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Archive for February, 2012

Facebook…two short words awkwardly stuck together that have come to be part of millions of people’s daily routine. And now Facebook has been valued at close to $100 billion! If you quickly think about what the substance of Facebook consists of, you can hardly help getting spooked. As the media has been alerting us over the past few days, investors will be paying top dollar for OUR private information. A title from The Economist read – Floating Facebook: The Value of Friendship.

And they’re not wrong. In the past few years I’ve seen a kind of transformation on Facebook. It started with likes…you could like pages of products or personalities you used or admired. Then we saw more and more businesses having a Facebook presence, and now it’s almost a sin to not be on if you want to get your ‘word’ out there. Being a final year university student, I was surprised to find that most graduate employment schemes have a Facebook presence! My amazement was quickly replaced by the ‘of course they do’ epiphany. So why is this all happening?

It seems that in this day and age, Facebook is the quickest and most effective way of reaching your target audience. Every once in a while I read something outrageous about how much private information Facebook has about me and how they use it. And I get angry. But then it passes and the next time I log on it’s all forgotten. The alarm bells are there…we know we’re being fed targeted advertising, we know that every interaction on the website reveals a little more about ourselves…yet we stay.

As attractive as conspiracy theories are, I am not convinced that the colossal networking site was devised by the CIA to covertly and cheaply collect people’s private information. Although if they had been trying to create something like that, would they have been able to think of something quite as simple and as incredibly effective as Facebook? Probably not!

The attraction of Facebook is also obvious. Having moved around a lot and having left behind many friends, the website has been an invaluable way of keeping in touch. Email works too. But with Facebook you not only get to find out what your friends are up to but you also get to SEE what they’re doing, what news articles they’re reading and sharing, and who their friends are. And it’s not entirely a bad thing.

I think that as with food and dieting, moderation is the key to Facebook happiness. Be careful with the kind of information you put on there, and be as private as possible.

Another interesting Economist article on the Facebook IPO: http://www.economist.com/node/21546012

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