Facebook Groups, Fan Pages and Gimmicks
I'm one of those people who absolutely hate getting group invitations. Or page invitations - even event invitations. 99% of them, no, 99.9% of them I reject. It's only when someone personally asks me to join, explaining why, or if it is something I really believe in, that I will join. Because, what's the point? I am currently a member of a gobsmacking 134 groups (Jesus Christ! I'm partly amazed and partly embarrassed to be writing this!), and a fan of 88 (again; wtf?) pages. Do I really pay attention to any of these? No, not really.
Daily in my News Feed, I see that friends have become members of groups or fans of things – some never seem to stop, and I can’t help but wonder why. People accept invitations to groups and pages for the most random reasons, it would seem. Clearly, I haven’t done any research, but it would appear that some people just join or accept because they’ve been asked to. I am a great example. I’ve almost never revisited pages I’ve joined – I joined them because I thought it said something about me, or, as mentioned previously, someone directly asked me to. Some groups or pages have thousands of fans, which might look very good, but does this really mean something is successful?
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, but what got me writing is the latest Facebook craze of writing your bra colour in your status update. Everyone now knows that this was in order to raise awareness of breast cancer, but this wasn’t really the message that came across. Again, I’ve not done research, but I’m willing to bet that most women and girls did it for a laugh; to frustrate and confuse their male friends. Even if they did realise it was for breast cancer awareness, how was this message passed on to others by writing a colour in their update? Facebook can act as a brilliant channel for raising awareness - indeed, any social media can - but God does it have to be done properly.
Can the success of a Facebook group or page really be measured by how many fans/members it has, or how far it spread? I’m not so sure it can. I think many, many people join groups because their friends are members of the group, or because it’s the right thing to do at the right time, but it doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s the latest fashion, the newest colour, the thing you really should care about.
People, offline and online are fickle creatures. It might very well be a fantastic virtual world, but a world it still is, and people don’t change (sad to say). I believe that the old rules do still apply in social circles online. You just have to read about online bullying. We all want quick and easy ways to indicate to others what we like and who we are. Badges, labels - whatever you want to call them, we all have them, we all need them, and simply because we've moved in to a virtual world doesn't make them any less applicable.
Social media, the internet, has revolutionised communication, and even the world, but we, as a people, will always remain the same, both online and offline; fleeting, fragmented, and followers of fashion.