I have recently come to a terrifying conclusion and I believe I’m not alone on this one! It’s always been there but no one seems to think about it anymore as its part of our daily routine. It strips you down of creativity and energy, it takes up precious time and plays an important, however pathetic part in our social lives. Facebook O_o

We waste so much time on this social website just to check on updates and news. News?? What news? You call someone going to sleep news? I would like to strongly disagree and point out the true nature of news. News is something that affects the life of more than just one or two individuals. How many times has Facebook been the first webpage opened when you get into the reach of a computer? Anxiously going to the so called “news feed” section to find out all kinds of nonsense.

The matter gets worse. How many of the people that buy iPhones actually use them at their full potential? Maybe 10% or less. If I use the students in my university as a case study, then more than 90% use these types of smartphones for Facebook. The particular issue here is not that they waste a significant amount of time “chatting” to someone in the same room with them or someone they just said bye to 5 minutes ago but the amount of pounds they feed the communication companies by subscribing to their so called “deals”. Let us take this argument a notch further. A normal phone without the advanced internet browsing specs and with a normal package chosen (including a sensible number of available texts + a satisfying number of calling minutes with a somewhat realistic internet monthly allowance) would reach somewhere around 20 pounds a month. Now let’s have a look at a package including the iPhone. The iPhone with a similar package would be somewhere around 35 pounds a month. Don’t see much of a difference? Let’s see the difference after an 18 month period. The 20 pound monthly subscription reaches 360 pounds whereas the iPhone reaches 630. That is a difference of 270 pounds which were spent just so you can be the first to know that Jenny started her diet and is now dying from the inside.

Facebook started with an interesting idea of connecting people after parties or random social events and sharing interests and hobbies with others. However, it started to replace a significant part of our social lives and feeds us everything we need to know. What happened to asking someone what they like to do and so forth? I’m studying marketing and the business environment and I can analyze Facebook a step further than the average user.  Facebook has grown to be something way bigger than just a social website. It’s a globalization and marketing tool. You may not see this at first but I can assure you it is. The above example with the mobile phones and the urge to check every 10 seconds what’s new is part of this “movement”. Have you ever noticed the little ads on the right hand side of the Facebook page? They always relate to you and are aimed at you. How they do this? Simple. They create search engines or teams of “bored” people. Companies go to Facebook with an ad or message and want it aimed at a certain market segment. A market segment is a group of potential customers with certain similar buying characteristics or just personal preferences. All the information about you is searched and stacked with others and when needed its categorized so that it fits the requirements of ads. I must say it freaks me out when I read an ad and I get the feeling it knows everything about me. You can also look at Facebook as a massive data base if you were a company. It sometimes provides valuable marketing research to companies. This may sound a bit unreal to be true, but a discussion on Facebook about a certain product can provide useful information to a company in relation to customer opinions. Lately, companies and artists started using Facebook as well. I don’t want to break it to you, but they are not getting accounts because they love you or care about you or even want to chat to you. It is because it’s free and effective advertising. “Check out my new song on iTunes”. In other words, go and buy my song and make me filthy rich. That is the true reality. Furthermore, I seriously doubt the fact that the actual artist even uses that account. It probably is some smart associate working in the marketing department using psychological language. Facebook provides a huge marketing opportunity with large customer potential.

Lately they introduced those so called Zynga games. These little flash games provide a nice “gaming” experience during a major lack of creativity. You might wonder what’s in it for them? Well, you get these intense gamers who like to be ahead of everyone and lose track of reality followed by the purchase of the in-game money used to buy various things in the game. That’s the main reason of Zynga’s existence.

I mentioned the globalization concept earlier. Globalization is the ever increase in global market uniformization or put in a more simple way, the tastes, demands and preferences of global customers are starting to perfectly coincide and firms take advance of this by using the same advertising campaigns and marketing messages with slight cultural and religious variations. In my opinion, Facebook helps this process and at the same time takes advantage as well. Cultural values and diversity is maintained by belief and sometimes by not knowing of certain things. Well, Facebook just shouts out loud everything there is to know in a globalized society. Pepsi or Cola? McDonalds or KFC? And so on. And If you don’t know this or that then your boring and lame. In order to avoid that some people go against their beliefs and their stripped of their cultural values leading to Globalization. Is it ethic and socially responsible? Depends which side you view it from. If you’re the individual and you give it a slight thought you might say it’s not at all ethic. However, if you’re Facebook or some other multimillion dollar company as long as it doesn’t lower your figures (profit) then you are just fine.

I’d say Facebook itself is a trend and it creates a pattern of uniformity within social groups. This trend is that question at the end of a discussion with someone you just met about their Facebook name. Furthermore, if Facebook is absent, this can sometimes cause a problem or a halt in the natural development of a relation. Imagine having a discussion with someone and then having an issue with keeping the connection between the individuals. We have to admit, nowadays Facebook is the natural connection between groups of individuals and is a bit more entertaining than a simple phone number. I wonder what our parents and their parents did before Facebook ever existed?? Interesting.

Facebook can prove itself useful for keeping a record of events and guests and other scheduled tasks you might have. In my case the events section makes football training sessions so much easier to follow and to disseminate.  I also find Facebook useful when I need to find out something regarding university work or other social events. My ISP seems to use some sort of filters which renders Yahoo M useless and Skype working at the slowest ever pace. Sending a message took me 5 hours yesterday and is as boring to use as watching paint dry. You might think it’s my broadband speed. Well, it’s not! I can assure you that. Returning to the point at hand. Facebook Chat can prove itself useful sometimes. However, they still need to work on fixing the bugs affecting the functionality of the service.

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