I’m a Facebook fan. I use it daily, and keep it at a safe distance from anything work related. However, I’ve recently started vetting my status posts, censoring my wall comments, and removing any material that could potentially be viewed with disgust.
Given I work in a creative advertising agency, and our success is directly linked to the richness and wealth of our reference material, censorship on a social scale shouldn’t really feature. It’s not as though I’m trying to cover up an online flirtation. The reason is that my dad is now on Facebook and linked to me and many of my closest friends.
Not since being a small child have I felt the embarrassment that comes from a father’s vocalised disappointment about the appropriateness of certain remarks, comment posts, pictures, and the general lack of decorum shown when communicating with one’s peers.
So am I surprised that Facebook has reached 500m users, yet recent stats (Mashable) show that 9% of youth users are becoming dormant, and this figure is rising?
The answer is no. Teenagers want privacy from adult supervision, and an open forum for friends. (And as I’ve discovered, so do men in their 30’s). Unsurprisingly they also shy away from many things mainstream.
The problem with Facebook, and many social media platforms today, is that you end up saying everything to everyone, so it has stopped being personal.
Perhaps the answer to effective Facebook usage is less about what you say, and more about who you say it to? The answer could be a technical one, about functionality, permissions, grouping your contacts blah blah blah.
Or perhaps it’s about deciding who you are and what your persona is going to be, and sticking to a one size fits all personality. But that’s not social, that’s contrived.