Thursday, February 9, 2012


Socialising, the cyber way.
Facebook and its world

It is hard to imagine a world in which there were no Facebook friends, where you did not have a social network that constantly updated you on their status, but it was there less than a decade ago. Facebook which turned eight on Monday, is the most used social networking service worldwide. Though there are many other such sites, the two that preceded Facebook – Friendster and Myspace – still have a respectableillion,  number of users. Other challengers include Orkut and Google Plus, but Facebook is the king of the social networking world that enable millions of people to transcend their geographical limitations and connect with the world of their friends.

And yes, these friends are real persons, even if you don’t know some of them physically. With a valuation of over $1 billion, Facebook is the hottest Internet property right now, even though the company admits that it has not quite mastered a way to make money out of over 845 million users worldwide, a majority of them women.

An extension of the real world, flaws and biases included, Facebook faces many challenges as it navigates the interface of its transcontinental cyber world with the rules and demands of nation states and their people. As it celebrates its eighth birthday, Facebook has shown maturity in dealing with the pet peeves of its detractors, offensive content, addiction and privacy concerns. Human interaction is real for their users. People all over the world express themselves through them, sometimes offensively, far too often in a positive manner. Sometimes, they misuse the sites for nefarious activities. This is to be expected.

Human interaction will remain what it is, even as the way people communicate with each other changes with technology. Facebook and its sister sites have had a massive impact on our world, and even as we move from PC to mobile access, they are showing how necessary it is to remain connected with those who we care about, even if we can’t write to them or call them.

Source: Editorial in The Tribune, Jalandhar dated February 7, 2012. 

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