Life on Facebook

Facebook Popular Game "FarmVille"

Are people getting really fulfilled on Facebook? Should people feel fulfilled on Facebook? Or should we not take this social network too serious?

I never quite figured out why are people resorting to Facebook and what they aim  to fulfill till I decided to keep a watchful eye on how they act, and I don’t just relate that to my friends but those on FB Groups and Fan Pages, and I am not here to compare them to the attitude of people in the West.

So before people lash out at me and go on the defense for either sides, I have to make it clear that my post tends not to attack or defend how we, Arabs, received such popular tool, but rather spotlight its positive and negative impacts alike.

What I’m so concerned about is not merely the Facebook impact as much as I’m worried about how people are using it, and how far have they harnessed its intended value and dug its true merits…

In Egypt, where over 800,000 people use Facebook, the impact of this social media tool has proved substantial on the political, social, and business levels, echoing the Egyptian communities’ scope and level of development and deterioration.

Political Facet

When it comes to the Political facet of Facebook impact, the 6th of April movement stands out as the best exemplar of how the popular social network proved influential in mobilizing youth opinion, energy and efforts in revolting against the state policies. The nation-wide labor strike, which took place over two years ago, drew the attention of local and international media to how powerful social media is growing in Egypt and among Egyptian young activists.

Then came the sad case of Khaled Sa’eed and the extravagant enlistment of public opinion to protest against the Egyptian police actions and holding it responsible for the death of the young martyr. As for how far was people’s attitude was effective; it proved unprecedented: Facebooking their rage at the shocking murder of Khaled and reporting up-to-date happenings related to the case, which covered nation-wide street demonstrations and government’s statements as well as the media stance from the case…

Moving to the regional level, still in regards to the same political facet of Facebook impact; the social media tool has proved equally influential.

In Iran, where two-thirds of the nation have mobile phones, mostly with internet connection, Facebook witnessed the initial stages of last summer elections battle in the country between voters, which triggered concerns, or to be precise, fears of the government.

Voters in favor of opposition candidate Mir-Hussein Mousavi took to FB to share and check up on information linked to the elections process, leading an online campaign against the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or at least this is what the state-run media said. UK’s Telegraph reported that opponent voters of Ahmadinejad launched a Facebook page called “I bet I can find 1,000,000 people who dislike Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” that scored membership of 35,000 people, the biggest membership base for all pages related to the Iranian President. The Iranian government was reported to have interfered to disrupt voters in favor of Mousavi from casting their support of President Nejad’s opponent and ruling out the possibility of the current President’s re-election.

And in Syria, where the state of democracy is not any better than Iran, Syrian authorities, sensing the unexpectedly growing popularity of Facebook among Syrians, interfered almost three years ago to hamper the voice of activists by blocking access to teh social network, in what the main stream media at that time described as “crackdown on political activism on the Internet”.

Social Facet and the Psychological Impact

Watching the impact of Facebook on the social level I reckon so much positivity as well as confusion and perplexity that owe me a thorough stop over.

While Facebook, initially intended to connect people and communities, came to present the Arabs with a fully-fledged platform to speak up and ensure a farther outreach of their voices. The question is have they used it for their best and harnessed its value to the fullest or not?

For some, FB came to provide a virtual life in which they tried enacting qualities that are inherent in themselves, and to stretch their inhibited capacities and talents, and here lies what I see as the mother of all positivity brought along with Facebook. I have to admit that I re-explored the personality of some of my old friends and members of my family whom normal life incidents never revealed their true potential. I found Facebook to be a good stage wherein they exposed the potential and came to see it, spoke up when they introvert and shy nature didn’t allow for that.

As for quite and not very sociable people such as myself, Facebook proved magic; encouraging me to share knowledge and communicate on a bigger scale than what my my normal nature allowed for and without me feeling the social burden that usually keeps me from sharing a good deal of my thinking. It’s like thinking in a loud voice, and reading my mind out loud, pouring out positivity when it blesses me and facing negativity if I know is taking over if I ever felt lack of sincerity while attempting to post anything, a state usually followed by an urge to stop, face myself before I come back to that powerful platform to share what I have and not what I wish I had …

So here comes an answer to a question I once asked.. Is Facebook supposed to represent our reality or is it a standalone virtual reality?

Engaging in this platform, like any social platform or saloon, requires sincerity. It requires tapping into your true self for you to be able to connect to others and really impact, and I don’t encourage being too much on the serious, discussing only politics, science and religion, for this would be sheer hypocrisy.

Sincerity and honesty is the key to communication even if you’re saying a joke.

And the reason I stress the quality of sincerity and its crucial emblem is the vast and uncontrolled freedom and fast pace of communication that Facebook grants. Being honest on Facebook helps people, and has already proved so, to face their true qualities and draw backs alike, sense their personal development whether positive or negative, and this is what leads the cycle of influence over the network.

To be Continued …

Maha.

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