Launched in February 2004, Facebook, today has over 1 billion active users; that is about 3 times the population of the United States! Even after 8 years, its popularity is still very much on the rise, and it has definitely passed the stage where it can be shrugged off as mass hysteria.
The site has constantly adapted, and even reinvented itself in many ways according to the needs, and often the greed of its users. Such has been its impact that people would much rather communicate with each other on Facebook than through emails, or at times even meeting in person! Here are some things that make it such a hit among people across all age groups and social backgrounds.
- Registering on the site is an extremely smooth process.
- You would feel right at home with the uncluttered UI of the site.
- It transcends all physical boundaries, and lets you connect with long-lost friends and distant family.
- If you choose to do so, you could share your thoughts and even post photographs of events in your daily life.
- The site offers you the freedom to choose whom you would like to share your 'updates' with.
- You can stay updated with all the current affairs of the world.
- You can be well informed about what goes on in the lives of the people who are close to you, but are separated by physical boundaries.
- You can interact with people with similar thoughts and ideas across the globe. You can even choose to be a part of groups with people who have a common cause or concern, or merely just a similar interest.
- The site provides you with a virtual time-line of your life through your Facebook updates over the years.
- The site gives you an opportunity to express yourself, and be heard.
- Facebook also serves as an excellent platform to message and even video chat with your friends.
- The many online games that are a part of the website, let you unwind and even promote social interaction with their many multiplayer functions.
- You can watch and share your favorite videos and photographs.
- You can 'promote' your product or even your updates if you choose to do so with other users. You can even choose your target audience, based on their interests, genders, age, geographic region, and even the kind of device they use to log on to the site.
- You can even organize events, and gather people for them rather effortlessly with the events application on FB.
- While this may sound like stating the obvious, the biggest pro for Facebook is the fact that it offers all these features for free (apart from the apps on sale at the FB Marketplace).
- Although a lot has been done to improve the site's security, it still has a lot of loopholes. Privacy is a major concern for most Facebook users, and you need to take care to see who you share your social feeds with.
- You can be bombarded with updates about things that don't really interest you or are of your concern; these could be updates about your acquaintances or even about the pages that people in your friends list may randomly like.
- Often there seems to be very little that separates your personal life from your social life.
- The freedom of expression on 'FB' is often misused and many a time abused by people who seem to be virtually living on the site.
- There is always the possibility of identity theft on the site.
- There are loads of fake and bogus accounts on the site, with people looking to steal your personal information.
- The games and the site itself can be very addictive.
- In spite of the many security settings in place, your images can still be misused.
- There have also been several instances of online stalkers.
- You might often need to be the witness to unnecessary dramatization of even the pettiest of things in people's lives.
- The frequent updates, although meant to improve the overall user experience, also means that you need to update your security settings often to keep up with the changes.
- Of late there has been a rise in the number of commercial adverts on the website, which can be quite annoying, and hampers the overall user experience.
Having said all this, I would still state that Facebook undoubtedly is a fantastic invention, which has brought the world closer together. At the same time though, we've never been further apart from each other. At the end of the day, let us remember that it is our lives that govern our interests and not the other way round.