F off and get real

18 May

Delete facebook Here's a paradox. Just when some social media early adopters are starting to leave Facebook, the mainstream majority (approaching 500 million of them) seem to be more hooked on the world's favourite social network than ever.

I've discovered a problem with Facebook dependency amongst first year students. They were tasked with creating, publicising and evaluating a charity event – with varied results. Facebook groups were universally created – and were relied on to disastrous effect.

One group were confident of their event's success because scores of people had indicated their commitment on Facebook. Did they show up on the day? Did they heck. The team resorted to old-fashioned word of mouth to salvage their scheme. While Facebook's success is based on its recreation of the real world of friendship online, the process doesn't work so well in the other direction.

It's easy to get people to click but where's the commitment in this? Where's the engagement? Barring a few posters, the old-fashioned means of publicising an event were missing: personal invitations, stunts, media publicity, even celebrity endorsement.

It appears the real world is an increasingly confusing place for Generation F students. 

3 Responses to “F off and get real”

  1. Stephen Johnson 25/05/2010 at 12:30 pm #

    I have a friend who set up a Facebook event for his 22nd birthday. The event had over 220 confirmed friends who said they were going to attend via Facebook. Only 7 turned up.

  2. Richard Bailey 25/05/2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Thanks Stephen: what a poignant story. That’s just my point: a 97% drop out rate from Facebook confirmation to event attendance.
    Facebook’s good for some things, but the connection to real world commitment’s not one of them.

  3. Wellons Communications 26/05/2010 at 7:34 pm #

    This is very true. Although public relations is changing, traditional media should never be completely disregarded. The type of medium used reflects the type of message being delivered.

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