When Facebook emerged, it introduced a brand new way for people to connect with each other. It was ground-breaking in that it took then-unrealized communicative uses of the internet and gave them a form. It was welcoming, too, in that it was free to use. And as with all things innovative (and free), everyone--myself included—wanted a piece of the action.
Ten years in and Facebook is still the first website I log into when I go online, only now, it’s hardly just a space where I can “poke” friends and leave messages on their “walls.” It’s a wonder how it has managed to stay relevant after a decade, considering that there are not a few sites in its category that have gone obsolete. I’m even more amazed, though, at how Facebook has evolved, because how it changed was mainly influenced by how the people made use of it.
Social media and online platforms have set off many changes in our society. For me, the most progressive of these changes is that they levelled the playing field and democratized our capability to engage with people in power. Social networking sites like Facebook have diffused power to the margins, such that your personal Facebook account is no different from the president’s personal Facebook profile. Hence, it makes you and the president – or some other entity otherwise difficult to get to- no different in the realm of Facebook.
These functions have been proven useful as pressure points to, say, a political target to sway to an activist group’s favor. It also serves as an effective platform for people who share the same ideals with an organization to self-organize. Greenpeace, among many others, makes the most of it to replicate our campaigning capacity.
I think that if there’s one reason why Facebook is still around, it’s because it doesn’t detest change. It keeps up with the times, and the times demand empowered individuals, people who have realized their potential to change things for the better (that’s us!).
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