If Facebook were your online friend, you would have received a notification to remind you that today your friend is celebrating their 10th birthday.
Of course by Facebook standards, they would have had to tweak their birth year in order to attend their own birthday party – a tactic that many kids on the site have done to gain access before their 13th birthday. Though with most young relationships and on Facebook these days – it’s complicated.
Whether you’re an occasional visitor or someone who checks the system many times each day – one thing is clear – Facebook has become a regular part of the daily routine for many of us. In fact, according to an article on insidefacebook.com Canadians are the most active Facebook users in the world. The statistics released in August of 2013 claims that on average 61 percent of global users check Facebook at least once per day. This number climbs to 70% in the US, but Canada holds the record with 74%.
Mobile technology gets much of the credit for the increase. Allowing a generation that would check messages morning and night around work or school can now access their online interactions in real-time and post their thoughts in the form of statuses to share any thought or whim that comes along. A far cry from the days gone by where we’d post a message, and wait days for the message to be piggybacked along the network to our destination and back again in somewhat of a snail mail parade.
It really is somewhat of a double-edged sword. The same medium that allows us the convenience of posting family photos, news and happenings and sharing jokes and daily tidbits keeping us all somehow connected also provides somewhat of a personal disconnect. A birthday comes and the merry wishes roll in. Most of which you know wouldn’t have occurred had Facebook not popped up and nudged a reminder their way.
Sadly it is more common to get a quick note or “poke” via social media rather than pick up a phone. Think I’m wrong? Check out your local coffee hangout – groups of people sitting together playing with their phones. Family dinners can be the same way if someone doesn’t lay some ground rules.
I guess you know you’re reaching that certain age, when you start referring to the good old days. If someone made us angry, we’d take time to consider our options before jumping into the fire and sending off an official statement. How many issues posted in anger escalated to an uncontrollable fire because fingers flew before tempers faded? Even if you delete it right away the message has already been sent out in notifications and newsfeeds and in most cases – the damage is already done.
One might be quick to jump on the bandwagon blaming teenager angst but it would seem there is no age limit. The folks online complaining most about people having too much input and interference in their lives are normally the ones posting every burp and bowel movement for all to see. If you don’t want the input, don’t share the info, right? Are we becoming a society of people peeking in our neighbor’s virtual windows? Are we becoming too social?
We’ve all heard the warnings about what to post and not post via social media. One story comes to mind of a fellow missing out on a career opportunity because his employer viewed his Facebook page and saw pictures of drunken friends partying it up. This was not the image they wanted portrayed for their company. I cringe at some of the photos that our nation’s kids are posting and sending out into the universe for eternity. We’ve all heard the reports of cyber-bullying and cruelty via cell and social media. It has taken bullies to a whole new level.
Having said that, I am reminded of a posting from one of the local youth groups. Someone had made off with the controllers to the centre’s game system. Local media picked up on the post and shared the post, and within a few hours someone had donated a pair of brand new controllers for the centre.
We’ve seen some incredible pulling together of communities and groups via social networking for a common goal. Missing people and pets being brought home; disaster relief, public service announcements – real time news and traffic updates. I often wonder where we were before we could pick up the phone and in a few finger movements be in the know about just about anything.
I often marvel at the glazed look I get when I tell people that I began in this computer hobby back in the days of the 300 baud modem. When we got our first 14.400 modem, you might have thought that geeks everywhere had truly won the lottery. In comparison, today we’re all flying.
For better or worse, whether you love it or hate it. Facebook, it seems, is here to stay. 10 years down... I wonder where we’ll be in another 10 years.
How has Facebook and other social media impacted your life?