No Face to Face but on Facebook

Preface

Despite many competitors in the social networking space, Facebook attracts enormous numbers of users and it has certainly changed the way we connect with our friends, family and co-workers. As the name of the book “No face-to-face but on Facebook” suggests, it is an interesting read to find out why more than 1.75 billion users choose to meet online everyday more often than they meet face-to-face.

As Facebook users, you and I do many things such as liking someone’s photo and comment, chatting with friends, blocking someone whom we don’t like, wishing somebody on a birthday or anniversary etc. Some of the things we used to do face-to-face but since the evolution of Facebook, it has become so easy that we even don’t have to meet face-to-face with each other for all sorts of things.

The idea of writing a book on Facebook was not only a push from my wife but also my desire, interest and curiosity of finding out how millions of people interact and behave with each other in a virtual world of Facebook.

The creation of “No face-to-face but on Facebook” is based on my own experience as a Facebook user, months of various researches, reflection of my opinions as well as observations of other users on Facebook that I have come across.

It gives you an insight about different Facebook user behavior and the impact of Facebook on them while they are online in the beautiful virtual world. It also aims to find out users’ love for Facebook and their emotional connections with each other even though they are not face-to-face.

Starting with the introduction of Facebook, it uncovers how Facebook came into existence, how rapidly it became the online home of millions of users and what contributions Mark Zuckerberg (the face of Facebook) has made to make Facebook so valuable social network. By moving forward, it then gives a reader with an idea about Facebook’s virtual world of fantasy and its impact on loneliness.

By describing the types of Facebook users, it makes you familiar with various side effects of Facebook such as jealousy, online privacy, online security, obsessions with photo uploads and crimes. Having said so it also gives you some suggestions and tips on how to be safe and secure on Facebook. For example: what details you should hide in order to not becoming a victim of an online fraud and what you should not do to avoid jail.

The reader will then understand Facebook’s role in the recent revolutions & events such as the Arab uprising in the Middle-East and North Africa, social change in India for anti-corruption movement, London riots and occupy Wall Street, as well as some facts on how the power of Facebook was used to coordinate various such events.

It will be interesting for you to know how brands are using Facebook in order to promote and engage themselves in social media. With some strange and weird stories along with author’s funny status updates, it tries to add some humor. Finally by providing some useful Facebook links it ends with Facebook Leagues, where it highlights who is on Top-10 list among sports teams, players, singers, celebrities, brands, entertainment and apps/games on Facebook.

Certainly, “No face-to-face but on Facebook” will provide you with lots of information, safety features, interesting facts, entertaining stories and behavioral aspects about Facebook and its users. Most likely, readers will connect with their own stories.

I can assure you that if you have ever logged in to Facebook, you will find your story somewhere in the book. In short, if someone is a Facebook user it will change the way he/she behaves on Facebook and for those who are not Facebook users, it will be a credible source to start with.

I don’t want to take much of your time now and play gooseberry/third wheel between you and the book, so get started. I wish you will find this book interesting as you read through. Enjoy the reading!

Facebook Introduction

Facebook: The Introduction

Facebook has changed our social DNA, making us more accustomed to openness.”

Dan Fletcher

Honestly speaking, I wasn’t on Facebook until July 2008 because I used to use other social networks such as Orkut and Friendster which I don’t use now. Since I started using it, I got addicted to it.

I know, you might be thinking ‘how I found when I joined the FB?’ Well, it was hard until I scrolled down and down and down for a couple of minutes up to a message that stated ‘There are no more posts to show’. As soon as I saw that my last post was on July 2008, I figured out my joining date on FB. It sounds crazy that I don’t remember my ‘first date’ with FB, but it’s true.

I am going to ask Zuckerberg when I meet him that ‘why can’t you provide this simple information on the profile page?’

Start of social network phenomenon

Nobody knew when Facebook (FB in short) was launched in February 2004 from a dorm room of Harvard University by Mark Zuckerberg with co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin that it will make such a big thing on the internet. Today, it is a private company and more precisely a social networking website, based in Palo Alto, California: USA, helping millions of people around the world communicate with each other in a flexible manner where users can control what and to whom they want to share.

FB has certainly raised the bar for people connecting with people. It has given a real birth to a worldwide phenomenon called ‘social network’. The ideology behind the FB is to create an open and trusted environment where people can share personal information, photos, videos and events with one another using status updates, wall posts, personal messages and chat.

Have you ever wondered how FB caters you and where it keeps your information safely? Guess what, it has been developed using open source software which has been largely written in PHP and stored in the largest MySQL database clusters in the world. To give faster and better user experience and provide real-time updates, the company has created a custom-developed search engine and built a robust infrastructure that is helping 1.75 billion users with posting, commenting and liking 100+ billion posts, stories, photos, apps every day.

Rapid growth of Facebook

It may be beyond our imagination that at what scale FB is growing. Just to give you an idea that it reached 1 million users in 2004, 12 million in 2006, 50 million in 2007, 100 million in 2008, 350 million in 2009, 500 million in 2010, 800 million users in 2011 and more than 1.75 billion users in 2020. I have no idea how much money is required to build the massively growing company like FB which stands at more than $750+ billion valuation as of now. They had a few rounds of funding and as per the latest press release it raised $1.5 billion from Goldman Sachs, so they are pretty much getting the money when they needed.

Facebook Statistics

With enormous popularity, no wonder that there are more than 28.5% of the world’s population and 50% of internet users, using Facebook in their day to day life. Interestingly due to the tremendous growth of mobile/tablet applications popularly known as ‘apps’, there was no surprise for me knowing that nearly 2/5 of the total FB users access it from their mobile devices.

In a few years of time since the launch, Facebook.com became the second most popular website in the world just behind the Google.com. You will be surprised to know that in some countries like Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia and Algeria, it’s still the number one website ahead of Google.com

Famous dispute over Facebook

After, discussing this amazing company loved by millions of people, I think there may be a thought in your mind k that who came up with the idea of Facebook. Was FB an original idea of Mark Zuckerberg or he stole the idea from fellow mates? Well, I don’t know and I don’t think either but someone else does!

The twin Winklevoss brothers (Cameron and Tyler) who were contemporaries of Mark during his studies at Harvard, claimed in 2003 and sued him in 2004 for $140 million saying that “Mr. Zuckerberg had stolen their idea after he was hired by them to code their ConnectU site (earlier called as the HarvardConnection)”.

Facebook always rejected the claim but I wonder then why they agreed to end the lawsuit in 2008 with a reported settlement amount of $65 million that upon asking twins pleaded not to discuss it publicly.

So, god knows the truth or we know it too if we believe it. Anyway, let’s not get into more criticism.

Mark Zuckerberg: The face of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg

I don’t know if you know it already that is he is a college dropout and it seems like a trend for many self-made billionaires like Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple) and Lawrence Ellison (Oracle).Mark is the definitely the guy I would like to talk about however I don’t deny the fact that other co-founders Chris, Dustin and Edurado have also helped in different ways to make Facebook a successful social networking company. Mark is on top of the stories and nowadays whatever he does becomes the news that’s simply because he is the visionary founder of Facebook and a billionaire. His net worth is estimated at $99.9 billion that makes him stand at #4 in the list of billionaires as of Nov 2020. One of his (and so is mine) favourite quotes is ‘Fortunes favours the bold’.

Oh shoot, I missed the chance of being a college dropout as I have already completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and I am no longer interested in getting Ph.D. but you never know. Just kidding.

There is something else I want to mention here about ‘Beast’ who he is a part of Mark and his girlfriend Priscilla’s life and that’s why he deserves a special mention here. You may be wondering who is ‘Beast’? He is their child like a dog and he calls them mum and dad. If you really like to see what ‘Beast’ does every day then like his page and become his fan on Facebook from a link #7 that I have mentioned in later.

Fantasy world and crisis of loneliness

Fantasy World and Crisis of Loneliness

“Ambition is not what a man would do, but what a man does, for ambition without action is fantasy.”

– Bryant McGill

Does technology isolate us?

Due to tremendous innovations and developments in technology and communication world seems small and we feel closer to each other. If a technology can help people live better and comfortable life then it’s good but if the same technology isolate people then nothing worse than that for a society in a long term.

Let’s find out if the social network isolates us or not.

Virtual world of fantasy

The idea of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace is to provide people with a medium to connect and share what they like in their day-to-day life but it is not a replacement to face-to-face interaction. The easy access and quick pace of social networking sites may cause many users to perceive the real world “less stimulating” and “boring”.

Virtual world of fantasy

In my opinion, Facebook tries to lock you in as long as possible so that you continue surfing though virtual world of fantasy where you can play games (such as Farmville, Texas Hold’em or Mafia Wars), meet your virtual friends, chat with them, see others photos & comments, search for a beautiful friend, use your valuable time seeing the funny or time-pass videos and spend hours every day.

Facebook creates a virtual world around us and most of us feel happy to be there simply because most of our friends are there or we can many online games or we like to see what others do. With millions people already on line, it also increases our chances of getting like-minded people.

Crisis of loneliness

Every FB user may have his/her own reason or some common reasons to be on FB but it can be true that sentiment of loneliness is appealing. Some of the people including myself know that being on FB for a long time is a sign of loneliness but there is nothing much we can do about it because we are so used to it.

I have come across with a few people who are so addicted to FB and said “I cannot live without FB”, “I need to open FB first in the morning and see what my friends are doing”. Even I was one of like them. I used to be on FB all day long and used to update my status many times in a day but since I have realized that it’s killing my productivity and time, I reduced my activity on FB.

It is sad but true that I keep hearing from people around me that they have lost the conversation with the person they were talking to, simply because he/she had to check or respond to FB messages on the phone.

In his article Joel Taylor mentioned that ‘18 year olds are as lonely as 80 year olds’ because teenagers spend more time on social networking sites. They even don’t realize that they are making virtual friends at the expense of the real life friends. There is no doubt that face-to-face communication is the basic essential for human life. We live in a society where we need to connect to people by seeing each other face-to-face. It’s a characteristic of a human being to be cared for and touch calms us, heals us said relationship expert Julie Peasgood.

No face-to-face

I cannot hug a Facebook friend, can you? I might have to suggest FB creators to put a new button to send a ‘Hug’ instead of ‘Poke’, LOL.

Social networking sites are not destroying societal values but they are creating isolation among people and I can be sure that no person can recommend that social networking can replace real-life relationships. A survey claims that making real-life friends is getting difficult for young people who have average 243 ‘friends’ on FB1.

It may not surprise us that we all have more Facebook friends than real-friends, some of them we never met face-to-face but online. This is the biggest inspiration for me to choose the title of the book as ‘No face-to-face but Facebook’. Some people including teenagers think that they can meet their hundreds of friends on FB so they don’t have to go out and see a friend.

When I started my MBA study (2010), one of my classmates had created a Facebook page for our class called ‘Royal Holloway MBA Class of 2010-2011’ and we used to discuss everything from lectures, group reports, assignments, exams and even tutors. At the time of our group assignment when we had to do a meeting, I remember one of my classmates saying that lets discuss on Facebook rather than meeting face-to-face!

On FB once you login you will always have someone to talk to you, you just have to ping them and you are on. Among my friends, I always see at least 10 friends online. That’s the biggest incentive being on FB that you will find someone to share your thoughts almost every time and anytime but no face-to-face.

Facebook also affects productivity

When you are on FB and start conversations with your friends or reading updates from friends, you don’t realize the time being spent. It looks like never ending story once started unless you control it.

I have mentioned earlier that FB affected my productivity but I did not realize until I read the news that many Indian firms are facing the same problem and losing productivity just because their employees are using FB and other social networking sites during the work hours. Another interesting fact to I want you to know that 40% of the surveyed workers built their FB profiles during the office hours. If employees keep browsing social networking sites then it is certainly a matter of worry for employers as it is dangerous for overall productivity and also reduces internet bandwidth that affects other official work to be done with the help of internet. In this case they have no choice but to block these sites during office hours3. Work is work and I hope that you are not using much of FB at work.

Similar incident happened with me when I used to work for an IT company in Bangalore, India. One day I came to the office with lots of enthusiasm that I will reconnect with my classmates on Orkut (one of the then popular social networking sites) but suddenly I found that most of the social networking and popular email sites were blocked during the office hours. We received an email from HR stating that unnecessary internet surfing is affecting productivity and other work. The funny thing is that some people used to stay longer after office hours to get the latest updates from these sites or check their emails, LOL.

One of my relatives used to be on Facebook a lot but after sometimes when I did not see any FB status updates from him, I asked ‘what happened dude, you are not being seen on FB quite often?’. You know what he replied, ‘I was abandoned by my wife from using FB’. Such a poor fellow! ROFL.

Sometimes I also use FB app on my Windows phone mostly when I travel and I don’t realize how fast the time goes. During the travel some of us have nothing else to do except Facebooking that make us so addicted that even it feels like spending minutes not hours. It’s not that much of a surprise when an award was given to Facebook for ‘Best Time Waster App’ by Appys, the awards for mobile apps given by The Carphone Warehouse.

Your call

I am not suggesting that you should get off FB immediately because despite some of the disadvantages, social networking provides a great way to be in touch with friends, family, co-workers, clients and business associates. What I am saying is that as a FB user you really need to balance your online life and personal life. Keep in mind that it cannot be a substitute for a face-to-face relationship.

I think I spend more time on FB, how much time do you spend and how addicted are you to FB? Share your views and comments with other readers on a FB page of this book. See you there.

Facebook users

Types of Facebook Users

“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”

– John Holt, Jr.

Understanding the users

In a real world, we may not properly understand the people around us simply because we don’t know how to analyse or react to their behaviour. Does it mean that we should not try to get more information about the people around us? Simply no.

It’s a human nature to get along with like-minded people. We talk and share personal information with the people we like and trust the most. When you have more friends on FB than in real life, don’t you think you should know more about the people you share chat, photos, comments, videos, poke and much more? If you start understanding people of FB, it will help you interact with them in a better way.

Understanding the Facebookusers

During their time on Facebook, every user experiences some pattern of phases where they are motivated to join, they analyse and evaluate whom to become friend with, what types of contents to share, and make an impact or gain reputation among friends. However these phases may not follow exact evolutionary pattern.

There are millions of FB users and it would be practically impossible to categories them but according to my experience and observation, I have tried to define types of FB users based on their behaviour and interaction with other users. You might want to find out what sort of friends you have in your list but if you find yourself among these, don’t change just be yourself. May be peace upon you!

Shy Souls

Have you ever thought that why some friends in your list are too silent and you may hardly see them posting anything on their wall. They are the ones in your friend’s list who often hesitate to write on their wall or post a picture by thinking what others will think?

Most of the times Shy Souls post something and wait for someone to like or comment but if they see nothing is happening they go into silent mode. It takes some time to get familiar with the new things but these people can become known if they don’t lose hope. Yes they can!

When I joined FB for the first time, initially I was thinking: ‘what should I write on my status?’, ‘are people going to like my status updates?’, ‘what should I reply, if they comment?’, ‘Should I upload this photo or that photo’. Believe me I was struggling to get on FB just because I was too shy to open up.

The best thing is to start posting good quotes, stories about famous people or popular news and slowly build your own knowledge about what you want to write and what your friends like. Have a go.

One important thing you should remember that you will also have to participate by liking and commenting other’s posts. Believe me it will take some time however this way you will gain trusted relationship with your friends and you will no longer be a Shy Soul on FB.

The Followers

I would call them ‘I like you’ people. They like to follow you whatever it may be. For some of them it does not matter if you like their posts or not but they like every bits and pieces of your life. They know almost everything what’s happening in your life. Simply because they like you, genuinely!

Some people are so popular among us that what ever their status or photos or video or comment may be, you will see many likes and comments from their followers. Even if someone posts ‘I just had a morning tea in the evening’, ya that’s true. LoL.

If you have this type of friends in your list, it’s a true blessing and they can make you popular too. I like them not simply because they follow me but they are not bothered if I like their posts or not.

I would say, we should give a treat to this type of people by liking their comment and become their followers as a reward.

The Chameleons

As the name suggests they change colours so frequently that it would be difficult to recognise what actually they are. They change their profile picture and update the status so frequently that it looks like English subtitles in a Chinese movie. They bring something new every time, even they change their opinions so often that their friends might think what these guys are doing. However, because of the varieties of profile photos, humour, funny status and other interesting things they bring on board, I must admit their talent. If there is a talent hunt for FB users then this type of users may win the race.

But anyways, due to new and interesting things they bring to FB, I would like to keep these friends. Would you?

Noisy Neighbours

Ah, in a FB environment, these are the friends (very few indeed but there are some) sometimes annoy you the most and you might feel that if they are in front of you (I don’t want to say but) then what you might do to them.

Most of the times, you don’t see many updates from them. You may also feel that they are in silent mode until they give you a shock by making a silly comment on your status or very nice photo.

It does not take much time for such a friend to become a problem in a neighbourhood. The funny part is you cannot get rid of them, simply because you know them very well and you don’t want to create any problem in the relationship, whatever it may be. It’s not a good thing to do a bitching about them and I advise you to avoid that.

There is nothing much you can do about it. Even a reaction will get you backfired, so be careful.

What should you do?

Let me think…

I think, it will be wise that you become silent and don’t react or reply because they can sound a siren even in a ‘No Sound’ zone. LoL.

Helping Hands

I love them the most and they remain the best people to have in my friends list. They are good at heart and you will see no evil activities from them. More precisely this type of people are volunteer in nature and always ready to help others without any expectations or rewards. You just have to shout in your wall and you will get some useful tips or information.

I remember one incident that at the time of our independent research paper for master’s, many of us had to conduct a research. At that time few of my friends requested to help in a survey to be conducted online and lot of my friends actually posted in their wall asking their friends to help getting enough number of surveys. So cool.

Whenever I posted on FB asking for any help, no body replied or helped.

No no, I kid, I kid.

I got many help from most of my friends on FB and in real life. That’s why I love them. Keep in your mind that never hurt (not even by a mistake) this type of friends, they are the real treasures in your life. Hold them securely.

News Nuggets

No need to go to time.com, news.bbc.co.uk, rediff.com, mashable.com, techcunch.com, cnn.com or news.google.com to get the stories, just wait for the news updates throughout a day from the people called News Nuggets. It will save a lot of your time because you get most of the breaking and not-breaking stories from around the world at your doorstep I mean wall-step!

This type of people have all the time of the world and they are so passionate about spreading the news to their friends. You will come to know about all sorts of things like upcoming iPad3, iPhone5, Windows8, Kindle Fire as well as what’s happening in Libya, Syria, Eghpt, Palestine or what Wikileaks is leaking next!

The best you could do is to put them into a list and check updates from them  every morning. That’s your RSS kinda news reader feed, ROFL!

Apps Lovers

They act like the players on the moon. I wonder why people are so addicted to games and apps. I play some of the games likes Angry Birds, Need-for-Speed and Delta Force on PC but nothing excites me on Facebook. May be I should start playing some!

They want to play every other game that FB has to offer from FarmVille to The Sims Social and CityVille to Texas Hold’em. Sometimes they also like funny apps like ‘what is your number, today?’, ‘how lucky are you, today?’, ‘what is your future this week?’ and ‘how much sexy are you, today?’, LOL.

One day I logged in to Facebook and found that I had more than 10 notifications, I was curious to see what are they? All of them were games and apps request from my friends, Fish!

Have you faced the similar situation, I am sure you do, don’t lie. We don’t want to do anything with this type of users because we may be one of them, I kid. In sort you can hide any updates you wish from a particular app, so that’s a relief.

Surprise Shiners

These are the people who are in silent mode (most of the time) watching the live updates from their friends and wait for the right time to roll the dice. There are number of incidents when I have seen someone posted something interesting and gets overwhelming responses from friends. That’s the reason I call them Surprise Shiners.

It is their characteristic to surprise the FB people in number of ways such as posting a hilarious video, personal family photo, social message, birthday or wedding updates etc. We mostly like this type of friends because they bring something exciting or spread good feelings.

On my 7th marriage anniversary, I posted a picture of me and my wife back from our wedding day and to my surprise I received more than 50 comments and likes. It does not make me Surprise Shiner but just want to share with you that you can celebrate an occasion on FB too, so exclusively.

If you want to become a Surprise Shiner, I encourage you to post something meaningful that can touch the heart. Apart from normal updates, I like achievement news, the most. Whatever you like the most, post them the most.

Hard Blowers

As per their characteristics they keep firing at the wrong target, even if no one listens or notices. Sometimes I feel pity on them because there is nothing wrong what they posts but it somehow does not catch the attention of their friends.

Who can understand the feeling of these people but me? As I used keep posting even no one used to like or comment. Situation is better now and I have overcome the challenge by learning what to post and what not to.

Hard Blowers may be feeling frustrated by not getting noticed but they have to think, prepare and post sensible in order to make them seen and respected by others. I think, there is lot of hard work to be done by these guys.

Blind Bees

Clicking on everything is like their hobby. Blind Bees have a great command on Like, Comment, Share and Status Update! As the name suggests, they follow almost everything they come across, they like almost everything, they share almost everything and they comment on almost everything. The alternative name I can think for them is ‘everything, everytime, everywhere’.

The purpose of their action is not even known to them but still they continue to like every page, every comment, every photo they come across. Clicking becomes an addiction for them. They feel so excited that they even do not spare the ads, LOL.

Once their updates start, you will not have a chance to see other friends’ updates. They hide everyone’s update (unintentionally ofcourse) and that’s the most annoying part. There is a solution to deal with this type of friends. Rather than blocking or doing ‘unfriend’, you can hide some or all posts from them. Bingo!

Social behaviour

Explosion of Expressions and Emotions

“A principle is the expression of perfection, and as imperfect beings like us cannot practice perfection, we devise every moment limits of its compromise in practice.”

– Mohandas Ghandhi

Social behaviour

As human beings we are often characterised as a social species because of our ability to feel emotions and react accordingly. Our intuition is highly coupled with social cognition that is what we use with our observations to behave in our day to day life. It is according to social science that our expressions and emotions play important roles to regulate our social behaviour.

Different behaviour on social network

On social networking websites like Facebook people’s social behaviour could be different because of no-face-to-face interaction and restricted or controlled environment.

The interactions between FB users can be said to be of human-computer-human type where one person starts interacting with computer by posting something and it is processed and displayed by a website which is then accessed by another user based on his/her perception, interest and influence of the content or writer.

If one friend has posted a joke of your interest then you are most likely to like that post or comment on it but if you don’t like then you may not hesitate to say it’s a bad joke or criticise that post.

I have also experienced a number of occasions when I behaved with my friends little differently while on Facebook rather than meeting them face-to-face. For example, I had an argument with a friend who objected my view on one of the posts and I had to defend. It went on up to tens of comments until both of us realized that it’s enough now as there cannot be the end of the discussion. If we had the same argument face-to-face, it would not have gone that far because of the involvement of facial and body language.

Every FB user has its own characteristics of expressing emotions but one thing remains common is that the distance which I think is the most influential factor on us that we sometimes become explosive about what we express emotionally while on Facebook or any other social networking sites.

The classic example is commenting on someone’s photo on FB that ‘you are looking gorgeous’. Some people would not have said it face-to-face (feeling shy or for whatever reason) but since it’s a virtual world it gives a motivation to make such an intimate comment on a friend’s wall (mostly female).

Influence of others’ expressions and emotions

How many times have you criticised a bad post just because everyone is commenting on it? May be few times, ya. I used to do such thing initially just to get some influence and on return, my posts used to get criticised quite often, tit for tat, ha ha.

In my opinion, girls often receive personal messages for guys for not replying a friend request but don’t get too emotional or anxious. She may not want to be your friend and don’t be a jerk sending messages again and again because you will be blocked for sure.

There are a number of incidents when users may have joined any group or supported a cause or accepted an invitation for a party just because they have been too overwhelming with emotions. It isn’t about controlling emotions but just flowing with the flow of the river.

I have seen in some cases where people including myself and some of my friends have posted something by seeing someone else’s post. For example: wishing a friend on his/her birthday just after knowing that many friends have wished, greeting your friends about friendship day as soon as you come to know that it’s a friendship day etc.

If we think that Facebook is impacting people’s social skills in a good way then there are chances that people try to be nice on Facebook too. If a guy or a girl is of good character, he or she is likely to express in a better manner. However, there are few people who do not care what they post and end up posting something in-appropriate (PG-13, R or NC-17 ratings) which may be appropriate for them but not for other readers. So be careful to post such a thing because your friends may think you are going mad with the explosive expression of your emotion.

Indecent behaviour

You may be aware about recent stories which are reported in the media about students abusing teachers as well as teachers having secret conversations with students on FB. Schools are issuing notices to teachers for laying the grounds of acceptable internet practices and to students who behave in an abusive manner.

One recent horrifying incident that shaken me about a student ended her life by committing suicide after her boyfriend ended their relationship on Facebook. It has been reported that her boyfriend’s Facebook comment about being “relieved” and “feeling cool” after dumping his girlfriend made her upset.

I just want you to be aware that indecent behaviour on Facebook or any other social networking site can cause such a big problem so be careful what you comment and share.

Better be careful

Not all the time but in some occasions, emotions hold-us, disturb us or overwhelm us in their grip. We normally translate or share our real life stories and behaviours in a virtual world of social networks like Facebook but sometimes explosive expressions could lead to an impulsive behaviour, misuse of identity, rudeness, abuse, bullying and improper language.

I don’t know what makes people post offensive or insensitive things on Facebook but it could lead to a danger and can be a criminal offense. So I advise you to be extra careful about expressing your emotions on Facebook or any other social networking sites.

Human nature and jealousy

It can make you jealous

“There are some things at which we ought to feel angry.”

– Aristotle

Human nature and jealousy

Some people are more jealous, some are less but there could be no incident when we have not been jealous in our entire life. It is sometimes linked to our self-importance or ego and that’s why it’s difficult to avoid.

Every day we look at the world in a certain way which involves specific attitudes and emotions. A person who is experiencing emotion will have some sort of belief about it: positive or negative, dangerous or insulting. When there is something wrong with our rational assessment of the emotions, we will have wrong reactions. This along with other reasons such as frequent neglect and lack of appreciation often creates jealousy.

Facebook fuels Jealousy

Do you know why Facebook is so popular? I don’t know exactly but I can make a guess. It could be because people are more interested in others life. This whole social networking thing has increased our interest in other people’s profiles, isn’t it?

Some of the social networking sites, Facebook in particular is an incredible online tool for building strong friendships and relationships that also provides freedom to its users to view the friend’s friends list, photos, comments and personal information (unless they hide it). We may not admit it but I can be sure that many of us (including myself) have seen some unknown person’s profile. The objective of this behaviour could be anything from curiosity to jealously.

A new research by University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada finds that Facebook fuels jealousy and suspicion in romantic relationships. Interestingly, in the study respondents also revealed that they could not resist being on social networking sites. They were also tempted to monitor their partner’s page, so mean!

I guess when people are in a relationship the tendency of jealousy is like to increase. It sometimes becomes a loop where tit-for-tat rule applies. I mean if one partner reveals some personal information, the other will to do the same thing, which likely to incite jealousy. Now I realized why my relative was abandoned using FB by his wife.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are in a relationship, would they be jealous?

Well, I don’t know, only they can reveal.

Look, who is stalking

Well, jealousy triggers are not new. Even when you are offline and see your ex with someone else more attractive, you are most likely to be jealous. The main difference between an offline social circle and Facebook is the easy access to information. We are exposed to more information on Facebook. I often wonder why people disclose more and more information on Facebook which may not be necessary. But now I understand the reason, it simply because they want to become more popular, a study discloses.

When you are in a relationship, all the FB activities of your partner can be monitored easily and no one will come to know that you did stalking on one’s profile.

I came across of a story where one girl and boy separated as one of them had to move to a new job in another city. They used to call every day and also exchanged ‘I love yous’. One day that girl thought of seeing his face on FB because she was missing him too much (a chocolate did not help that time). She started seeing photos one by one and found many pictures of girls partying with him. She was not jealous type but those photos and distance relationship made her think like that. She started stalking his profile every day. Luckily it was all sorted out by both of them and their relationship survived.

Social networking spying

Is Facebook destroying a relationship? Well, no comment on that but if you are not careful enough then it certainly affects. Facebook is changing the way we do relationships. It has become a fashion and it is very hard for youngster to stay away from it. As I said earlier we share a lot of information which everyone can see it.

You may be wondering what is ‘social networking spying’. Let me tell you a real incident of one of my friends. He went to an interview in London and suddenly the interviewer asked him that “you use Facebook and Linked in but you are not using ‘Orkut’ and Twitter, why?” He was surprised to know that that employer got all the information before the interview. Moral of the story is that you have to be nice even on social network because you never know who is spying on you. A cruel world out there!

It may be a nature of the Facebook that actually creates suspiciousness. Spying on Facebook is really easy, open, legal and anonymous. So couple may be tempted to spy on their partner but I swear never did. Do you?

It’s not only a couple or employers or friends who spy on other but parents also spy on their children’s profile to make them safer, so that that can use FB safely5. I think that is a good thing and I highly recommend because of the increased usage of FB among kids.

Envy you

Have you ever felt envious towards your friends or someone else on Facebook? Yes, no, maybe? I did. I felt envious of my friends for a number of times. Sometimes I told them and sometimes I hid my emotions.

One of my friends travels a lot, a lot means a lot. So far he travelled more than 90 countries (that’s about 48% of total countries in the world). It came natural to me that I envy him and I said in a comment to his photo too.

Another time I got envious when my friend bought a new BMW car. I always wanted to own a BMW and I don’t have it so I became the envy to my friend. Never mind, I will have a BMW one day!

I am sure that you may have become the envy of your friends sometimes when you see them partying or travelling or going to a movie or shopping without you.

It’s not a jealousy; it’s a natural emotion which we express because sometimes, some of the things we can’t do or can’t have even if we wish.

It may spark anger in you

Anger is bad and it makes us sad too. Think for a few seconds that why we become angry. It is because anger is an emotional response to a situation that we feel may cause harm to our well-being. Anger can also be caused by frequent negligence and lack of appreciation.

Just because we are in the virtual world of FB, does not mean that it can’t make you angry. I can tell you about number of occasions which have the potential of making you angry.

Did you face a situation where your friend commented saying that you are wrong or whatever your view is nonsense? If you do, that will make you little angry, wouldn’t it? That’s because you have all right to express your opinion but if someone does not agree, he or she should not make other’s opinion wrong.

Another situation that can create angriness when you posted something nice and no one notices but the same people are commenting on other’s updates. One day you bought a new home and it was your first happy home. You posted a picture with all the excitements that your friends will say you congratulations but no, nothing happens and your photo is still uncommented and not liked by a single person. Such a pity!

Better safe than worry

Have you ever asked by your girlfriend or boyfriend (after seeing the photos of your last night party) that why did you kiss someone on cheek when I was not with you? What’s going on? We trust each other, how could you do this to me. In that case you will have to explain those photos to your boyfriend or girlfriend. So be careful of this friendly behaviour, picture posting and poking on Facebook, it can lead you to a trouble because of jealousy.

Anyways, there could be tens of other reasons which can make you angry on FB but what I suggest is to make a balance, control your emotion and don’t get excited after posting something and don’t wait for someone to comment or like. This can at least make you less angry.

Facebook Safety

Are you Secure?

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”

– John Allen Paulos

Facebook’s promise

It is very obvious that security and privacy issues may arise while maintaining large number of data of millions of records every day. However at FB, user’s safety is more important than anything else. The main idea behind the Facebook is to give control over the information being shared and still protecting privacy which is TRUSTe certified.

As a FB user I am always concerned about the security of my personal data whether it is my password or any other information I share with my friends and to public. Because of more and more people are joining every day, it became more vulnerable for wrongdoers who see the social networking platform as a source where they can make money by information gathering or spread malware by posting links or via apps.

To curb the wrongdoers Facebook is committed to creating a comfortable sharing environment for everyone by making sure that passwords and accounts are safe online. A special privilege has also been given to the users for better reporting of inappropriate behaviour and at the same time making sure of removing information that violates FB terms and community standards.

In the recent times, FB attracted many cyber criminals who targeted FB to steal information or promoting fake things. To make it more secure FB strives to find out any security loopholes by rewarding security experts and hackers who help finding a bug. One of the hackers has been awarded $7,000 for finding several serious bugs.

It seems they are striving to keep us safe but remember safety is a coordinated effort and we as users have to cooperate with FB to make it a safer environment for all of us.

Problem of privacy

We normally use FB every day without thinking about our online privacy but are we really protected by FB? Do we really have our privacy on FB? Before answering the question, I want you to think that how many times you have received unwanted spam messages and clicked them thinking that it will ‘win you a price’ or ‘it’s a good deal’ or some interesting ‘video about boy spying a naked girl’.

There are also numbers of ways where third parties can access your information without you realizing it. I have seen many of my friends are using some unknown applications that show love match, today’s lucky number, future or mood. I often receive many invitations to use them but I am reluctant to go to those apps because it gives access to the third parties about my personal information which I don’t intend to provide.

Without realizing, while playing popular games, answering puzzles or using other apps, you may have also authorised third party that gets your profile information3.

Facebook has privacy settings but every time they make changes it adds up some issues. Most of us know basic privacy control but I wonder that how many of us know its advance settings. Every day millions of objects including personal information are being shared on FB without a second thought of getting it misused and that’s why it is better to have proper privacy management4. Check link #11 from the Chapter-13 about how stay safe on FB.

Risk of identity fraud

A couple of weeks before, I came across to a profile of Bollywood actor who has thousands of friends in his list. One of my friends got excited by finding that profile and suddenly sent a friend request. I was surprised to know that after a few moments, it was approved. I mean why in the world a popular actor will spend approving thousands of friends and keep replying to the comments.

I hope you got the point that the profile was a fake. It’s not a new thing when a male user creates a FB profile of a girl and attracts few users and flirt with them.

It can happen to you as well. How will you react if someone pretends to be you on the internet? It’s a shocker, right? I don’t know why people do such stupid things but they have various motives which vary from having fun, create problems for others, steal private information or do financial frauds.

Don’t be surprised to know that according to a recent study by CPPGroup third of FB users are using personal information in their passwords or their profile contains information such as date of birth and mother’s maiden name. This claim really increases the risk of identity frauds which could allow a fraudster to access online financial accounts by resetting passwords.

Hijacked: suspicious account access

We can’t deny that Facebook may be susceptible to various types of attack that could lead someone to hijack your account while you are accessing app, game or another website.

Recently, in a shocking and worrying news concerned me as well as many other FB users when iDefence, a VeriSign unit found that one hacker was selling 1.5 million FB accounts on an underground hacker forum for $25-45 per 1000 accounts. This concern of accounts being hijacked is already acknowledged by FB but we don’t know how safe are we?

In money transfer scams cyber criminals play dirty tricks by acting as your friend in need but they are not indeed. They use chat or status updates claiming that you are stuck in a remote place and need assistance and money. So if you come across of such things, report it to Facebook for further investigations.

One good thing I like is that you can report any abuse or hacked account to FB and they will take care of the rest. Facebook also challenges log-ins from unfamiliar places. You may have been redirected when you tried to access FB from new place or new device. This is a checkpoint which checks and informs the user about how, when and from where your account is being accessed, so you can protect it from being hijacked.

Clickjacking: don’t be a victim

Everyday hundreds of users on FB become victims of ‘Clickjacking’ attacks. This is how it happens. Users normally see links suggesting ‘Champions league match in HD’, ‘Twilight star’s phone number’ or ‘Justin Bieber’s email id’, which they end up liking or clicking. The trick is to trap user with a click on a website so that it can start an action such as malware download, some sort of phishing attack or money transfer scams. Beware of such traps.

Some critics say that teens are the most vulnerable on FB but let me tell you that even I was not spared when I became a victim. One day I saw a link of video about dance and as soon as I clicked it was something else. The scary part was that it appeared on my profile updates to other friends. I did not know but one friend told me that “what are you posting on FB, grow up.” I said “come on buddy, what I did?” He replied “look at your profile.” Upon seeing that post, I was shocked. I could not believe that without posting by me, just by clicking a link from someone’s post, that link appeared on my profile updates. What the fish.

Quite similarly, I received an update on my screen that one of my friends has shared a porn link. What a porn link on FB? What the hack? Yes, I thought the same thing plus I also thought that he gone mad for sure with such a stupid behaviour. When I contacted him on chat, he said “I did not post it; I never do such silly thing.” Then I realized that he too was a victim of spammers.

Not only the links but you can be a victim of anything which you have never thought of. I can give another incident when a friend of mine posted a link of blogspot displaying ‘beautiful girls from India’. He also mentioned that the photos of those girls have been unknowingly stolen from their FB profiles and uploaded without their knowledge and consent. What a shame on wrongdoers.

Stay safe: what you should hide

Staying safe on FB should be your priority. While we are on FB, we expose ourselves without even noticing that it could lead to dangers of our information shared with third parties, malware may be downloaded through FB ads, fake profiles may harm us, friends may make you vulnerable or FB changes affect our privacy settings.

All these dangers are on the rise since the growth of FB. It’s not only the responsibility of FB to provide us the security and privacy but our precautions and alertness can also make our online experience safer and comfortable. We all should remember that ‘it’s always better safe than worry’.

To protect ourselves from fraudsters and spammers very first thing you should do is enable the secure browsing (https://) from security settings.

The next best thing to do is to update privacy settings and check who can look at your profile and contact information? Who can send you a friend request? Who can send you FB message? And who can post on your wall? Check every option.

Some other tips you can do such as: unfriend with someone you don’t like, block someone from sending you a message or friend request and report abusive behaviour and offensive contents to FB1.

You really need to control who sees your information most importantly your contact information. I normally hide personal information from public and allowing only my friends to see all contact information including IM, phone, address, website, hometown and email.

I wish you all safe Facebooking. Cheers!

Photo sharing: an obsession

Photo Obsession

Photo sharing: an obsession

On our trip to Barcelona, Spain in the month of Jan, 2010, wife used to tell me “have you came here for enjoying the place or just to take photographs?” I used to reply “darling, these photos are for Facebook, I want to upload them and let my friends know that I have travelled in the Europe”, seriously I ain’t kidding.

Photos give you an interesting view on what’s happening around you and sometimes you can say more with photos than words. On social networks including Facebook, the motivation and desire of sharing photos could be mainly to show your friends that you are not left behind. I think it’s a good thing that we share important parts of our lives though photos.

I used to be a painter (in my childhood) and I am not a pro-photographer but it is my obsession to share photos on Facebook and other social network Orkut (that I used to use) whenever I do something new whether it is playing tennis with friends, shopping, visiting a new place like Isle of Wight, eating something, playing golf, partying at the club with friends, enjoying a snow in the UK or hanging out with my classmates. I never missed a chance!

250+ million photos a day! Yes you heard me right, that’s the number of photos on average we all FB users upload every day1. Whether it’s a weekday or weekend, daily we normally see tens or hundreds of photos floating around our FB screen.

What should I tell you?

I have seen some photos that made me think, what the heck? Yes, dear reader, I know it sounds like crazy but people even don’t spare just-born babies whose eyes are not ready for the click. There are people on this planet who can post their baby-in-womb or first-night bedroom photos on FB. Totally insane!

Since I have started using FB, I have observed that initially not many of my friends used to share photos but gradually the rate of upload increased rapidly. Some friends post funny pictures, some post their travel photos but believe me, you may find a person who never uploaded a photo to the internet but still motivated to share photos on Facebook.

Once I take some pictures and until I don’t upload them on FB, I fell unconscious most of the time. However that state of my mind is improved now and I am not much obsessed but some of my friends are.

That’s the magical obsession of photo sharing on FB. How about you? Have you ever felt that way?

Have you bought a new high quality camera?

He used to upload lots of photos but of average quality. Suddenly, one day I found that his photos are of high quality. I realized that he must have bought a good quality camera. When I asked him, he confirmed that he bought new Nikon SLR camera. Wow! He is none other than one of my relatives.

When I started my MBA in Sept 2010, I had a normal Nokia phone which I had for more than a year and I did not require any high end camera at that time. Then after a few months, I bought a new HTC Windows Phone with 8mp camera, thinking that it will help me capture good quality pictures which I can share on FB and feel good, Lol.

I know it sounds crazy that one can go at the peak of the photo obsession which encourages expensive camera purchase. Many of my friends became photographers and   now they have their own websites where people can go and see their art. They must have bought expensive cameras too!

I am pretty sure that many of you must have bought high-end cameras just because of the influence of sharing photos on FB? Have you?

If someone says I like to take photographs, I think its bullsh**. Believe me, it’s nothing but a race to share photos on FB so that people can like them. Let me justify that sentence: when they bought new cameras, you will see many photos on FB but gradually why they stop uploading so frequently? Have people stopped admiring good pictures? I don’t think so.

Love getting comments but is there anyone commenting?

“Wow, nice picture”, “she (I mean baby) is so cute”, “super like, this photo”, “ah! You look gorgeous”, “that’s funny, Lol”, “lovely place and lovely photos, where is this place?”,  “Amazing, I love this pic” and “omg, we had so much fun at last night’s party!!!!”. All the above statements are comments that we love receiving on our FB photos. If you ever posted a picture on FB then you are most likely to like to have comments on your photos. That’s a natural desire of every FB user.

Do you know that most of our time on FB goes to see photograph of others? Yes, that’s true however we still keep uploading and checking our photos with the anticipation that someone will post a comment. Comments can be good, an appreciation or bad. Whatever it may be but there should be some comments because lot of people will be attracted to that photo and you are likely to gain popularity.

Most of the times when I post or share someone else’s photo, I will be waiting to receive many likes and comments but that does not happen always as expected. The most uncertain part is that your photo updates may be lost because of the real-time updates on the screen. So when your best friend who always comments or likes your photo wakes up in different time zones, your updates are likely to go to the older posts.

Another frustrating part is that despite you are not a photographer and you have put lots of efforts taking good picture but as soon as you post them, no one comments or even likes your photo, ssshhhh! Even more frustrating part is your friends like the similar photos from another friend but not yours. What the hack?

Anyways, I just want to say that you can overcome with the frustration of not getting Likes or comments on your FB page. Stay cool and maybe peace upon you!

Tag-Story and photo abuse

We like to tag people on our photos but sometimes we don’t like to get tagged.

Have you ever thought, why?

That’s because you may not wish people to know what you did last summer, I mean last night. When someone tags you, the photo becomes visible on your profile however you can remove your tag as well as prevent it from posting on your profile.

Tagging is a good way of expressing that you like your friends on Facebook. It gives you more popularity if more people Like and comment on your photos. The only matter of worry is that you have to be careful while tagging your friends and at the same time you have to keep watching that who is tagging you. It’s because no one wants to get tagged in an unflattering photo that reveals a secret about them. For example: if you had hangout party with your friends without your girlfriend, you may not want her or world to know what you did at that party.

With this tagging thing, you simply have to be careful because some extraordinary information on FB like profile, friends list, preferences, location, comments and relationship can be used for unintended purposes. I have given an example that photos of beautiful girls from India (captured from public profiles of FB) were circulating on without their intention or willingness. If you shared a tagged photo publicly then there is a high risk that your photo may be abused by wrongdoers.

In a strange case, a father of 12 year girl sues FB over suggestive photos posted by her. He argued that FB is not suitable for under-18s and it did not do any strong check to prevent under-13s out of FB. His solicitor also argued that these photos along with personal information on the profile will create a risk of sexual or physical harm from child sex abusers and FB should face legal action for ‘Guilty of negligence’4. I see a reasonable argument from a father but at the same time as a parent he should be more careful and put parental control on her for using FB.

So play safe with this photo tagging things and in case if you are a parent I advise you watch your child’s act on FB so that you can prevent any harmful act by others.

A photo will take you there

I mentioned earlier that one of my friends has travelled more than 90 countries in the world. He is a travel freak, I must say. No wonder that he likes to upload lots of travel pictures and envy us.

With millions of photos uploaded to FB every day, it becomes a popular platform for travel advertising. When you see adventurous photos of your friends who travelled Niagara Falls or Las Vegas (USA), Gold Cost (AUS), Taj-Mahal (IND), Ferrari world (UAE) or a Safari (Kenya), you are most likely to think at least once that I want to go there (if you never been there). This powerful influence takes you to the places which you never thought of visiting.

Facebook encourages you to travel abroad where your friends already visited. As per the survey by Skyscanner polling 52% of the participants were inspired to book a holiday after seeing the pictures of their friends who visited that place.

It’s not hype and you may not believe but it’s true. I know many of my friends travelled to Europe after they happened to see pictures of their friends on FB. Even I was inspired to visit by one of the photos of my friend who visited Bath and Stonehenge (UK).

So, it can be true that a picture can be worth of thousand words.

Can we disable photo comments?

I wish we could but it seems at the moment we can’t disable the comments or likes on our photos once we uploaded them on FB.

FB is like an addiction and you may see many spammer apps and users who may misuse the tagging features for you. If you have shared your photo to the public then everyone can make a comment on it but instead you can choose to share photos only to your friends. This action is likely to reduce spam or unwanted comments from the world.

Not everyone likes their photos to be liked or commented especially when a friend tagged you in his/her photo without your knowledge. This could be annoying. Due to the flexibility of liking/commenting on photos, many people are crying on FB blog that ‘please change it back’, ‘I don’t like that’, ‘there is no privacy on FB’ etc.

Instead, another way is to turn ‘Tag review’ on and ‘Tag suggestion’ off in ‘How tags works’ at privacy settings. This will most likely to prevent your photos being tagged by anybody and will require your approval before they appear on your profile.

Thank god! FB won’t sell your photos

As Facebook becoming an important part of our lives, we tend to share more and more photos with our friends and to the public. One thing worries me that what can FB do with millions of photos? Can they be used commercially? Well, I don’t know exactly but I doubt that if your photos or any other contents are shared publicly then advertisers may start using them for commercial use.

FB keeps updating terms of service and says that it does not have rights to show your photos and other contents outside your friends list. It even does not have ownership over the contents of the users. I would say if that is the case then the only thing we have to be careful about it to have strong security and privacy settings.

I think you and I can relax about our photos on FB thinking that FB won’t sell them. What’s your thought? You can share your opinion with me and other readers on FB page of the book.

Facebook Etiquette

Be Good or in worst case go to jail

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”

– Confucius

Facebook is great for keeping in touch with friends, family and co-workers but that do not mean that people can post offensive or insensitive things. The consequences of posting these kinds of updates, videos or pictures can lead to abuse, loss of friendship or loved one, criminal offense, robbery, murder, kidnaps or loss of job. Keep in mind that it’s easy to maintain the decent behaviour with the right kind of attitude on social networks.

Oh not again: don’t annoy me

I hate you, like I don’t love you. Yes, there are few dorks out there on FB who don’t understand that someone does not want to talk to them. It’s fine putting a wall status that no one checks or a photo that no one sees or a video that no one views but to annoy one of your friends is a worst thing on FB, one can do.

Let me tell you my story: first, he sent me a message asking for a help. He wanted to know some technical stuff and I gave him the answers. Then he sent another message asking me to become his friend because he is from my hometown and knows my parents. I accepted his friend, request. After a few days, he started commenting on my photos as if he knows me very well and I know him too but I don’t. Most of his comments were not liked by me so I opted him out (I mean, unfriend). Even after he sent me another message saying that “I don’t know why you discard me”. I said to myself that he is for the recycle bin only, LoL.

One freak did the similar thing to my friend. After their break-up, he continued sending FB message and chat requests. It may be fine if it’s a normal friendly conversation but not emotional blackmailing. She was very upset and annoyed by his behaviour. Finally, she had no other choice but to block him. I don’t know what was the problem with him is but he should not have annoyed her.

Another guy is my friend’s friend and he likes every photo and comments on every update posted by her. My friend openly communicated that she does not like his comments but he won’t stop. Do you have someone who annoys you on Facebook? If yes, I know how you must be feeling (block’em) and if no, you are a lucky chap.

In this life everything doesn’t happen as we wish. Some of the things we can’t control. We have to overcome emotionality at some point of time. Live and let live!

So, it happens that you meet all kind of people in life but there should be some decent behaviour on FB otherwise you will end up by the block-a-person action, trash.

Disciplined: students and teachers

Facebook is hugely popular among students and it is seen during recent times that the young generation is floating on FB like anything. FB provides us with the environment so that we can share almost anything however that does not mean that someone should not respect teacher.

It happened like this: one student of an Indian school got angry and started a thread on FB because his match teacher gave him low grades. But he forgot that school can watch him on FB also. A week later, one of the faculty members found those comments and reported to the management. Authority was shocked by this kind of behaviour by student and his 15 other friends. They described those comments as rude, abusive and undisciplined. Finally, all 16 students received 3 months of suspension and meeting with parent of each one of them1. Lesson learned.

In a similar case, few girls from a school in Nevada, USA invited more than hundred students on Facebook to plan an attack on teachers during ‘Teacher Day’ event. School principal found from a parent of one girl that six girls responded to online threats against specific teachers. As a result six girls got arrested. Upon asking, the girls said it was a joke. But authority still punished them with suspension of 3-5 days after releasing them from a custody2.

In general, it is true that teachers are more disciplined than students but not all of them. There was one incident where a primary teacher in Wales, UK stole photos of a child from FB and tricked her ex-boyfriend claiming that she has given a birth to his baby. Her boyfriend believed until a friend of him found the true identity of a child. It was then reposted to police and Teaching Council banned her for two years from teaching3.

“I know its Facebook and it’s out of school hours” said a mother of one of the students who have been called ‘inbred’ and ‘thick’ on a Facebook conversation by three teachers of a school in Hull, UK. Parents were disgusted and disappointed by this irresponsible behaviour by teachers. The governor launched an enquiry for inappropriate comments but parents already lost the respect for those students4. There is no update on what happened after the enquiry but I believe that those teachers should be disciplined.

So, it does not matter if someone is a student or teacher, they will be disciplined if caught by posting abusive contents on FB.

Jailed

By now, you must have understood that you should be very careful when posting personal information and inappropriate contents on FB. It could break friendships, create trouble in marriage, loss of job or even take you to jail if you are a wanted fugitive.

You may be thinking that how a post or photo on FB can get a person arrested? I was thinking the same until I came across with the news of capturing a mobster through his girlfriend’s FB photo.

He was an Italian gangster, who was on run since 2003 and wanted on charges of drug trafficking and mafia activity. One day his pregnant girlfriend posted two photographs of her for her family and friends to see. Later she sent him an email that birth is about to occur. When the gangster made a visit to that place, the police were already planned, and present there. Finally, he got arrested. It all went wrong because of that silly photo upload to FB by his girlfriend5. So strange but true!

One morning a town clerk in Ashburton, UK, noticed that a strimmer and chainsaw were missing from his shed. After the incident his son put the details of the burglary on FB and requested to provide any information about the thief. Within hours, two people reported that a man is selling the items which he suddenly got. The clerk phoned that man asking that he is interested in buying them and fixed a meeting in a car park. He also alerted the police. When the man arrived there with stolen items, he was captured by an officer. That’s how our clerk got his items back and thief was convicted6. This whole story reveals that how one can catch a victim using FB. Of course, it requires proper planning and carefulness.

I don’t want to terrify you but this one is the worst case I have ever come across. It happened like this: one 16-yo girl borrowed £50 from her friends. Few days later the gang of her friends took her hostage for an unpaid debt, locked her in a cupboard and punched. As this was not enough, they took her to Crystal Palace Park, London (UK) and made her stripped and pictured. Those nude pictures were posted on FB. The victim was so terrified that she even tried to commit suicide. But thank god, the gang had to pay the price of humiliations and faced jailed sentences.

What you should not do on FB

You may be thinking that Facebook is open place and you can post anything you like then you may be wrong. One high school teacher thought the same thing when she posted about how much she hated her job. She wrote her grievance on her FB wall and refereed parents of students as “arrogant and snobby” and students as “germ bags”, goss. She was tempted to write anything on FB but did not know that her employer was watching her. As a result she was asked to resign, so bad8. Lesson #1: never post anything on FB or any other social network which hurts your employer.

In a survey by American Matrimonial Lawyers, 81% of the people who files divorce case found/used evidence from social networking sites and FB is the at number one place. I am not advising you to have an affair but if you do because of crazy stupid love then you may not want to post it on FB1. Lesson #2: never disclose proof of affair anywhere online. I know you will not but there is a proof that some people do, may be unknowingly!

This one is a real incident. (I already mention in Chapter-4 but it’s important to bring it here). A few posts by an MBA student took a girl’s life when she saw his posts on his FB wall that he was “relieved” and feeling “cool” after dumping her. Lesson #3: do not post anything abusive to your girlfriend once your relationship is over. Be a man!

I heard from somewhere that in one of the college, a guy posted something abusive about community and culture which he hated. Someone complained and he got warning from police that if he continue posting in such abusive language he will face police action as he was being monitored. Similarly, if you are angry with your ex and you possess some private photos, don’t post in on FB. It could give you trouble. Lesson #4: do not post anything in abusive language for anybody (your ex, community, religion, friends etc.).

There could be number of other incidents where people got into trouble but you have to remember that someone out there could be spying on your profile that could be a real danger. For example, posting about expensive items or going away from home could pose real danger of being harmed by a criminal.

Facebook Trends

Trends and Revolutions

“He who controls the social messaging will control the revolution.”

– Jeffrey Alexander

Trends spread faster

Whenever there is something happening in the real world, you may see tons of photos, posts and videos being floated on FB. At that time it looks like everyone is following someone who has started the trend.

For me, it is not very difficult to remember the famous dates for famous day but it is not always in my mind and I may miss the events as they approach. So what I do is as soon as I see someone posted the updates for example about friendship day, I also start posting something like ‘friends forever: happy friendship day to all my friends around the world’, Lol.

The users of FB spend a substantial amount of time online and that is the reason behind the spread of trends faster than we think. Another reason is our tendency to share the information we want others to read on our behalf. There is a race to find and share the information that we think nobody knows or everyone likes or at least someone will appreciate. As a human being, you, I and most of us like to be the first to share interesting information among friend.

This tendency of following/sharing trends makes us followers/broadcasters. I think that is fine because we have to keep the pace with the friends and the world.

One thing I don’t get it that why people wake up suddenly at the time when they see posts about something going on. I know some people who never played cricket but when India won the cricket world cup 2011, they jumped on FB to convey the message.

I can tell you a number of incidents when people followed the trending trend on FB. These are but no limited to Independence Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Halloween Day, Valentines’ Day, New Year etc.

There could be many people among us who simply love to follow the trend, whatever it may be! Do you?

Power of social networks

Internet provides borderless communication and it is also a platform for information sharing among the people by people. The role of television or radio may be significant in the revolutions that took place many years ago but in the 21st century it is evident that all kinds of social media (FB posts, tweets, blogs and videos) played an important and major role in recent trends, events and protests.

The best part of social media is that it works across the international borders and uses the free medium of internet. Facebook in particular works best for sharing the information around the world which can spread like a sound wave within a short time.

Earlier power used to be in the hands of media where it rules the minds of the people and beliefs but it is not the case anymore. The growth and openness of social sharing (thanks to technology) made people come closer in thinking. That is where the power of social network started. This power can make or break any country, political party or company.

In a dramatic example, following his ‘macaca’ remark during a political campaign, a video of a Virginia Senator was widely distributed over the internet as well as on social media and as a result he was defeated in US Senate election 2006. So you can imagine the power of sharing information on the internet and what it can do.

Revolution 2.0 – the Arab uprisings

Nobody knew that 17-Dec-2010 would be the date which started the Revolution 2.0 and the Arab uprise. On that day in the town of Sidi Bouzid, humiliated and dejected by a policewoman, a 23-yo Mohammed Bouazizi set himself and Tunisia on fire in the protest against unemployment. His story spread across the middle-east by Facebook, Twitter and blogs which seem to have inspired hundreds of youth to come out to the streets and protest. Just after the 10 days of his death there was an end to the 23 years of rule by Tunisian president Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali2.

Tunisia movement was watched by the world but it inspired an Egyptian activist and Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim. Soon after a young Egyptian Khaled Said beaten to death by police, Ghonim along with other activists created a Facebook page “We are all Khaled Said” and shared the contents that proved a crucial instrument. He then called for a mass protest on #Jan25 that mobilised Egypt uprising and tumbled Hosni Mubarak’s rule of 29 years. Ghonim said that ‘power of the people is stronger than people in power’. This proves that the birth of Egyptian revolution was on Facebook3.

One leader of the Libyan Youth Movement in the UK said that social media played an important role enabling communication across the Middle-East and it was possible to collect accurate information from people back in Tripoli or Benghazi and share on Facebook or Twitter to thousands of people. Despite the total media blackout, enormous clips of clash between security forces and anti-government protestors in Libya, uploaded to social networking sites including FB. The Arabic news group on FB, a website and a FB page helped protestors to stay in touch and organized. At the end we know the end dictator Muammar Gaddafi2.

In the wake of change, various protests spread to Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Syria and Saudi Arabia. No one can deny the fact that social media enabled the Arab people in freedom of expression where people are seeking democracy of their own terms.

Social change: Anna Hazare awakens India

You have seen how social media sparked the Arab uprising against the dictatorial political system in North Africa and Middle East however in India the situation is a little bit different where the fight is against the corruption at various levels in the government.

During the recent years, India has been rocked and shocked by some higher level of scams that lost billions of tax payers’ money. This angered people who then joined the anti-corruption non-violent movement led by Anna Hazare, a Gandhian and social activist. The use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube really helped the movement to go to the next level which said to be the biggest factor that influenced the youngster and politically uninterested people who came on the streets in the support4.

At every step from Anna’s 12 days fast in Delhi to his arrest and his release to negotiations with the Government of India, Team Anna makes good use of social media and ensures that latest campaign updates are posted on the social network to spread the awareness about bringing strong anti-corruption law called ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’. Their decent website, 13 million phone calls for support, FB page with more than 500,000 likes, Twitter profile, Smartphone apps and blogs certainly widened the protest5.

These examples show that social media can also be used to mobilize the social cause and bring the much needed change in the society.

London riots and #OCCUPYWALLSTREET

If social media is used for a good cause, it will help the society but if it is used for wrongdoing, it harms the society so badly.

“London riots had been organised via social media”, these are the words of UK Prime Minister David Cameron. He also urged that we will do whatever it takes to stop the people who are using social media to spread violence, disorder and criminality. So be aware when the riots kind of things happen, FB and other social networks may be shut down as a preventive measure6.

Many critics would argue that the riots and uprisings are not caused by social media but there is no doubt that anytime, any device and real-time technologies can fuel them when they occur.

There were a few incidents and arrests in the UK at the time of riots with regards to inciting public disorder and burglary. One man from Hastings, UK posted two FB messages: “Let’s start a riot in Hastings. Who is on it?” and “Looting it is then today. Who is up for shopping?” These messages met him with the charge of encouraging offence. So if anyone intends to do something nasty and post it on FB or Twitter, may end up getting arrested like this guy and few others in London, Southampton, Hampshire and Basildon7.

Most of the burglars know the rule that one should not tell anyone or post a picture with stolen stuffs but there are some dear jerks who forgot the rule in that adrenaline rush. Hundreds of youth were seen looting and running down the streets of London with electronics, jewellery, foods and drinks – all stolen. Police claimed that all these looting were organized and encouraged via FB, Twitter, BBM and internet forums8.

London riots and occupy Wall St. are two opposite scenarios where one was harmful to society and later is said to be for the good cause of putting an end to the corporate greed with stronger changes to the financial system. In this protest group of people prepared the social media plan on various mediums including FB, Twitter and blogs. Since 17-Sep-2011, the movement started in New York is getting bigger and spreading in other cities across the world. More and more people (mainly the people who are the victim of corporate greed) are joining the growing protest9.

Future of Facebook revolutions

Though FB and other social media played a significant role in North African revolutions, dictators may not see it as a threat because despite the rise of social network in the Middle East during the recent Arab uprising, the government (e.g. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia) were able to control the situation.

By now most of the governments in uprising countries know what to do when chaos start to spread over social media and the internet. They can simply shutdown everything to minimise the impact. Another concern for revolutionaries could be that officials may also start using social media for increasing awareness and put a stronghold on public opinion.

Not all the countries are highly wired as Egypt and not all the people are on social media but I still believe that social media including Facebook will serve as a positive force and priceless platform for mobilizing activities that can challenge dictator and corruptor status10.

What will happen and how social media will shape the future revolutions that only time can show us.

Facebook Promotion

Social Way of Promoting Online

“Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”

– Mark Zuckerberg

Era of social media marketing

Whenever you are surfing a site and whatever that site may be but you are most likely to find a button which says: hey buddy, we are on Facebook, get connected with us.

Many companies are turning their budget towards social media because it is cost effective way of promoting and reaching mass audience that also has the potential of raising awareness about the brand.

As social media becomes more and more mature, marketing executives are betting big because it helps engaging with customers in real time and thus provides a platform to analyse the consumer behaviour and react accordingly.

In my opinion, a FB page of a brand most likely to bring more loyal customers without expensive spending that is being done on print media and TV. A brand even can have its own video channel on YouTube.

With the rise of Facebook (1.75 billion users), Twitter (145+ million users2) and LinkedIn (500+ million users3) social network advertising revenues to cross $10 billion by 20134. The biggest chunk of this revenue will go to Facebook (the face of social media marketing). No wonder!

The trend shows that fans are also willing to engage with the brands they love on various social media especially Facebook. On brand page customers receive a direct promotion from brand, comments from other users and a chance to get one-on-one with the brand and express themselves.

It looks like everybody is becoming social nowadays and no one wants to be left behind of this ‘social network phenomenon’ and that is why some social media marketers thinks that it is more important to have a presence on social networks than spending on social media advertising.

Understanding expectations of FB users

Gone are those days when some companies used to forget the customers once they sold their products. In the open world of freedom of expression and ‘social pages’, a company has to be very careful while listening to its customers. Voices of customers are becoming louder and louder than ever before, where they can easily & instantly do ‘social share’ and ‘social forward’. That’s why a brand needs to do more while setting up a social page or social account.

We all like brand / community / personal or any other pages on Facebook, some people like tens or hundreds of pages they come across whilst some choosy ones like only few pages, but we all do.

As FB users, we have some expectations, it could be positive if we like a page and negative when we don’t like the page. Some even post negative comments on the page.

A recent research by ExactTarget shows that more than half of the respondents don’t want to be bombarded with ads or any other kind of messages while less than half don’t want companies to access their profile. A third of them have an expectation that they don’t want to be contacted by companies and 20% believes that there is no benefit of linking a page5.

On a positive side, 58% respondents ‘liked’ the page to get exclusive contents, discounts and promotions, 47% ‘liked’ the page to get updates in the news feed, while 38% ‘liked’ the page to share the contents with friends/family/co-workers5.

Another interesting fact emerged that younger fans liked the page just as a way of expressing their likeliness towards the brands whilst older audiences wanted some value in return for liking the brand’s FB page.

Personally, if some brand or company has created an app, I am most likely not to allow them to access my profile but at the same time if it’s a page, I am likely to like it because I am not bothered about collection or misuse of my profile data.

Social branding: engage with FB fans or lose

There is a wise saying: ‘nothing comes free’ and that is also true in the case of ‘FB page & fans’. It is a mutual understanding between a brand (here I mean company, person or community) and FB fans. Both want something in return: a brand wants to increase customer relationship and awareness whilst fans want contents, promotions, news and updates.

Once a brand knows its audiences, it will be easy to target any advertising and promotional activities. FB is a 2-way communication channel, so it does not end once a fan like your page. You have to start engaging with all fans and continue building relationship otherwise the time will come when they won’t like your page or stay inactive, in both the case you will lose the attention.

Facebook is widely being used by most of the marketers and it is here to stay. Brands have to engage with FB users with strategies which will get then increase in fan count. These strategies could be but not limited to providing exclusive and interesting contents, creating curiosity with ‘fans only’ contents (which they have to click to see), designing polls and contests to increase visits, starting a conversion and respond to what fans have to say and constantly keep the flow with fresh publishing6. The wise advice is to understand that your fans are biggest ambassadors of your brand.

Though it is difficult to measure the return on the investment from social media marketing to get the most out of a FB page, marketers need to listen to what fans want. This can be the way to get more attention on a ‘social page’ and convert non-likers to ‘like’ the FB page.

FB marketing: reach the right people

The world has gone social, be a part of the conversation. Yes, that’s absolutely right. With millions of people are connected and sharing what they like, I think a brand don’t just need a FB page but active social presence that can drive the customer’s attention and build stronger and long lasting relationship with them.

Facebook provides powerful marketing tools that enable you to reach the right people and at the same time helping you grow your business. There are mainly four ways of promoting your business on Facebook.

Facebook Marketing

The first way to engage with your fans is to create a page where you can build a community of the fans who love your brand. Once you have created a page, you can upload impressive photos, provide the location of your business and contact information. You can do much more by adding the menu and sharing videos using custom apps. Remember one thing that you have to keep interacting with your customers by checking your page on a daily basis, sharing contents, asking questions and setting up deals. As you learn more about who your customers are, how often they visit and which posts they comment the most, you can decide your page strategy and grow. You will see that FB page is an amazing tool for connecting with your customers that can drive more traffic to your business7.

A second way to promote your business is by creating FB advert where you can target the right people using selective criteria such as location, work, age, gender, education, language, relationship status, hobbies etc. You can promote your website, app, page or event. An engaging ad will help building awareness about your business, can drive sales and grow fan base as well. You don’t have to worry about spending enormous amounts as it allows you to manage daily budget7. Isn’t it amazing?

Sponsored stories are the third tool by FB to increase visibility and engagement about your business. A story of different activities such as like of a page, check-ins to the location or interaction with an application will be seen by users at the right-hand side of main FB page. To make you worry-free about the spending, the daily budget can be easily controlled7. It is the ‘word of mouth’ way of promoting your business on FB.

If you feel that all of the above tools are not sufficient then you can take an advantage of FB platform. It not only lets you create great apps but also provides you social plugins (Like/Login buttons) to make your site more social. As the world is going mobile, it has capabilities to personalise FB’s social experience into a mobile experience on iPhone app, Android app or mobile website7.

I think that FB is an essential part for most of us. When everyone is engaging with each other and sharing the passion with like-minded people, the meaningful contents they share make them authentic audience.

With the massive reach, always-on and two way communications with potential customers, it really provides an incredible possibility for a brand to leverage this opportunity.

Don’t you think, with all these enhancements a brand can really create a rich social experience for its fans?

Get X-factor with Facebook

There could be many other reasons for FB’s popularity but most important reasons could be: it’s free, spontaneous and growing; almost everybody is there, it is open but yet controllable and incredible social community platform.

While talking about social networking sites, first thing comes to our mind is Facebook before anything else (MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Orkut etc.) – that’s what makes it the default social network.

Though FB is primarily personal network, brands are relying on FB to build a trusted relationship. People like to be associated with brand pages whilst they don’t consider that they are being targeted by purely marketing activity but they like the brand page because they simply want to become a fan of the brand they love.

It’s a characteristic of most of FB users that they want to see what’s happening in others life which they see as a fun activity. On becoming FB fans of a brand they enjoy playing contests, checking exclusive contents, playing games and participating in conversation. Many marketers don’t realize that marketing communication on FB can be a fun activity. If you are a marketer, don’t miss the opportunity!

For many users, FB acts as a treasure pot. You never know what you will find every day. Some people like me find their former classmates while some find great deal from a friend. It’s all about the social graph effect.

If you are using FB wisely and make no mistakes, it could serve as a very good marketing communication platform for your brand that can be even viral sometimes. Go ahead, gold ahead!

Facebook Stories

WTFish: so strange and funny stories

“Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time.”

– William Shakespeare

Sometimes I think why people are so obsessed with Facebook but when I heard stories, I started to believe that there is a bizarre world out there.

I can think of a situation when my wife doesn’t like my FB status updates and if I attack her then it will be weird FB story. I am just kidding, don’t worry I will never do that but there was a man who did such a stupid thing and got arrested.

I don’t want to tell you those kinds of weird stories in this section but some strange and funny stories which are floating around us. I am sure you will like them if not love them. Get ready for some LoL moments.

No, you can’t say ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’ on French TV

I know it sounds weird and crazy but it’s true. A French broadcasting watchdog has ruled that it is against the law to mention ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’ on TV or radio. They can only be mentioned by presenters if the news stories they present are relevant to FB and Twitter. The regulator says that it is the move is to curb the competition and benefits for the small social networks. The idea of this regulation is to prevent big social networks from eating up the competition1.

Many critics say that the French government is too aggressive in regulating media and web. So, after hearing this, it could be true.

Imagine that you are in a hotel in Paris for holidays and watching CNN but without any reference to Facebook and Twitter because presenter can’t mention ‘Follow us on Twitter’ or ‘Join us on Facebook’.

This ban makes it unclear that how a presenter can direct news audience to those sites without mentioning or identifying them. The funny part is people loved this news on internet by classifying it as hilarious.

‘Like’ is a kid’s name

You may have come across with some bizarre celebrity kid’s name like Kyd, Ocean, Audio Science, Moon Unit, Fifi, Coco or Apple. But I never thought that Facebook will make such a crazy impact on kid’s name.

One Israeli couple named their girl ‘Like’ – as in a Like button on Facebook. Ha ha ‘I like that’. Upon asking parents clarified that they don’t do much of Facebooking and they are not very much obsessed with Facebook but just wanted to have a unique name for their child. They simply liked the sound of ‘Like’2. Well, I take that.

The days are not very far when you and I would not be surprised to hear that someone is calling herself ‘Facebook’, ROFL.

What? FB password in a ‘will’!

If it is an online banking password or a combination of a locker key then it is understandable but passwords of a FB account and other online accounts that something strange to be put in a ‘will’.

A survey in the UK shows that Britons are increasingly (one in 10 people) including their internet passwords in their will because they want their digital identity to be protected. There are cases that FB accounts of the deceased can fall into the hands of spammers or hackers for misuse. It looks like we are moving into a new world of ‘digital inheritance’3.

Nowadays, most of the things we do are online and we are increasingly storing digital items such as photos, eBooks, music, videos, movies and many other subscription based services. It is important that the cloud based items are useful to their family after the person is gone.

FB is more important than flushing, Lol

People in Britain also don’t want to be left behind in expressing their strange addiction to the beloved Facebook. This story is the funniest one I have ever heard about FB.

Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other nationals but they may not be as strangely obsessed as Britons. A recent study by one of the museums in London claims that Britons would ‘prefer to live without flushing a toilet than abandon Facebook’. This is not the only thing they can give up for Facebook. The results of the study also show that people in the UK are willing to give up more things for FB such as fresh water, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits and even a chance to take shower4, LoL.

I have nothing more than say other than raising my eyebrow! What’s your reaction? I wish I was able to bring a smile on your face by telling these strange stories.

Kelly loves Kelly: thanks to Facebook

Who said marriages are made in the heaven only? It can be made in Facebook too. I was wondering too as much as you do after reading that sentence.

In a boring night, a student from Florida out of curiosity typed her name in the search box of Facebook to see if anyone else has the same name as her. To her surprise, there was a guy from Texas with the same name and last name. Later she sent him a message saying: “Hi. We had the same name. Thought it was cool”. She got a reply from him: “I thought, we’ve got to be related or something”. The guy found that she was very pretty5.

For couple of months they exchanged mails, chatted on FB and talked over the phone for hours. Later, one day he visited the girl and fall ‘head to toe’ in love. They got engaged after few months and their families were happy too.  They both said it was god’s plan to match us but Facebook connected us. To avoid the confusion, people know them by ‘Kelly girl’ and ‘Kelly boy’. Miss K also said that “We’re definitely not going to name our kids Kelly”5.

I can be sure that anything can happen on Facebook, LoL.

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About the Author: Divyesh

Not an economist - An expert who will know tomorrow why that which he predicted yesterday didn't happen today!

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