Saturday, September 26, 2020

If Facebook were a nation…

An enthused and hand-gesturing Oprah Winfrey remarked on her talk-show recently that, “If Facebook was a nation, it would be the third largest country in the world”.

Visibly stunned by the announcement of this news, her female studio audience responded in amazement with a wave of “Wows” right across the auditorium.

It’s all too impossible to wink at the phenomenal growth of social networking site, Facebook. With over 300 million users worldwide, Facebook would hold the third position behind the billion plus populations of China and India.

Currently, the third largest country in terms of population is the United States of America.

As the ‘Queen of Talk’, Oprah interviewed the brains behind Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg. I couldn’t help but marvel at how what started as a college campaign to connect friends at Harvard University has gone global all in a mere five years.
Of course, through it all, Zuckerburg has been able to pick up a few billion dollars along the way, making him one of Forbes Magazine’s youngest billionaires at the tender age of 24.

Dare I mention that a new crop of 20-something billionaires is springing up all over the world?

Facebook’s seismic growth has had my brain doing mental somersaults, trying to figure out exactly how many users will be on Facebook say in the next five years. Perhaps an additional 300 million users? Which would bring the citizens of Facebook land closer to the threshold of one billion people. That figure is equivalent to the number of people in Africa. Just think of it as every single person in Africa on Facebook. Yikes!!

Undoubtedly, as with any nation, there has to be a leader, someone that the citizens can look up to for direction and guidance. Facebook is no different. I wonder if it’s any coincidence that the leader of the third largest country in the world in terms of population also has the largest number of friends on Facebook. With over two million friends on Facebook, Barack Obama undoubtedly would make it as the head of state in Facebook land. Facebookers have elected their leader, somewhat in a different way from the tradition of the ballot box.

The example set by Facebookers of electing leadership via the number of friends one has is a precedent that should be followed by other countries. Why, everyone seems to be raising hell over the ballot box being rigged time and time again whenever a country takes to the polls. Just look at the recent hullabaloo being raised over Afghanistan leader, Harmid Karzai’s victory. The perfect solution would be to take elections online, with the candidate having the highest number of friends (representative of support) declared the president.
Now tell me how you can rig that!

Then, of course, if Facebook was a nation it would be curious to note the make-up of its citizens. It goes without mention that the bulk of the citizens would be aged between 16 and 35 years old, the current majority profile of people using Facebook.

However, it’s interesting whether there wouldn’t be one or two ‘Golden Oldies’ on Facebook serving to provide wisdom and direction to the ever wayward youth. Most probably Ntate Madiba would be a hit among the youthful citizens, but I’m not so sure about Uncle Bob. You decide.

Youth by their nature are technology freaks and so I imagine that all things technology would pass off as acceptable in Facebook land. But most probably taking photos would stand out for many Facebookers. Facebook thrives on photos, making Facebook a paparazzi nation, keeping a watchful eye all the time. It does remind me of that beer advert on TV where a guy called Dave seated in a bar is given a drink by a charming lady who is across the room. Out of nowhere, an old man appears and takes the drink out of Dave’s hand just as he is about to sip it and chides him saying, “What are you doing, Dave? This is not Las Vegas and we don’t drink pink drinks. Keep it real and remember I’ll be watching you…”

So you too remember that if Facebook were a nation it would be watching you…all the time.

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