My mother finally got onto Facebook today and I was her first confirmed friend. This was no small event in my family but she still distrusts it intensely. It was her arrival into the second biggest nation on earth that inspired me to write this short piece.
Facebook is unstoppable. 250 million people signed up last year and the total population will top 600 million in short order. To call it a juggernaut is an anachronistic irony but it does express the idea of its unstoppable momentum.
Despite the furor early last year on it’s privacy issues and numerous attempts at mass resignations Facebook has become this generation’s standard for interaction and communication. And it’s not just Facebook for it’s own sake. Facebook is the biggest representation of the social media society. It pretty much defines human civilization in the 21st century. Of course there is resistance – there always is to change.
Reasons for the resistance vary – I’ve heard a few: “I don’t trust the bastards”; “I don’t have time for it”; “It’s voyeuristic”; “It’s narcissistic” and “people should interact in person”. All of these are variations of “I just don’t understand the modern world”.
All the rules are changing – how we view the world; how we do business; how we see each other.
Those who are connected to the internet but who refuse the world of social media will increasingly find themselves isolated and disconnected. The same thing happened with email, the same thing happened with mobile phones. It becomes impossible to interact with a world when it doesn’t recognise the way you are interacting with it. If you sent me a personal letter in the mail, chances are I’ll never see it. I only empty my postbox when it can no longer fit any mail in it and then it gets dumped in a basket in my office where I’ll one day make my way through it. Similarly for business, your customers will understand you less and less if they aren’t engaged socially.
And as access becomes cheaper and faster and easier so you will see this steam train gather momentum. Already almost 30,000 people a day are finding their way to the nation of Facebook.
So whether you like it or not we will all be swept away in the wave. And if you don’t like it the best way to get that message out is to sign up, log-in and post it as a status update.
Resistance is indeed futile but instead of resigning oneself to it, find you’re voice and embrace it.