More than a million Facebook users are thought to have fallen for a hoax claiming that the social network was about to close its doors. Facebook was quick to put the record straight, but what if the rumour was true?
Without Facebook there’d be no more friend requests, no more status updates, no more virtual gardens or farms…
Arguably many people wouldn’t miss them. Three quarters of those who voted in a Which? Conversation poll thought Facebook was a ‘waste of time’. The rest said they were a fan of the social networking site since it helped them ‘stay in touch with friends’.
Despite having previously sung Facebook’s praises, I have to confess I’m torn.
Without Facebook I’d lose touch
On the one hand Facebook provides a quick and easy way to keep in touch with ‘friends’.
My list of Facebook friends is an eclectic mix of people. It includes old school friends I haven’t seen or spoken to for several years – something which Friendsreunited.co.uk did for me before. This gives me a link to my past, which I find a strange source of comfort.
Other Facebook friends are those I still see and call regularly. Though I’ve arguably fallen into the bad habit of lazily ‘Facebooking’ them, rather than picking up the phone.
Then there are the ‘friends’ I’ve never met in so-called ‘real life’ after finding them online through other websites, like the writer’s forum Authonomy www.authonomy.com.
A post-Facebook world
While I wouldn’t choose to delete my Facebook account, I’d survive if it were to disappear overnight. Being kicked-off the website wouldn’t make me lose touch with my ‘real’ friends and it may even give me more time to see or speak to them.
Plus, as Al Warman argued in his Conversation ‘Why I’m fed up with Facebook‘, the social network does pose a potential privacy risk. It’s all too easy to post your personal information, and then there’s the various applications, like Facebook Places, that could give away more data than you’d like.
Sure, I’d miss Facebook, but just as it stole the lead from FriendsReunited and MySpace, I suspect it wouldn’t be too long before another site came along and plugged the gap.