Without Facebook, we can assume that the take up of social media would not have been as instant as what we’ve seen. Some may call this a blessing, others a curse on humanity. But indisputably, Facebook has changed the way we communicate for good.
Ten years ago this week, Facebook was launched on the domain ‘thefacebook.com’ – Mark Zuckerberg and close University friends slowly changed western socialisation into a mass brawl of posts, shares and likes. Facebook currently has over 1.2 billion active users, something, with the average user racking up over 634 friends (I don’t even have 634 friends)!
I’ve been a member of Facebook since the 28th February 2010. Not long in the scheme of things – but at the time, it was an exciting move into the world of social networking. Connecting with friends and wasting endless hours on games such as FarmVille. Up until 2010, I’d been satisfied by the offerings of Windows Live Messenger (back in the day) and had even got to grips with the wonders of email attachments.
I was young.
Throughout my early days on the internet and fiddling with computers, their uses for communication had always intrigued me. Email had blown my mind away! I didn’t have to wait to use the telephone, I could contact friends abroad without bankrupting my mobile phone and it was fun. Email isn’t anything new, in fact its quite old in comparison. The first emails were sent in the 60s, way before my time.
Now it seems the world has moved away from email, leaving the corporations and industry the final users of a dying technology. Unlike my friends, it seems I bunked the trend of dropping all other forms of communication after I joined the world of Facebook.
‘Drop the mobile! Drop the texts! Forget real telephone calls! And what’s a letter?’
I wouldn’t say that I was immune to Facebook’s trance. I still posted odd updates, photos from trips. But most of the time it was an email to grandparents or friends. Even still today, I’d send an email instead of posting on a timeline or liking a status to convey a message.
Most of the time I’d be shot down when it comes to chatting to friends. Ridiculed for sending an email:
“#OMG #OLDFASHIONED #OLD He still uses email! (Down turn smiley face)”
Not in a malicious way, but a ‘hey get yourself on Facebook way’. Facebook isn’t all bad, in fact I use it to check on social occasions and I can see its benefits as a media sharer.
But for me, the problem lies within the nature of social networks. They’re instant, they’re public and they’re down right annoying. Because:
1) If I want to contact a friend, it’s open for the entire population (of their friends list) to see. It’s out in the open. Unlike an email, it isn’t as direct and can sometimes be contorted or misinterpreted by the wrong people, for whom the message wasn’t intended.
2) If I’m sent a message on Facebook or a post, it’s assumed that I’ve instantly read it, an am ready to reply. With mobile phones now bearing the majority of internet traffic, we can’t really escape a Facebook notification. What doesn’t help is that Facebook even tells the sender if you’ve read their message. So much for ‘in your own time’. You can feel pressured to answer back instantly, or face the wrath of an angry friend demanding your diary schedule for next Friday night, when you’re trying to finish the evening newspaper.
3) If I had a penny for every time Facebook caused an argument/fight/dispute/conflict/strife/tension/tiff (you get the idea) between users; I’d be a
millionaire billionaire. In reality, you might not go up to your best friend, tell them they’re a F***ing W****r, then circulate an image of them in rather little clothes on to spite them. But Facebook and social networks offer this immense power and publicity, which for many, is overwhelming. It’s the emotions of the moment, which boil over; and with 634+ friends, cause a lot of trouble later.
So, hey, call me old-fashioned. Call me old-school. Whatever. Look, I’m even writing this post on an eMac from 2004 (ironic), but I’ll keep to email as my main form of communication. Facebook will still have a place in my life, but it I’ll be sure it doesn’t take over. I might be the last of a breed who enjoy email, but I’ll ride the wave a little longer…
How about you? Have you kept up the tradition of email? Have you moved entirely to social networks?
P.S If you’re going to use email, check it regularly; otherwise you might miss some important messages…