Let's face it!

Net-worked

Rajesh Golani

On a lazy afternoon at work, when you don't have deadlines to chase, most probably, one of the tabs popping up on your explorer browser would be  ‘Facebook.’ Don't worry, you’re only one of the millions hooked to the innocent looking social networking site that is evidently costing MNCs millions of work hours.

Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004 as a way for Harvard students to communicate with each other. It was soon opened to the general public and by July 2008 the site had more than 100 million members. In the end of 2008, when Facebook changed its look abruptly, there was an outrage.

And why not? All those 50 Facebook test results (including, which Disney Princess are you?), and hundreds of pokes and snowball, went up in smoke, in a matter of a few seconds. So much so, that a group called ‘We Hate Facebook’ immediately had one million user members, who complained that “everything seems very cluttered despite the fact they tried to make it simpler. Their plan has miserably failed.”

Says Sai Krishna, an engineering student, “Apart from showing all your information on one page, it also shows other useless updates about your friends and their friends. Frankly, I don't remember what they changed, I’ve got used to the new look.”

Another major complaint was that Facebook was trying to imitate ‘myspace’, another social networking site. “The fact that Facebook is trying to be more like ‘myspace’ ruins its originality and uniqueness. If you want a social networking site that's like ‘myspace’, then join ‘myspace’. Period,” says one user.

Says Rajesh Golani, a software engineer, the reason for such a dramatic change is to accommodate ads in its prime space. “There is a plethora of new advertisements that now appear on the new Facebook. It does not support old Windows 98 systems; plenty of users who own an old computer are basically being kicked out of Facebook and the change has a lot to do with accommodating advertisers.”

But the fact that Facebook continues to add millions of users on its network is undeniable. 

Mayank Rungta, a software professional, who maintains an active social life, attributes, its success to Facebook. 

“I have been hooked to Facebook of late, for the purpose of sharing and reaching out. Be it an event, video or some interesting read — you just click a button and all your friends can see it. We have had interesting discussions on some of the things we have shared, like the recent protests on felling of trees in Bangalore. We have used it effectively to spread awareness about environment, cycling, volunteering and theatre. You get to see what your friends are up to and it helps to stay in touch with those across time zones. More than anything I use Facebook to connect with people I don't know so well or wish to remember.”

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