In a week when the state of Georgia may have executed an innocent man, the U.N. General Assembly focused on Palestinian statehood and President Obama fought to raise taxes on the wealthy, the bigger controversy was the changes made by Facebook. Coverage of the changes featured interviews with people claiming to hate the new Facebook and threatening to dump it.
Well, no one is going anywhere. Those 750 million Facebook users will get used to the changes. While many millions will be using the new Google+, I predict that most Google+ users will also be Facebook users. Founder Mark Zuckerberg may use this period of public comment to make some adjustments, but Facebook has become too much a part of our lives to leave it. One small but substantial example of this: several surveys show that half of Facebook’s users check it first thing in the morning — before they do anything else!
Yesterday was my birthday and I found myself checking my Facebook more frequently to read the birthday wishes I received. As one who places a very high value on maintaining friendships, Facebook has given me a very easy way to keep in touch with people, some whom I haven’t seen in decades. Hundreds of millions love the idea that they can communicate this way. We also know that, when used correctly, Facebook is a tremendously effective and inexpensive public relations tool for individuals, businesses, governments, and not-for-profit organizations.
To be sure, we need to focus on protecting our privacy that is increasingly threatened by Facebook and all of social media. And Facebook may need to tweak some of its changes to make its users happier. But Mark Zuckerberg has little to fear. The world loves his brainchild. People use it by choice because it’s free, it’s easy, it’s fun and we get lots of “happy birthdays.” Your thoughts?