In May I finally took the momentous decision of waving goodbye to #Facebook and all my 3000+ friends and acquaintances goodbye.
Where some relish the challenge of being the most popular person on Facebook, or being the person with the most friends. Others enjoy the simpler aspects attached with Facebook, like chatting and regularly updating their statuses.
With over two billion people now actively logging on to Facebook every month, it has without a doubt become the most popular social media website in recent times.
The ever changing face of Facebook and attractive nature of their services and games has ensured it doesn’t become another #Myspace or #hi5 ‘rags to riches’ and then back to rags story.
Not only has Facebook become the leader in communications and games but has set a new benchmark in security services. Facebook serves as a great tool for people who wish to stay in touch with one another and also serves as a great source for businesses, brands, entrepreneurs, political hopefuls, and many more.
I have to admit Facebook is extremely addictive and holds a lot of importance in many areas of our work and lives. But is so much dependence on Facebook good?
I’m setting myself a challenge to see and prove that brands and businesses or business leaders for that matter can still be successful without owning a Facebook profile.
Now, before I do set myself this challenge, let me just clarify that Facebook ‘Pages’ serve a different purpose to Facebook ‘Profiles’. And personally I’m all in favour of the ‘Page’ resource that Facebook has created for businesses and individuals to highlight their services and good work.
I believe some aspects of Facebook are very useful and can be very good for facilitating brand awareness or used for public relations. However there are certain elements which are very controversial, like ensuring your privacy and personal information are kept private.
The foremost top two reasons for people abandoning any social media website are mostly over privacy and sharing of personal information concerns, followed by concerns over consumption of time, boredom or then any other related reasons.
In one of my previous blog posts I shared how I suffered from easily becoming distracted by the attractions of social media. Ironically enough Facebook wasn’t one of those distractions, but it’s increasing powers of capturing peoples personal data, viewing their personal internet habbits and possible hidden monitoring of their personal photos and documents, was to say the least a scary notion to comprehend.
It’s a frightening thought to think that some social media sites are able to view practically everything that you would normally try to hide or keep private from the general public. So, is a few hours on a social media website really worth compromising your personal details over? And to what extent are our personal information being hacked, used, viewed, shared or sold?
We’re often told that the extra measures of security (which usually just means granting them further permission to divulge into your private lives), are for our own safety. This element of hacking by companies is effectively against our civil rights.
There are also many other reasons for which I strongly believe that Facebook is not appropriate, especially for younger audiences. It is a fact that young children have been openly targeted by individuals who use such social media websites to make contact with them. Young girls in particular are targeted by individuals and criminal gangs who prey on innocent young minds.
Furhermore evidence has shown that Facebook has actively been used by certain groups to radicalise young teens.
Many people own more than one Facebook profile which often leads to many fake profiles coming into existence. Since there is no way of setting in place active measures which can stop the creation of duplicate, fake or aliases making profiles. The inability to judge or determine whether the person on the other end is genuine and are also in fact who they say they are, is a huge cause for concern when young children are involved.
Personally I think Facebook is no longer a ‘safe’ environment for many age categories, but not least for those who are actually young and are definitely at risk from predators, radical groups and criminals alike. There are only two solutions to this, either introduce age restrictions or set up a two-tier social networking site. One which is child friendly and another which is adult orientated. This system would allow social networking sites to monitor the material which flows between the two separate sites and place restrictions for those using the youth based ‘child friendly’ site.
Social media companies could set in place certain controls and measures which with time these controls could slowly be lifted each year as the child grows up, eventually submerging the child site automatically into the adult version upon their 18th birthday or possibly even later should their parents or legal guardians wish to alter it.
Inevitably running a social media website similar to Facebook and trying to keep abreast of everything within your site when you have over two billion users monthly must be a very difficult task. But it’s still not too late to introduce reforms and ensure the safety of certain vulnerable age groups.