Never perhaps in our time has such an impact been made by a social network called Facebook (FB). Never before has the world become so fascinated by the need to stay in touch with families and friends. I smiled when I saw Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s picture on the cover of Time magazine, naming him as the 2010 ‘Person of the Year.’ It had been a long time coming for Zuckerberg and his social network giant, which he and his Harvard roommates created. Little did they know that their creation would become one of the most popular and user-friendly social networking websites, ever.
There are literally dozens of social networking sites, such as HI-5, My Space, and even our very own Caribbean ‘I-Meet-up’ but FB has surpassed them and has caught this internet generation by storm.
FB has been designed as one of the best user-friendly social sites there ever has been. Its user- interface caters for the slowest internet connectivity and that’s what makes the site so popular. FB recorded its 500 millionth user in July of this year. No doubt the world is becoming addicted to this social network giant, and for all the right reasons. There are over 71,000 ‘Facebookers’ in Guyana, some 9% of the population, the 18-24 age range being the persons with most FB accounts. Of the 71,140, 56% are female and 44% are male.
You can find almost anyone – a long-lost friend or family member – on FB. Once these persons are found, you can add them to your list of friends on FB, and keep in touch whenever you like. You can also chat by sending messages to them in real time, as well as emails on FB. You can upload hundreds of photos which can be seen by everyone on your list of friends. You can also post information and ‘statuses,’ on which your friends can make comments.
One can keep in touch with the news, be it sports, weather, entertainment, science or health, by just adding news organizations to an FB profile. Instead of having to go to news websites, you would automatically see the news headlines appear on FB profiles. Newspapers around the world, too, make use of FB.
All sorts of organizations and even various kinds of causes establish their own FB space to spread whatever message they intend to share with the world.
Interestingly enough you cannot have more than 5,000 friends on FB. The other night I saw a post from one of our ministers in Guyana posting on his FB that he is sorry that he cannot accept any more friends after he has reached his 5000 limit. Yes, even governments and their agencies, as well as their functionaries utilize the power of Facebook.
You can protect your privacy on FB. In these times of internet pornography and hacking, you can block your contents on FB like photos and personal stuff to any person who is not on your friends list, and even to your friends. Such is the customized power of FB. What’s even better is that FB has a mobile phone version which can be as easily reached on a cell phone as it can on a personal computer.
Mark Zuckerberg certainly deserves being named ‘Person of the Year’ because he has made a significant impact on the world stage. His Facebook has placed power largely in the hands of its users and account holders. And that is what makes this social network giant tick and made it blossom into the largest social network conglomerate our world has known, surpassing the number of account holders of the other social sites this year, combined.
It was this year, too, that the movie The Social Network reaped some $184M at the box office. The movie, based on FB, tells the story of its creator Zuckerberg and the journey he took prior to and after creating FB.
As a result of such a global and even local impact, it is fitting that we remember 2010 as ‘The year of Facebook.’