Where would be without Facebook? No, really – this is a serious question I’m asking. I’m not referring to you and me, “ordinary” users of the social networking site. I of course refer instead to journalists and bloggers. (Alright, so the last grouping does include me, but whatever.)
What we’d be left with would be masses and masses of blank pages in newspapers, magazines and online. For everyone angle of Facebook and its uses and problems, pros and cons has been covered to death in the past year or so. First there were all the articles about the the rise in popularity of the site, and the amount of working hours lost to it. Then, there was the whole “stalker-type” issue, whereby current or potential employers, partners (who could also be current and potential, I assume), exes and others could all be looking at your profile RIGHT NOW and finding out all sorts of embarrassing details or photos. (Not that you’d be the one looking up exes on Facebook, oh no.)
Thirdly, and onto more serious issues: the data privacy question, and the possibility that sensitive information could be found out about Facebook users by all sorts of undesirables who are no doubt hacking into your bank accounts and draining it RIGHT THIS INSTANT.
And now, finally, the apparent “death” of Facebook, brought on by news that usage of the site is down by 5% between this past December and January. Cue lots more articles detailing why people don’t like it anymore, why they’ve been turned off it, and the bad experiences they’ve had with it.
Facebook isn’t going to die, and it will still get plenty of use. It’s a compact way of keeping in touch and sharing information with friends – whether news, photos, invites or whatever. Social networking websites have sprung up all over the place in the past few years, and there’s something for everyone…well, pretty much. In broad terms, there’s MySpace for the music, Bebo for the kids, LinkedIn for business, to name but a few. It’s just a case that online users will settle down to use that one (or two) that they feel is most appropriate for them.
Two things probably will happen though. Firstly, the days of users logging into Facebook every 15 minutes or so to check the latest from their friends are surely behind us – after all, the initial attraction and excitement over the site has gone. Secondly, all these hysterical articles in the press and online will become less frequent. Well, let’s hope so in any case.
I guess on that note, I should really make this post my first and last on the subject.