As of the end of 2013, Facebook had about 1.23 billion active users per month worldwide, according to this article. Its growth has been substantial since its creation in 2004, and is only expected to continue to surge in popularity. Almost everyone uses Facebook. In fact, half of Internet users who don’t use Facebook live with someone who does.
Though Facebook was originally created for people to reconnect with their friends from school, it has now become a platform for socializing and has extended to use by people as young as elementary school students, whether is it to play games or to interact with others. In a poll taken in early 2012, Facebook was the most used social network, dominating at 56% and easily overwhelming other social networks.
Facebook gives users the power to post content for others to see and “like”. Recently, however, I’ve noticed that many of my friends have begun to covet their “likes”. For some reason, the number of “likes” that someone receives on a status or picture has become a determining factor for someone’s popularity. A higher number of “likes” indicates that that person has more friends, or that they are better-liked than their peers.
A lot of people also overshare information, posting mundane things and expecting people to respond to them. In fact, oversharing is one of the things that Facebook users dislike the most about other users. There is constantly a request for a “dislike” button, which doesn’t exist for obvious reasons.
I have a friend who uses Instagram and is obsessed with the number of “likes” she gets per picture. Her exact words to me one day were, “I posted this picture 5 minutes ago and I only have 2 likes! Should I delete it?” I think this way of thinking is ridiculous, but it seems to be a common thought-process. I wonder what this trend might suggest about people these days and whether it is a positive thing that ego is boosted based on “likes”, which are essentially meaningless in the real world.