Facebook Nation

      15 Comments on Facebook Nation

Jeff Morosoff, Assistant Professor, Hofstra University

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?

15 thoughts on “Facebook Nation

  1. Jamie Hagan

    FaceBook unlike so many social media sites before has seemed to monopolized the social media scene and because of its constant updating and changes to enhance its function it has remained relevant and my belief is that it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Facebook has revolutionized the way people live there daily lives. With the added help of smart phones the large majority of the populations checks their facebook account numerous times a day and uses it as one of their tops means of communication with friends, family and even strangers.

    What worries me is the accessibility it gives the world to your personal life.No matter the security setting you set up a significant amount of information is being release to the public, but on the other hand that is the point of the site to share information about your life.

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  2. Melissa

    I am happy to say I was not one of those people complaining about the changes made to Facebook, but rather the person saying to myself people really need to stop worrying about changes made to Facebook, its not the end of the world. It was even more sad that people actually threatened to leave Facebook, while using Facebook to make that threat. The sad truth is that people fear change, especially when they aren’t ready for it. I do have to admit it can be a little annoying to log on to Facebook and have it look different once again and once again I have to figure out how to log out, post a comment, or change the status updates I see.

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    1. E

      Agreed, Melissa. Facebook changes are part of our monthly lives at this point. I think its part of the human condition to find it easier to focus on small changes when other daily challenges, and the world’s problem, can feel awfully heavy. At first I resented Facebook operating in beta, but now I feel it sort of helps keeps me primed for every else that is evolving. 🙂

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  3. Mike Remsen

    No matter what changes or enhancements occur with Facebook, people will never lose their willingness to use it. They will complain initially but in the end will ‘bite there tongue’ and get used it to. It’s the blatant truth, because at this point this social media tool become so intertwined with everyday life, people are forced to adapt to these changes in fear of losing it forever . I’m one of those people you mentioned who check my facebook frequently, especially on my birthday to see who posted and who didn’t-other than that I do not pose what I’m doing every two seconds. The facebook trend is something that will never go away because people have grown to love the ability to know what your peers are up to.

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  4. Kaitlin Simensky

    You may be right that Facebook’s loyal users will continue to stick with it; however, I think that there is still a strong possibility for other similar social media forums like google+ to start eating away at Facebook’s hold. It’s important to remember that not too long ago MySpace was the social media of choice for most Americans, and while I don’t forsee Facebook falling the same way MySpace did, the possibility is always there for google+ and others to catch on and eventually take over the majority of Facebook users. One of the reasons why so many people loved Facebook was because of its simplicity and now that continues to change almost weekly, making many of its users frustrated and annoyed. If Facebook doesn’t start to listen to its users about how these changes are negatively affecting the whole concept of this social media outlet, then they will become yet another dying trend while google+ and others take over. At the same time, Facebook should be working on its PR campaigns to make users realize that these changes are being made with the hopes of improving the site, not making it annoying for current users.

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  5. dhenni3

    In my PR 105 class we talked about how facebook is taking over and we read an article that stated that Facebook now is as large as the entire internet was in 2004. It is continuosly growing, and more so in nations that have yet to go through the “Facebook frenzy”. I am one to say that I complain a lot about the changes that seem like daily changes, but I would probably never cancel my profile. The world is so suported by social media, that important information would be lost.

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  6. Melissa

    Facebook will most likely continue to change, people will complain, get use to it, then it will change again just as it has since I first made an account 4 years ago. Facebook has become that guilty pleasure that people love to log onto everyday to say happy birthday to someone they haven’t seen in years or see what their peers have been up to. The need to know is fulfilled by scrolling through status updates or by clicking on someone you haven’t talked to in years picture they just posted. I started to notice a year or two ago that it is very rare that a day goes by that I don’t hear the word “Facebook,” whether I’m shopping, eating, or even watching the news Facebook has become part of our lives.

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  7. darrahrachman

    I am definitely one of those people you refer to that check their facebooks very frequently… I find myself checking my minifeed ALL the time– and with smartphones, it can be very addicting. However, I agree with those who say the new facebook changes are just too much. I am also one for simplicity and feel as though facebook is almost too advanced for me now. While I will agree that facebook is constantly changing and updating its look, how much more can it take? Facebook is a great social media tool for all types of organizations and businesses, however, if it becomes too complex people will not understand how to properly use it. Our generation is quick to adapt to social media trends but I would have to argue that the older generation (like my mom- who just started using facebook) is not, which makes it harder to connect with friends/family.

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  8. AOkPR

    My sister posted an infographic on my Facebook wall the other day that read, “I am appalled that the free service that I am in no way obligated to use keeps making changes that mildly inconvenience me.” This perfectly sums up my opinion to people’s reactions to the recent Facebook changes. Nobody is forcing us to use Facebook, nor are we paying for its services. If people are as upset with the changes as they so ironically claim to be in their Facebook statuses (as Lee pointed out), then they should stop using the site. I just hope for the sake of using Facebook as a PR tool that that does not happen.

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  9. Sarah

    While I like Facebook, I’m not too thrilled about the new up and coming changes. It’s too much, I enjoyed it’s original simplicity. I never even really cared for it much when they took the mini feed off the profile page. Maybe I’m just not a big advocate of the site but I find myself deactivating my profile a lot. Sometimes only for a couple of days, other times for a month. Although I have to say, the birthday wishes I received last week made me feel pretty cool for a few days.

    Hope your birthday was a good one!

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  10. Ellen

    Happy Birthday Jeff! We’re both Libra’s! Agree with all of you re: FB It’s a fixture, here to stay. I disLIKE the constant beta-state, yet we can and do, adapt so quickly. I wish they would roll out intuitive blocks of changes in one day, rather than across the board. IE handling of friends from close category, etc, and friends posts. Last week’s changes were implemented days apart, so when we y thought I’d figured out some tricks, it changed again three days later. Probably, good brain exercise though!

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  11. Leonora

    I completely agree with you that nobody is going anywhere. I’ve been on the site since 2005, shortly after its inception, so I’ve seen it undergo countless changes. Every time they update the layout or add a new feature, people lose their minds — and, ironically, take to their Facebook statuses to complain about it. But to be honest, I can’t recall how the original site looked; I don’t even remember how it looked before the most recent change. Since we use it so often (admittedly, I am one of those morning readers of the News Feed), we’ll get used to the changes so quickly that the current design will be a long lost memory. The truth is that people will miss the site too much if they give it up. It’s easy, effective and an integral part of everybody’s lives — not only socially, but now also professionally. Facebook may be going in a new direction, but it most certainly is not going away.

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  12. Jon Fisco

    Complaining seems to be the thing to do. People seem to complain about Facebook changes whenever they come out and yet a month or two later they can’t remember what the “old Facebook” even looked like or why they didn’t like the current setup. I agree that few, if any, will actually dump Facebook because seeing those birthday wishes pile up is just too damn gratifying.

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  13. Lauren Means

    Even though people complain about Facebook changes — even to the point of creating Facebook Pages to protest — many Facebook users are completely dependent on the social website. I worked with a Hofstra professor last year in studying the effects of Facebook on Hofstra students. In focus groups, most students talked of their “addiction” to Facebook. They said they updated statuses, checked feeds, and trawled through friends’ pages multiple times a day, even to the point of obsession. What started out as a tool for friendships has become, in many cases, a necessity in day-to-day life.
    All in all, I doubt the Facebook changes will do much to change its number of users. If users are on Facebook often enough to notice its changes, then they have reason to stay at least until the next change is released.

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  14. Sam Wilbur

    Every time Facebook makes some changes, mass amounts of people complain. Yet, it always blows over. We get used to it incredibly quickly, because we use it so often. I agree no one is going anywhere. Happy birthday!

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