Facebook Statuses: Why do we do it?

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Facebook Statuses: Why do we do it?

Christopher Watson

1 hour ago

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Mark Zuckerberg By Raphaël Labbé, via Wikimedia Commons

 

The social networking company Facebook has confirmed that it is in the process of testing a ‘pay-to-post’ system in New Zealand. Designed to allow users to reach a wider audience with their posts, small charges are one of the methods being looked at to encourage the continuing addiction to ‘Facebooking’.

Unlike many of the popular hoaxes that circulate rumours of having to pay a fee for using the global social networking site, this advance on the part of the Facebook whizz kids in Silicon Valley has introduced a new, potentially tumultuous system of paying real money to have your views on life heard. With anyone and everyone able and competent to update a simple blog, it has never been easier to get individual thoughts out into the wider public sphere. Like most people in my circles, I am an indulger in Facebook; worse, I admit I am probably addicted. No doubt that if something funny or strange happens to me, and I can put a sarcastic or ironic overtone on it and post it up on the Facebook newsfeed, likes and comments are a reassurance that other people find this information interesting. Anyone who says that they submit information on Facebook and isn’t searching for some kind of attention, whether its recognition, debate or agreement, is either putting up useless drivel, or doesn’t understand what Facebook stands for.

The worrying issue at stake here is that the Facebook executives have reached the decision that their many millions of users are so hooked by this social network that a two tier-system will be pounced on by a substantial number. And sadly, they’re probably right. It will only take one or two friends in a group to use the new system to pay 25p, and get a post highlighted on the newsfeed; much in the same way that Ebay uses highlights for certain adverts that pay more, or sponsored adverts in Google, for a trend to get going.

The conundrum for a regular user like myself is this. Do I want to be posting my thoughts and links for free, whilst other people will be drawing more attention for a purely ‘nominal’ fee of 25p? The idea that it is worth giving real money to Facebook to get up a leg up on other people is almost as stupid as paying real money for ‘digital gifts’ to be sent to people. Yet that is already the case. A fee for using all of Facebook, I could almost understand. Paying to promote yourself … what on earth is your personality for?

Personally, I will never consider my contributions worth paying to get into the public domain on a social networking site. If this system comes in, it will surely separate the goats from the sheep in terms of casual Facebook users, and those who are seriously addicted to gaining as many ‘likes’ ‘comments’ and ‘friend requests’ as possible. What a life. Further still, it could be the start of the downfall of Facebook … from the entrepreneurial spirit of genuine social networking, to commercialised advertising space, along with millions of online attention seekers. For this reason, I hope that the system gets rolled across globally tomorrow.  Result …

A world without Facebook? Well, that’s a completely different article waiting to be written. Needless to say, humanity has done fine without it for thousands of years. In five years time, who is to say we’d miss it.

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About the author

Christopher M. Watson

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Chris read English Literature and Language at Winchester, and is currently a Recruitment Consultant in Brighton. Previous publication experience includes co-founding and editing the University newspaper from 2009, and as Foreign Affairs Editor for the Evans Review in 2012.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emhodson.xD Emily Hodson

    I agree; great article!

  • Dave ‘Danger’ Bosworth

    thankfully…I know you

  • Nathan Garnham

    wouldnt give them money ever! but i rarely post anything :)

  • Chris Collins

    People usually update their own status to reflect their own thoughts as well as their emotions. Facebook Status has given the opportunity to connect with your loved ones and keep in touch with your friends.