Although primarily a social networking tool, Facebook has brought changed to all areas of life. A few are highlighted below.
The basic principle of Facebook is communication, which is a vital asset for any business. But it doesn’t have to be limited to text, as companies increasingly use apps, games and video to get their message across. It can also allow for more targeting, as the information people share on their pages can help indicate who is more or less likely to want a particular service or product. Nothing is more effective than the influence of friends however, and once a social circle sees one member liking and using a business, the others are very likely to follow.
Facebook Adds have been used by various organizations and corporate giants. Many biggies have integrated Facebook social plugins in their websites.
Facebook allows companies to give a face (or many faces) to their name. Increasingly they use real images of their workers and work environment on their profile pages, to demonstrate to job seekers what it would really be like as part of the team. This has been particularly popular in Australia and New Zealand where Deloitte have gone as far as live webcam feeds into their offices. Some companies, such as Ernst and Young, even broadcast interviews to provide a demonstration of how the process works.
The average length of courtship before marriage is far shorter for couple who meet online than for those who meet offline. This may due to the quick and simple way we access information about people’s interests, tastes and hobbies; what could take weeks of dating to find out now takes minutes of profile perusing. Perhaps this also reflects a shift in attitude from viewing romance as a slow blooming process, to something we want as quickly as simply as everything else we search for online.
Online service is about more than just the company website. Airlines have been giving special Facebook offers, such as ‘Facebook Friday Fares’ with AirTran, and travel agents promote their latest holidays to their fan list, but apps are the current hot topic as they become all the rage for smart phones and social networks alike. Skyscanner’s flight searcher is a great example of this, allowing Facebook users to look up great prices with no hassle. For example, if you were searching for flight prices for September from the UK to Canada you could
a) Visit a site like Skyscanner/Flights Direct or
b) Visit the Skyscanner flight searcher page and type ‘UK to Canada in September’ and immediately you would get pinged back with a price.
Do we really need a flight search app in Facebook? Of course not. It’s just a nice little gimmick and something that’s ideal for those that don’t want to leave Facebook.
Political views have never been easier to spread and put into practice than since the advent of Facebook and Twitter. Middle-Eastern uprisings have be coordinated though social media, student protest groups formed and rallied to action, regular marches such as Gay Pride are planned and promoted through groups. In this sense, Facebook is proving that the younger generations are not politically apathetic, and that protest is not a relic of the past.
Many events were organized to support Anna Hazare’s campaign. Other events and groups were formed to raise voice against corruption. Also, during and after attack on Mumbai, voices were raised against terrorism through Facebook status updates.
However, Facebook has also supported spreading of rumors. People blindly copy status updates from friends without thinking about the same. People just don’t have time to check the authenticity of a status. Any news that’s posted as a status update must be checked for credibility.
This ‘tact’ has been employed by a few organizations to create rumors about competitors to bring down their market. These Status update also sometimes take the form of SMS and then are circulated via the SMS channels. This is one major side-effect.