How did Facebook get in our faces like this?

My main reason for starting this blog was to try to give an opinion of new media developments that are rooted both in my media industry experience combined with a first hand experience of the media in question. Well it is a testament to the power of Facebook that in just a week I’m truly in a position to give an in depth account of the Facebook experience.

Within 1 week I have done the following

Found over 65 people on Facebook that I consider to be friends – that’s actual friends rather than “Friends”.

Posted a number of different albums of favourite photos

Found myself tagged on 7 different people’s albums

Discussed Facebook etiquette with complete strangers

I could go on, my point is that Facebook is so easy to use and so instantly accessible that in the space of a week it has become part of my daily habits and conversations

This should be a simple hygeine factor, but a number of websites like this in the past have not lived up to early promise. Whether it is glacial upload times, or multiple levels of registration/ complicated programmes to download, there are often two or three too many hurdles to overcome which deter the average user.

Facebook keeps it simple – registration can be as easy as inputting your name, e-mail address and picking a password if that is all you want to do.

So that’s getting you registered covered, the really genius thing about Facebook is how it keeps you using it time after time.

By way of introduction, about 3 months ago I registered on MySpace (and my next project will be to go back and explore properly) but once I had done it I simply couldn’t work out what to do next. I had a page with a photo on it and that was it. I haven’t been back in three months

When I logged onto Facebook though, the difference was remarkable. As soon as I arrived I had three requests already waiting to be my friend, I also got e-mails telling me that friends of mine had pictures of me on their pages – Before I was on Facebook I was on Facebook!! That meant that I instantly had something to do as soon as I arrived, which in turn meant that I very quickly started to build up a base of friends which then meant that I started to get a constant stream of news of things that they were all up to.

And that is the magic of Facebook – it gets it’s users to infect each other with the addiction of more usage. Just when you think you’re about to get bored of it you get a request for friendship from someone you haven’t heard of in ages, but are really chuffed to hear from, or someone puts up a terrible photo of you when you were at school, or invites you to join a campaign to protest against bloc voting in the Eurovision Song Contest. It can be very personal, surprising, intriguing and even emotionally engaging. It’s organic and viral in the true sense of the word and unlike a typical “viral” e-mail which will fade away once we’ve all become immune through exposure, Facebook gets you to keep reinfecting each other with a new strain of the virus.

Finally there is the completely inclusive nature of Facebook – I’m nearly 30 and really thought I was too old for this “social networking” scene, but I get here and find that I’m one of the last of my friends to do so. Making personal connections in this way seems to be a pretty much universal desire and Facebook seems to have the potential to span a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and cultures.

That’s it for now on Facebook. Next week I’m going to re-visit MySpace and see if it makes any more sense this time.

Thanks for reading.

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