Facebook's Greatest Trick
The last 5-10 years facebook has dominated social media, it has taken over our lives and become part of the very fabric of the society in which we live.
While many things have changed, from the timeline instead of the wall, to the messenger app, or the surge in advertisements. Yet one thing has remained the same over the years, and that thing is people's belief and their assertions as to their reasons for using facebook.
Ask anyone why they have facebook or talk to any new convert, and you will always hear that it is a good way to stay in touch with friends. They talk about reconnecting with old friends and feeling more clued in and connected in their community.
The truth is however this belief is a lie, we have conned ourselves into believing, or perhaps been manipulated into believing. The reality is facebook isn't a social media anymore it's a business. Now, this may seem inevitable and even fair when you consider the consequences of connecting billions of people together. Pages are the main source of content on facebook and increasingly it is being used for creators and businesses to advertise and share their content, it is purely centered on content designed and targeted to keep you using facebook. It would be foolish to believe these actions are in order to keep you connected, as facebook, and indeed its users may claim. Facebook now runs almost entirely off messenger and posts from pages and corporations. No longer do you learn much at all about your friends lives from going on facebook.
The reason for this is tricky to pin down, I think in part at least it is due to the increased number of parents on facebook, which creates an environment where young people feel less empowered to create their own image and share content. As well as this facebook has become a more critical element in professional circles, in that before receiving a job, you would be foolish to be under the impression that your facebook will not be checked. All in all the current environment is not conducive to the kind of sharing that made it great to begin with, and as such, it has become over-run with ads and media, making it no more than a platform for viral news and content.
Yet here is the trick, we still go on facebook, hours a day scrolling through mindlessly. It provides none of the things we signed up for yet wherever you go you see people scrolling through, in a desperate attempt to find what? Facebook has successfully engineered an app that grabs out attention and causes an addiction in the endless scrolling and searching. While messenger is a well built messaging app, there are countless others that serve the same purpose, yet we use facebook because why? Because everyone is on it, it is self-perpetuating and seems difficult to stop. I am not trying to encourage people to delete the facebook app in this article, nor am I advocating that people delete their accounts. I am merely asking that we all become more aware of how we spend our time, how facebook really effects our relationships and how we really stay in touch with one another. Next time you are scrolling through your news feed, ask yourself; Am I enjoying this? Is this helping me stay in touch with friends? What am I getting out of this? You might be surprised by the answers. Also we need to stop lying to each other and ourselves. We don't use facebook to stay in touch anymore, we use it to pass the time, facebook has us hooked scrolling through in search of nothing.