Social Networking has provided persons with access new technologies converged into one through a main website. Email, Instant Messaging, Advertising, and the access to information provided by the internet have given people a means with which to embrace their world on a whole new level and for the world to try and take advantage of them as consumers. I would like to analyze and critique how the social networking site, Facebook, has changed the face of how the general populace communicates and how it is being used as a huge advertisement. Some of the key points of how this particular social networking site is persuasive will be identified, understood, and ultimately applied to how we look at Facebook.
The key points I write of are

· How Social Networking is changing the way we communicate and view ads.
· How Social Networking is changing how we view the world.
· And lastly, how Social Networking is causing an unseen movement in our culture because of its advertising.
With that said, I would like to also point out to the reader that this analysis is based off of my own personal experiences with Facebook, and while writing this, I was required to be on Facebook to constantly refer back to what it looked like and what each function accomplished as a persuasive device. Since I believe that all Social Networking Sites accomplish the task of wasting time, it was very difficult to stay on task and actually complete this wikipost.
According to Adweek.com, over 30 % of the users on Facebook and MySpace are from North America. Today, I logged into my Facebook account. I was immediately notified of requests by “Friends” to either join a group (Yes, you may start a movement with this website), add an application (the trendy little boxes that offer different ways to waste time), and of different messages I had received that were awaiting my reply. In an effort to quickly circumnavigate my own homepage, I was struck with exactly how many different persuasive messages and advertisements were invading my mind. There were status messages that friends had posted notifying me of their personal state of being and the newest gear that I should get, notes (an application that allows a type of blogging where you may mention certain individuals to be notified of said note) that were directed at letting me understand exactly what I was doing wrong as a man and the reason I didn’t have a girlfriend, and that showed photos of many of my friends who were either partying or expressing themselves through the photochemical reactions that have been captured of some scene of grandeur of which they were a part (because everyone wants to see their buds without their shirts on showing off their pectorals). I was struck by exactly how the availability and impressionability that those certain pieces of information were to the average Joe who does not dissect every message he receives with rhetorical analysis. Most people who use Facebook are just looking to waste time, and for the tool they choose to use to accomplish this, they use a social networking site which lets them communicate with their friends and even people they don’t know. The façade created by the availability of information, social or not, is that you are gaining a deeper understanding of your social surroundings and of the people who make up that societal habitat. Thing is, as I mentioned before, some of these people you don’t even know. Facebook doesn’t allow for a distinction between “Friends” and “Acquaintances.”


According to InsideFacebook.com, "Overall, Facebook revenue is “likely going to be above $550 million this year,” we have recently heard from several sources close the company. Last year, the company brought in a total of between $280 million and $300 million, as we and others heard then. The story now is how Facebook has gone beyond traditional social network banner advertising to grow revenue."
Continuing my own adventure into Facebook Ads... I proceeded to click on the available links which would take me to a higher quality image so that I could make out the label on that bottle of beer (because I want to drink the same beer everyone else does because it makes me cool), I began to notice the advertisements that lined the main portion of my Facebook page, and how they changed every time I clicked into a new area of the networking site. Imagine there are 5 notifications which all lead to a different page. Each page contains a general amount of 6 non-Facebook related advertisements. To scan each page, digest the information there, and move on to the next page, it takes me an average of 2 minutes. That means I took 10 minutes looking at 30 different advertisements indirectly. Facebook has bombarded its’ users with a steady supply of advertisements which has given the power of advertising another means to get our money. Money that we don’t have because we wasted our time at work using the “Mob Wars” application and recently been fired from the last job we had.
After looking at some of the advertisements which lined my own social profile, I was struck by what the target audiences of the advertisements were. It seems that since the average persons who are using Facebook are young adults (18- 24 years old), most of these advertisements were directed towards bringing to light certain services, products, or other available merchandise which would make my life better and was a necessity for my survival as a happy person (materialistic, isn’t it?). Some of the services offered were for online dating services, with a directed message which said that if you were looking for hot young Christian singles, that it was the dating site for you. This small piece of information brought to light another question, which was, “Is this just another means of finding a mate?” Many persons already believe that post-modern society has incorporated the idea of love in an effort to turn the act into a money making venture.
The use of social networking as a means to enter the dating world and find that certain special someone has been used since by different online dating services such as Fling.com, Match.com, and Chemistry.com. According to Telegraph.co.uk, "At present only 6pc of internet surfers use online dating sites and the paid-for dating market in the UK is only worth between £60m and £70m.However, it is growing rapidly. The number of single people in the UK is expected to rise from 10m at present to 16m by 2012 and across Europe total revenues from online dating are expected to more than double to €549m (£395) by 2010 compared with €243m last year."
These sites serve the sole purpose of actually introducing people based on the information that they procure from users about themselves, whether it is through personality tests, questionnaires, or just fill in the blank spaces on each person’s personal profile. With those different devices, however, there is always a possibility of misrepresentation. This is one of the reasons that it is so difficult to accurately portray yourself through a personal profile. One way that Facebook actually combats this problem is through another application that allows your friends to write testimonials which can attest to the reality of how a person is in real life and not just on Facebook. It adds a dimension of actuality to that person that is based off of someone else’s experiences with that person and how they’ve been found to be in real life. Fantasies aside, sometimes the opportunity provided by Facebook is to actually just use it as a source of information about people. According to NetworkWorld.com, some 80% of people will have an online virtual identity by 2011.
I, myself, have used Facebook to compensate for how well I knew someone by following the trends of what they wrote as their notifications, how often they were online instead of being out in the real world, what kind of social life they lead by looking at their posted photo’s, and by discerning what kind of life they lead by finding out the information available through their profile. For instance, I was capable of getting in touch with people I hadn’t been in contact with for years, and I was still capable of finding out exactly what kind of personality they had developed into since the last time I saw them. Facebook provides information. Information we need to understand the world we live in a little bit better. With the entire idea of having capability also comes a hint of power. Power is seductive. This is one reason that many corporations are using Facebook as a source of advertising. But even then, in the online student newspaper gwhatchet.com, they say that the information found online can be used “globally and out of context.” The way that people represent themselves, whether it’s a untrue representation or not, reflects upon who they are working for, who they’re friends with, and even the people they are just acquainted with. " One of the best examples about Facebook advertisement, though, is the use of tracking cookies which put advertisements on your profile page suited to whatever you have been searching for online.
Another persuasive element of Facebook is its accessibility. If a person has an internet connection, they can get on. As stated before, it’s free, and it has the ability to be used synchronously or asynchronously. Another option makes it an internationally persuasive source and that is the option of changing the language. Currently, Facebook is offered in over thirty languages, some of which are just made available as a joke, such as the "Pirate" setting. Once, again, all for the purpose of attracting the consumer.
The thing about Facebook that makes it a new social movement is that it provides a collective organization to the information exchange between different persons, and it isn’t directed at an economic agenda like you would see with Marxism, Socialism, or Fascism. The new social movement concentrates not on issues of economic wellbeing, but on ... materialistic qualities of life [Nelson A. Pichardo, New Social Movements: A Critical Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 23: 411-430, 1997]. The truth, however behind this movement is that it is not a proletariat revolution such as in the French Revolution in 1789. The new revolution is seen only under the surface and in our broadband routers. The exchange of information has led us to think differently, about representation, about information, and about online usage. In a report by comScore found at TechTree.com, Facebook overtook MySpace as the premier social networking site on the internet with a visitor growth rate of 153% per annum. Given enough time, the use of social networking will be a primary means of communication between friends, coworkers, employers, family, and even in the dating world which is another reason that advertisers are targeting its users specifically. With that kind of exposure opportunity, the right product and sales pitch could make someone very rich.
In conclusion, it has been stated that Facebook is indeed a socially persuasive movement that is characterized by the transformation of our culture which has morphed into an online community that finds it’s information in other available spaces in the virtual network we call the Internet. Facebook, as a social networking site, has its pros and cons, but overall still serves the purpose that it was created for. However, with it becoming the most rapidly growing mediums, it is also bombarding its users with advertisements, those advertisements are ultimately the fuel necessary for the fire, and will continue to be found at the site until we find a better way to stay in touch.
Internet

      1. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24652422
      2. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/020708-valentines-online-dating.html
      3. http://www.gwhatchet.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticle&ustory_id=65d53002-d568-4511-ade8-0d40866e6406
      4. Nelson A. Pichardo, New Social Movements: A Critical Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 23: 411-430, 1997
      5. http://www.techtree.com/India/News/Facebook_Largest_Fastest_Growing_Social_Network/551-92134-643.html
      6. http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/09/17/facebooks-big-advertising-experiment-drives-new-revenue/
      7. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/2821518/Facebook-meets-its-Match-with-dating-site.html