Facebook, the world’s number one social media network, finally went public on Friday, thereby creating hundreds of millionaires overnight and pushing Mark Zuckerberg into the elite stratosphere of wealth, power and influence.
The company is now valued at a whopping $104 billion, making it the most valuable U.S. firm to ever go public.
Without a doubt, Facebook is a staggeringly successful phenomenon that shows no signs of slowing down.
The numbers surrounding Facebook are daunting --- on a global basis, the service is approaching 1 billion users (one-seventh of humanity want to ‘friend’ each other).
Given that the penetration rates in India and China remain quite low, Facebook’s potential in the developing world is too humongous to even contemplate.
Facebook is also about domination.
The company estimates that at least 70 percent of all web users in the United States are active Facebook users. Young people are absolutely obsessed with Facebook. According to DigitalBuzzBlog, almost half of all Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 check their Facebook accounts right after they wake up.
Indeed, Facebook may have taken over the world.
But, I see little or no real value in Facebook.
Full disclosure: I have a Facebook account (which was established at the insistence of some friends), but I got bored with it after about three days and I rarely ever log onto the account anymore.
If I want to stay in contact with old friends, there are a myriad other ways of doing so (like the writing e-mails or even using the phone to speak to an actual live human being).
I understand that Facebook provides for the utility of uniting many friends and acquaintances under one banner – but I think this comes at the price of privacy and even in some cases decency.
Facebook is an utter waste of time and has no redeeming values that I can discern, More disturbingly, it has become a showcase for vulgar narcissism and voyeurism.
If one wants to keep a photo album to document their lives, why display it to the vast public? Is this not a kind of “exhibitionism”?
(Yes, I know Facebook has certain security measures to prevent unwanted strangers from peeking into private accounts, but if hackers can invade the websites of large governments and major corporations, they can also – if they wish – hack into your Aunt Betsy’s Facebook account as well.).
In this current age of “reality TV” (where everyone and anyone can become a “celebrity” overnight), people are using Facebook to promote themselves like they are “stars.”
Thus, there are about 1-billion “celebrities” in the world now (with many more on the way).
Zuckerberg may be a brilliant computer programmer (or whatever the correct term is), but he has not actually “created” nor “invented” anything. He simply took an existing platform and developed a way to exploit it (and he has been immensely successful).
He may, in fact, have permanently damaged the “quality” of human communication and interaction with Facebook. It is a banal and pointless waste of technology.
People, especially the young, spend far too much time on the internet and Smartphones and what-not as it is (much as my generation spent too much time watching television), at the expense of fresh air, exercise and direct social interaction with other human beings.
Facebook (like the internet as whole) is deepening our mutual alienation and I don’t see how that can possibly have any beneficial effects on humanity.
Please, shut off your Facebook account once in a while and go outside for a walk in the park, or a chat with a neighbor, or a stroll across town… that is, do the nice, normal, uplifting things we used to do before the internet and mobile communications seized control of our lives.
To contact the editor, e-mail: