What is Facebook?

A young girl feels that her world has come crashing when her friends shut her off from the Facebook. Nations come crashing when FAcebook coordinated the fight of the masses (Egypt). An unknown Wes Streeting of Cambridge University managed to bring the mighty HSBC to change its policy within weeks. The Anna Hazare movement got 10 lakhs online signatures within 36 hours from across the country. Kolavari song went viral and within weeks the entire nation was singing to its tune.  It has reached over 1 bn subscribers worldwide and over 6 crore in India alone. People from all walks of life and of age use it. It has become the back bone of Business, health care, education, governance, of banking, services and you name it Facebook is there. Facebook has changed the way people understand the world.

Magazines, journals, blogs, books, websites and et.al keep talking about the importance of Facebook. For a youngster it is the means to keep in touch with the world. For a business group it is where they advertise. For a social cause the best place to garner support is Facebook. If you want to promote yourself, go to Facebook. You want to shop; facebook helps you there as well. It seems face book has become a one stop solution for everyone.

It is a great place indeed. Look at some of its adverse impact.  It is addictive, it takes you away from your surroundings, excessive use of it make you obese, it takes away your study time and family away from you, It reduces your private sphere and can also lead to a lot of online conflicts (Ruben), you want to tarnish someone’s image, you want to bring down a nation, create riots and wrong perceptions of people, communities and nations facebook does it. Much more can be attributed as some of its adverse impacts.

Has Facebook really metamorphosed into the state of being a nation? Has Zuckerberg become the founder of a new nation state? What is the identity of this over a billion memberships; that has diverse culture, religions, regions, laws to govern, and that is continuously developing and where members are continuously interacting?  What is it, A nation?,  An organization?, A society?, or just a fad that will disappear faster than its growth?

Prof.Shaji Joseph

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