About the project
Facebook has received some bad press this week – people seem shocked that they have taken advantage of the fact that users have to tick a box agreeing to their terms and conditions and conducted a little secret mood experiment.
Whilst the results of what was a pretty interesting experiment into the psychological mood swings of social media junkies were pretty obvious (i.e; the results found that peoples' emotions were reinforced by what they saw - what the researchers called "emotional contagion") the main point most people took away and argued was more about personal privacy online and to what extent users should be made explicitly aware they were being analysed. You know, after posting everything about them, their lives and what they eat on a regular basis.
It appears that most people think facebook has violated our privacy and for very little gain. Even one of facebooks very own researchers, Adam Kramer says "In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety."
This latest piece of publicity has made me wonder – what else are people are saying about facebook behind its back and have we fallen out of love with facebook or will we continue to use and abuse it for our own social and business needs?
1. Are we constantly searching for something better?
Amy Fowler has this to say in her article The Power Of Distraction In a Digital Age
"Being distracted by the idea that there is a more interesting alternative to what we're currently reading, watching, or doing, can't be healthy. It means we're unhappy or unsatisfied with our present situation. It's the 'grass is always greener' effect. If we change what we're doing/watching/reading, and realise we're no more entertained than before, we repeat the cycle, and remain anxious and unsatisfied." (Source)
2. Is it just not appropriate for business networking?
Vanessa DiMauro seems to have lost her enthusiasm for it;
"Sorry, the party's over. The days of social media celebration are gone. It's not as if a random collection of "Likes" and "followers" had any real meaning but, hey, it was fun to watch the cool kids all get drunk at the bar of social media promises." (Source)
3. Are we full of false promises?
Filmmakers HigtonBrothers bring us back to reality;
"News feeds tend to have a prismatic effect on our public lives, transforming the mundane into a bright and colourful display of hedonistic parties, personal milestones and Disney visions of romance, filtering out all the day's boring moments when you were staring out the window, struggling with packaging or aimlessly scrolling through the very social media feed you're updating." (Source)
Why we still like it
However – despite the doom and gloomers Facebook still remains the most popular social media platform among marketers according to Social Media Examiner's 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
Marketers are merciless - It seems that facebook is here to stay and so long as it is we might as well take advantage of the business opportunity, or put another way;
"Longevity is no longer a certainty in today's rapidly changing world so brands must move fast and be agile to exploit market opportunities while they exist. For example, social networks remain a hugely under exploited vehicle for organic communication while brands wait on a chunky collection of case studies before committing." (Source)
And at the end of the day - don't we always want to put our best foot forward and save the unwashed hair days for private hours sat in your PJs, enjoying offers for that stuff you've been targeted to buy?