We live in an era where not having a facebook page or a twitter account or any other type of social network account can make your life harder than ever. The flow of information has never been higher, more diverse or more accessible to almost everyone. While this is a positive thing, I also think that there are some downsides to it that can prove to be quite worrying.
I only own a facebook page, although my friend keeps telling me to make a twitter account as well. It is very tempting, I will admit, but when I see how much of an important part of my life facebook has become, I feel like having a twitter account would only take away more of my time. But I will probably cave… as it has happened with facebook. At the beginnig, as embarassing as it may be, I used facebook only to play different games. It wasn’t until after some time that I actually realised all the benefits that this social network could bring. Not only could I see what my friends were up to, but I could also receive a constant flow of news from different newspapers, televisions or celebrities. Quite quickly I became more and more attached to it and ever since I came to the UK, it has proved to be my main tool of communication with friends from back home but also with the friends that I made here.
Because it is my personal facebook page, I try to friend people that I actually know. In terms of other facebook pages, I find really helpful to “like” certain pages that have useful information and provide my news feed with important and relevant information. I can read newspapers from Romania, from the UK, from France or from Spain, they are all a click away.
The dangers in terms of personal facebook pages are, in my opinion, first of all the fact that it tends to make us sell ourselves. We only upload the best pictures so we can get more “likes” and it all becomes a sort of a popularity contest. I’ve recently read a study which said that facebook can make us depressed, because people usually upload pictures depicting them being cheerful. Of course people like to smile for the camera, but when you see pictures of your friends smiling it leads you to believe that they are happier than you are and consequently that they have a better life than you do. Which is absolutely misleading and even dangerous for people that are already struggling. On the contrary, people that spent less time on the virtual social network were less likely to believe that they are unhappy.
On the other hand, social networking has several advantages, especially marketing-wise. It is time and money consuming, and it allows basically anyone to promote himself. Because me and one of my friend are setting up a website with film news, we are surely going to use facebook a lot as a promotion tool and most probably I will also get a twitter account by the time the website is ready to help promoting it. I think this will allow us to make it more popular and ultimately turning it into a brand.
The dangers of centralised social networks is that it gives too much power to only a handful people who have access to several of your personal details, pereferences, making you again only a number in a statistic, just a consumer profile, as it always happens when the interests of the few lead the interests of the many.