why it is plagued by so many issues. The biggest topic concerns privacy, so big that it became necessary for two State senators Alan Lowenthal and Ellen Corett to pass ‘do not track’ bills, and letting people opt of whether or not to share their online data. The bills target Facebook and Google, crippling some of their powerful marketing capabilities, eventually making the two giants allies in battling it. Moreover, if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will have his way, he would love to have kids under 13 years old to be using his site, not that there isn’t any from this demographic lurking on the network. From Time.com:

“In fact CR found that over 5 million of Facebook’s 7.5 million-plus underage were as young as “10 and under.” … That’s not the worst of it. CR also found that underage kids using Facebook were unsupervised by parents. The site claims — not wrongly — that this exposes them to “malware or serious threats such as predators or bullies.”

Apart from Facebook as a company, users are also partly liable for the amount of information they have up on the web. Research shows that teens and adults are actually similar in reasoning when they share information on the social network. They are driven by popularity.

“The thing about Facebook is that popularity is linked to disclosure,” says co-author Amy Muise, a social psychology researcher at the University of Guelph. “In order to get more friends to connect with you, you have to share information: post pictures, tell people what you’re up to, comment on other people’s things.”

Research also shows that 47 percent of the users’ wall have a post from friends containing profanity, highlighting more of how users are in-charge of their account.