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Thursday, April 23, 2009

So why are you in Facebook?

So why are you in Facebook? Take this a sequel to the earlier post where the fellow blogger asked ‘Are you in Facebook?’. Since then, social media and web 2.0 have evolved drastically and social networking websites such as Facebook is increasingly used by individuals and businesses to brand themselves and their companies. And did you know that every one among five Bangladeshi internet users has a Facebook account? (total number of internet users in Bangladesh stands at 500,000). If so involved we are as a nation into the social networking site, ever wondered why and how are you using it in your day to day lives and business?

There is one group of users who use the site just to unwind, and update their friends and families about their trivial actions and thoughts of life. They use their status message tool as a mean to speak their mind out and get comments, feedback from their network of friends. We call this group the ‘pure socialites’. They usually spend long hours in Facebook browsing friends’ photo albums, commenting, taking quiz and inviting others to take part etc. They usually do not have any intention of building any self image and/or to promote any of their professional activities, they prefer to keep Facebook free of any work related matter. Many of them are not even aware of their privacy options and are open to the idea of adding or accepting friend request from unknown contacts.

The other group of users prefer to read others statuses and view their photos but refrain from updating their own. They use the site to know more about their friends, even competitors and would like to plan accordingly, or even just ignore it all together. They do not spend as much time in Facebook as the ‘Socialites’ do, we call this group the ‘undercovers’. These users are very strict about their privacy options and sometimes make use of private messages instead of wall posts to communicate with their network of friends.

Then there is another group of users who use the status message tool to strategically promote themselves and/or their businesses. I know a trainer cum consultant whose status message mostly concerns about his latest training events with different companies and consulting assignments. This way he keeps on signalling his existing, new friends about his business acumen and uses Facebook for free to increase the ‘word-of-mouse’ in combination with the traditional ‘word-of-mouth’. This group is called the 'business users'. A coffee lounge and a restaurant in Dhaka have received good response from its target audience by creating events and inviting guests, updating statuses in line with company activities.

Then there is the group of ‘stars’, having a friend list of couple of thousands and even if they write ‘….’ as their status message, they will get atleast 5 comments on a blank status. They are usually in a position to take great advantage of their ‘star’ status, however many of them still prefer to use it to express their ‘blank’ moods or news about their dogs and car only.

A corollary of this group is the ‘star gazers’, who prefer to keep commenting and ‘liking’ the status messages of the ‘stars’ they are friends with. They do so with the hope of getting noticed by the star in due course of time, to be able to attain any personal or professional gain, or just to be happy with the idea of affiliation with the ‘star’.

As web 2.0 and new media is changing the landscape of how we interact with others and how we do business over, through and by the internet, may be its time we rethink why we are in social networking sites such as Facebook? Could it be used to get recommendations for jobs? Could it be used to ‘crowdsource’ an idea for your produce, service? Could it be used for self or company promotion? Or shall we just use it as an alternative of watching TV or playing sports? Just some food for thought.


Anonymous said...

u r a undercover n green!

Kaiser said...

Spot on!