The following article looks at 10 myths about Facebook and explains why they exist and what the reality is. As myths about Facebook go, most are built on widespread misconceptions or misunderstandings that many users hold. To bust these myths about Facebook read on…
Facebook-haters like to spread the myth every few years that the site is closing. It is claimed that Mark Zuckerberg is overworked, has fallen out of love with Facebook and that the servers are overloaded. There is no evidence to back up these claims. In fact, since the IPO, it seems that this myth couldn’t be further from the truth.
This myth has been perpetuated a lot on the Facebook site itself. You may see this in the form of a chain post which encourages you to share with your friends. The myth states that if you post a comment on someones wall that their friends can automatically see your private status updates. This is plainly wrong and should be ignored.
You are able to spend time using Facebook safe in the knowledge that others aren’t aware of where you are looking. This works two ways, so you cannot tell who has looked at your timeline and as a consequence, you need to pick your friends carefully.
Whilst you may not exchange money for using the site, you end up paying with information. Effectively you trade information about you and your relationships for the ability to use the site. The more you put in, the better Facebook understands you. The better understood you are, the better the ads that can be served to you. Better ads mean better click through, which in turn drives profits. As myths about Facebook go this is pretty high on the list of things to be aware of. This enables you as a user to better understand the relationship you have with the site.
One of the big myths about Facebook is that using it is a waste of time. Sure, you can idle away your days stalking friends and family, but it can also be put to good use. Facebook excels at keeping people in touch. Now that so many people use Facebook, you can find long-lost friends, keep in touch with relatives abroad and keep up to date with things like the latest baby photos. This virtual connection often facilitates meeting up in person.
There’s lots written about how Facebook is being deserted by youngsters. Whilst the average age of users may be going up, there are still massive amounts of connected under-25s using Facebook. Don’t just take my word for it; if you have relatives that are younger and on Facebook, then have a look at how much they use the site. The youth may be a little less engaged than they were, but you will no doubt see that they are as engaged as your average friend.
It used to be that when you wrote a post all of your friends would see it. This was good in that you got your messages out there, but could get a little noisy if you were friends with lots of people. Nowadays, your posts get sorted by an algorithm which promote the more popular content. So if you are the kind of person that gets lots of comments, then expect people to be able to see what you are writing. However if your posts incite tumbleweed, then don’t be surprised if fewer people know about what is going on in your life.
Whilst Facebook has the largest quantity of users for a social network, what it does can be replicated and improved upon. Other social networking communities like Google+, Twitter and Snapchat all have the ability to take away attention from Facebook. Without people actively engaged with the site, Facebook could lose some of its advertising revenue and fade away. MySpace (and countless sites before it) prove that something that is big news today can become unimportant tomorrow. So for Facebook to be around tomorrow, it needs to continually innovate and develop new features that benefit both users and advertisers. If it can manage to do this, then Facebook wont be going away any time soon.
A story that keeps resurfacing time and time again is that if you have a party and advertise it publicly, then expect it to end in a riot. It is a good idea to be mindful of who you invite where, but you need to be particularly lucky / unlucky for your invitation to go viral and get the kind of attention needed for 10,000 people to turn up at your doorstep. Instead, you are likely to get a bunch of people you do not know turning up, which you may regret as they probably give no thought to you or your property.
Perhaps one of the slightly more worrying myths about Facebook is that it is private. If you do not change your privacy settings then some, if not all, of your Facebook posts are public. New users to Facebook are often unaware of this and use the site like only their friends can see what hey are doing. Anyone who wishes to keep their privacy intact whilst using Facebook should follow the advice given in this article on how to lock down their settings.
Please get in touch and let me know if you think I’ve missed any myths about Facebook you think should be included in this article.
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