“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
That may or may not be Facebook’s mission. But at 200 million users, there’s no denying that the social network has some appeal. The new Facebook for Good page asks users of the network to share their stories about how Facebook has helped them give back to their communities, effect change or connect with a distant relative.
At the time of writing, there’s a BBC story on how some teenager was ‘saved by Facebook’, how the platform is being used for distance education, matchmaking, family reunions, and politcal and social mobilisation. This last bit is very interesting and is why I added Pissu Poona to the list of sites the group features.
While Facebook’s growth is astounding (watch this video to see how much it is) the diffusion of users on the platform and the resulting competition for limited and short-lived interest suggests that it is, no more and no less than any other web based platform, able to translate users to those who will contribute towards humanitarian aid financially. Even a dollar from every user on Facebook would translate into a budget unimaginable in a lifetime of activism at the grassroots, but how realistic is this? On the other hand, is the value of social network in the connections themselves – i.e. not in how much of money FB is able to generate amongst users, but in how much of awareness it can raise, through connections made through its network, on issues, events and processes?