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Home Culture & Society To FACEBOOK or not to FACEBOOK!

To FACEBOOK or not to FACEBOOK!

by caribdirect
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Dickson Igwe for CaribDirect

Contributing writer Dickson Igwe

First of two articles on the exponential growth and enormous significance of social media, reviews important articles

A short preface to a narrative on a multibillion dollar social networking phenomenon is appropriate.  And it is a tidbit taken from the leader section in the Economist of March 24, 2012, an article titled ‘’ an I Popping phenomenon.’’

In the story, the staff writer asserted that ‘’ in the past 11 years, APPLE has launched three products, the I Pod, iPhone, and iPad, that have created brand new markets, fulfilling desires that consumers did not even know they had.’’  Yes, capitalism and the free market, based upon the US model, is alive and well, despite the rise of China and the Far East, and a new state capitalism with powerful bureaucrats at the helm, and manning the levers of a significant percentage of global commerce.

The Writer described how ‘’Apple has so far proved that it is possible to earn high margins with brilliant design, and by offering consumers ways to access the internet effortlessly, wherever they go.  Apple has made the mobile era its own.  And Apples rise shows that even in an era of austerity, consumers are willing to pay for the must- have gadget.’’

But it is to another phenomenon one must turn this late April 2012.  And it is to the imminent flotation of FACEBOOK, a social networking giant, and multibillion dollar new arrival, alluded to in that self same article in the Economist of March 24.

Facebook, like Apple, is a company that is a signature of the present age of the smart phone, mini computer and network digital device.  And just as it was in the late 1990s and early to mid 2000s, when ‘’ Microsoft ruled the age of desktop computing,’’ companies such as facebook, Twitter and Apple, are riding a new wave of digital and social media driven by super smart devices, empowering humanity like never before.

OK, any citizen and inhabitant of Western society who does not recognize the ubiquitous and all pervasive nature of the Facebook networking paradigm is either living on another planet or has transformed into the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand. The all pervasive Facebook Logo is today inescapable, for anyone who goes online.

Now, the Economist of February 4, 2012, in a leading article titled ‘’ a fistful of dollars’’ described how in just 8 years, since its founding by a young Harvard based Geek named Zuckerberg, ‘’ Facebook is one of the hottest companies in the world.’’ This Twitter and Facebook user would further allude to that assertion, by stating categorically, that this April 2012: Facebook is a boiling hot commodity.

And its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, a young wizard who left university prematurely to pursue his dream of an online social networking idea, has today created a whole new generation of Facebook millionaires and multimillionaires: employees of his technology colossus and social networking empire.

Zuckerberg, like the late Steve Jobs of Apple, has become a household name.  And his creation is actually a new social order based upon the microchip: an avant garde way of life, shrinking exponentially, interaction between human beings over near, far, and vast distances.

Zuckerberg is ‘Commercial Mogul’ of a 21st Century modus Vivendi built upon the microchip that first started on university campuses in the USA, with students across the board meeting one another in a new virtual and digitized environment. Zuckerberg, the protagonist of this social dynamic, in essence, has created a parallel universe. And according to Forbes, the young genius and entrepreneur is today worth a staggering 17.5 billion dollars.

The Economist reported that ‘’ on February 1, 2012, the Facebook social network announced plans for an initial public offering, commonly known as an IPO, that could value the business at between 75 billion and 100 billion dollars;  a startup run by a cocky 27 year old more valuable than Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft-maker.’’ This is something one normally sees in a Walt Disney movie!

Now add to this a further fact that ‘’ Facebook could soon boast one billion users, or one in seven of the world’s population.’’

The magic of Facebook according to the Writer from the Economist is that ‘’ people love to socialize, and Facebook makes it easier. The shy become more outgoing online.  The young, the mobile, and the busy, find that Facebook is an efficient way of staying in touch. You can do it via laptop or smartphone, while lying in bed, waiting for a bus, or pretending to work.’’

The Economist staff writer further added that ‘’ you can look up old friends, make new ones, share photos, arrange parties, and tell each other what you thought of the latest George Clooney film.’’ Furthermore, ‘’ as more people join Facebook, its appeal grows.  Those who sign up, and its free, have access to a wider circle.  Those who do not can feel excluded. This powerful feedback loop has already made Facebook the biggest social networking site’’ accounting for ‘’ one in seven minutes spent online worldwide.’’ And Facebook is ‘’ still growing fast in big emerging markets such as Brazil and India.’’

Facebook also possesses mind boggling metrics, and one of these is the fact that ‘’ everyday 250 million photos are uploaded to the site.’’ Facebook’s ‘’ commercial possibilities are immense for three reasons: first, Facebook knows a staggering amount about its users.  It is also constantly devising ways to find out more, such as ‘’Timeline,’’ a new profile page that encourages people to create an online archive of their lives.’’ Facebook ‘’mines users’ data to work out what they like and hits them with well targeted ads; Facebook is ‘’ the leading seller of online display adds in the USA.

Second, Facebook is the most powerful platform for social marketing. Few sales pitches are as persuasive as a recommendation from a friend, so the billions of interactions on Facebook now influence everything from the music that people play, to the politicians they vote for.  Companies, like teenagers, are discovering that if they are not on Facebook, they are left out.’’

Facebook is also ‘’ becoming the world’s de facto online passport.  Since so many people have a Facebook account under their real name, companies are starting to use a Facebook login as a means of identifying people online.’’

Moreover, according to the Economist, Facebook ‘’ has already rolled out an email service, and persuaded millions of websites to add buttons and links that enable Facebook users to share material;’’ the Writer asserts further that Facebook ‘’ is bound to add an online search function that will heat up battle with Google. Facebook’s greatest asset is the information that its users willingly surrender to it.’’  Facebook today possesses formidable clout with ‘’ no other social network as big, and it will soon be rich enough to buy up potential rivals.  Many firms feel they have no choice but to deal with Facebook, and some already resent its clout.’’

One reason Facebook is expected to grow even larger in the near future is ‘’ the rapid spread of internet connectivity which is making Facebook accessible to even more people.’’ Boston Consulting Group ‘’ reckons that around 3 billion people will be online by 2016, up from 1.6 billion in 2010. A second reason ‘’ is the rise of the mobile phone.  Already, more than 425 million people are tapping into Facebook on these devices, and in future most of the social network’s growth will come from the mobile web.’’

Facebook is a social utility in that it ‘’ lets people do all kinds of things, from passing on newspaper articles, to playing games, or posting photos of themselves, their friends, or their pets.’’

The company has ‘’ enticed outside developers to create software applications that run on its platform, constantly improving the platform.  Facebook has also been creating a ‘’ new set of social applications that allow people to do things like watch films, listen to music, and read news on its platform, rather than going elsewhere on the web to do so.  These are all plans to map all of the connections between people and the things that interest them.’’

And despite the usual constraints expected from the operation of a multibillion dollar multinational organization, the sky appears to be the limit for Facebook.  There is steady talk of a Facebook Phone with a Facebook operating system, even a Facebook internal currency.’’

Businesses, organizations, and even countries, that want to get to a vast numbers of customers and potential customers, such as these British Virgin islands, with the need to plug into potential visitors and travelers, may find not doing business with, and through, facebook, and not possessing an aggressive posture vis a vis the new world order of social media, is simply not an option. Yes, it appears Facebook wants to rule the world!

To be continued

caribdirect

caribdirect

We provide news and information for anyone interested in the Caribbean whether you’re UK based, European based or located in the Caribbean. New fresh ideas are always welcome with opportunities for bright writers.

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