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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nothing wrong there, Keep Calm and Facebook it



In my previous blog, which I coincidentally wrote for an actual Karachi based magazine, I made the point that we live in an age and era of social media, or alternatively we could be called the social media generation. I made that point based on the reality all around us that there are hundreds of millions of social media users all over the globe include millions in Pakistan. With the advance of smart phones, the use of social media on the go has been facilitated and more and more people across the globe are proactively using social media as a tool of communication, before one criticizes social media, let us not forget the power of social media. It has helped small businesses flourish, it has brought major breaking news stories to public attention and has also played a role in start revolutions of some magnitude or the other. Social media is a reality we can not ignore, the easier we embrace it as a part of every day life including the life of others, the smoother life for many of us would be.

However there is no shortage of those that like to criticize and attack the active users of social media, especially the world's leading social media platform Facebook. Recently yet another blog surfaced on Express Tribune, a well known English Language publication based in Karachi, where the writer is going about bashing people who are active users. The writers motives could be non sinister, lets give him the benefit of the doubt, he might be having a bad day or is just genuinely annoyed by people being so active. The active Facebook users make regular use of features such as Status Updates, Check In's (based on location services) and sharing of photographs. Let's face it, Facebook is a great way of sharing your photographs, whether their day to day photographs or from a holiday or an important occasion in one's life such as their wedding, while status updates provide a quick expression of sorts similar to a tweet on Twitter. The writer was particularly critical of people who actively use these Facebook tools to share their lives with others.



I would say so what if some if not all are active Facebook users and like sharing their life with people in the virtual world. Those critical of active users like to make assumptions that such active users are attention seekers or have too much free time on their hands or have nothing better to do, if others are sharing there no should be reason for any one to have a problem with it, after all people who are being critical of those sharing might not be their target audience, the target audience might be different and what is to say the critic might not be engaged in such active sharing behavior on social media in the future. For example, a foreign graduate now living back in his or her native Pakistan might have a huge lot of close friends abroad who could not make it to their wedding, so Facebook provides an idea platform for sharing photos from memorable and important moments in life. Even if photos are not off an important moment in life, they provide means by which people across long distances keep in touch with friends and keep each other updated with whats happening in each other's lives.

 As an individual myself I have benefited a great deal due to the advent of Facebook, without it I would not have been able to re connect with childhood friends or keep in touch and maintain strong relationships with friends across great distances and time zones. Let's not forget how important information is shared with regards to developments, news and events through Facebook. If it was not for Facebook, a lot that is now possible in social activism would not be possible, yes there are some crazy users out there, but it is not for either of us to judge others, those judging active social media users, very conveniently manage to forget how would they feel if some one started judging them over the smallest of things and form opinions about them. Do not judge the person who uploads thousands of pics or updates their status through out the day or checks in where ever they head, if you do not like doing that, refrain from it but do not be judgmental and hold it against others that do. For the active users if f your secretly tempted to click that Facebook icon on your smart phone even as you read this, go right ahead do not worry about what people think.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow! Firstly, thank you for taking out the time to write a counter-blog to my blog on ET. I always appreciate other people's views on my writing and, however, critical you may have been of me in your comment and write-up, it was indeed nice to read your thoughts. Secondly, somehow I feel that the whole purpose of my blog got lost on you. It was a satirical blog, the purpose of which was not to criticise people who share things on Facebook but to rather provide some tips and suggestions for them to consider before they share things. I tried to make the blog humorous by quoting real life examples of actual over-the-top things people share! Thirdly, I think you completely missed the part where I wrote “So having seen a fair share of ‘like-mongers’ (and somewhat being one myself!), below is a list of 10 things I think people should consider before hitting the share button”. That was to say that I use Facebook and Twitter almost as much as the next guy but I am just a bit discrete in the type of information I share and the people I share it with. Facebook has some great privacy tools to filter the type of information you send and receive and people should use them rather than letting the whole world know of their every move. Because believe it or not, potential employers now use Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to do background checks on applicants and some organisations even screen their employee’s Facebook activities to gauge the amount of time they spend on Facebook and also to know the type of activities the person engages in outside of work.

    At the end of the day, it was a humorous blog so don’t take it so personally. You and everyone else is more than welcome to share whatever they want but just be careful because you never know who might be watching you. If you are interested, then do check out the website of ‘Europe vs Facebook Organisation’ (http://www.europe-v-facebook.org/) who have taken up privacy issues with Facebook and have also been the driving force for many of the changes that Facebook has implemented over the years. You might learn a few things about how many loopholes there are in the Facebook privacy policy and how much of your data is being retained, tracked and shared without you knowing.

    Cheers,
    Faraz Hasan

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