Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Generation and Facebook

Today marks the first day of the eleventh year since Facebook came into being as a global organization, accelerating the world's move into the information age. Ten years seems a long time - and it is, especially in the world of technology - and the effects that the social media platform has had on society are profound. So profound, that I think my generation could well be named the Facebook generation.

Even in a poor country like India, Facebook is estimated to have about 100 million users - that's a little under 10% of its user base. That is an amazing statistic and shows the sheer reach of the platform. And yet, it hardly says anything about the impact that Facebook has had. As an example, I can pick up the page of the Hyderabad Traffic Police, which is actively maintained and where denizens and the Traffic Police actively engage with each other - it is the ultimate form of democracy, direct and convenient.

Even India's lethargic government has taken up Facebook, with the MEA running an active and popular page. This could perhaps be on cue from political parties, particularly the BJP, which have made excellent use of Facebook to attract young voters to it. And even that is not a novel idea, with Barack Obama's first Presidential campaign having really established the democratic tool that the platform was.

For me personally, Facebook has been a medium through which I can stay in touch with friends long gone. Given how I keep changing cities every few years - it's becoming countries now - the platform has become my only means to keep track of the complex web that my life has become. There are the issues of privacy and hate posts, but it's all a part of public life and everyone has the option of leaving.

Overall, my generation is connected to each other like never before and Facebook has been instrumental in that. It is a part of our lives, just short of a revolution and I wish it many more fruitful years. 

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