Friday, 5 April 2013

The Power of Facebook

I am a haphazard Facebook user, more a voyeur really - I like to see what everyone else is up to but rarely post any comments as I can't think of anything going on that would interest my Facebook friends. This has changed recently, I have upped my Facebook visits from one or two a week to a daily check and have gone on a rampage of liking, sharing and even commenting! My online activity has increased by umpteen per cent  (I am good with many things, figures however are not one of them) and I am enjoying my renewed enthusiasm for taking a more active role in adding to the news feed here and there.

Several interesting and important things are happening on a local, regional, national and global level that I feel strongly about and this is pushing my desire to be more involved. Although I am still on the periphery of the action it feels like the right time to express more of my views about the events currently unfolding.

I have noticed changes to the content being shared by my FB friends - less of the kids photos and minor day to day commentary, more political statements and concerns for the future. I like this change and am proud to have friends who aren't afraid to speak up for what they believe is right and show their concern for what is happening in world. Of course most of us have similar values and therefore agree, on the whole, with each other which is no great surprise because as well as being FB friends we are actually real life friends too and friends are usually on the same wavelengths when it comes to the really important stuff. This results in many likes and the sharing of links to pass on information and play our part in the growing worldwide awareness of issues that need addressing to ensure the future is bright for the generations to follow.

I feel heartened by these largely middle class and middle aged (sorry guys, sad but true) rumblings and long may it continue. However while sifting through the many posts on FB today - a fairly typical day of environmental, political and thought provoking posts amongst the TGIF comments and I was pleased to see  plenty of likes  and shared links spreading the word for common sense and righteousness.

My favourite share today was Expanded Consciousness's link to a feel good environmental article shared by a friend (thanks Chris, I have a pet peeve of municipal inedible plantings and am very reassured to know I'm not the only one as that kind of weirdness can get lonely)  and I noticed it had over 7,000 likes! Excellent, I thought and then as I continued down I found a link that initially amused me (briefly) and then made me despair, My Kitchen Rules.

Now, don't misunderstand me here, I am a big fan of MKR, it used to be my guilty televisual pleasure until I couldn't be bothered feeling guilty any more and now I organise the family routine to accommodate yet another obsession and have got 2 thirds of the offspring on board so we can heckle the contestants together, great family fun, but it is just a TV cooking competition. For those of you not familiar with this Aussie reality cooking show there is a pair of female contestants who are very outspoken and are making themselves quite unpopular in some circles. This link is a call to have them be the next team eliminated from the show - all innocent fun as this will have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the show as the audience doesn't get to choose who goes home. Nothing to get riled about you might think but this is the kicker - when I last checked a few minutes ago this link had over 62,000 likes!! How is it that this link which won't have any effect on the outcome of the competition or in fact anything at all receives so much attention when important, interesting links that could change the world get a handful of views, likes and shares??

I puzzled over this and will continue to do so until I can get my head around it but so far I can think of a few reasons why this may have happened so here's a little multiple choice question for you.

Did the 'get rid of Sophia and Ashlee off MKR' campaign get over 62,000 likes (and counting)because people -

A, find it easier to contribute to the FB community by clicking a vaguely amusing 2 line post than reading a whole article?

B, want to be entertained and not be reminded about challenging issues, especially on a Friday?

C,  will click 'like' if they think it will actually achieve something (not that it will in this case) rather than supporting a 'big issue' that feels impossible for ordinary people to influence

D, don't want to feel left out when such a large number of people have liked the link already?

D, everyone just really hates those 2 Asian chicks.

Whatever the reason it really bummed me out but was an amazing illustration of the power of FB, just think what we could achieve if the right people could harness the same power and influence as MKR and use it for the good of the planet?? Some would argue that getting rid of Sophia and Ashlee off MKR is for the good of the planet and they wouldn't be too far wrong - they are incredibly irritating girls but make for great TV.