By Euro Weekly News Media • 16 September 2011 • 9:06
CAN anybody tell me if there is a Facebook helpline for users who feel they suffer from Alzheimer’s disease? I keep on receiving messages with the portraits of lots of my friends all over the world.
But the strange thing is I don’t seem to be able to recollect ever having met any of them and Facebook users seem to communicate in an unidentifiable code language.
Should I try to send anyone a message it appears to find its way to dozens of internet users who don’t wish to hear from me or ends up back on my file.
I am also a Twit. Not a twitter, since I am still trying to understand how I can inundate the world with hundreds of text messages and whether it serves any useful purpose. It is though good practice for language students, conveying a precise message using the minimum number of words.
Facebook is promoted as being a worldwide social network with hundreds of millions of people interconnecting. When I first linked onto the site I rather selfishly thought it was a fantastic means of advertising my recently published novel for free. All I had to do was mention my book and the message would go to millions who would be rushing to the bookstores or Amazon.
Then I learnt that it does not exactly work like that. Each person can only contact his or her friends. And these friends first have to be invited to become friends and then agree to become friends before they are friends. Otherwise you cannot have friends. I did a quick calculation.
If I could only become friends with 20 or 30 friends, and this could take years, it would neither make me successful nor rich. And since it is not a pyramid scheme I could not count on my friends telling their friends to tell their friends about my book until the whole world knew about it and I was a celebrity and would have my picture in the Sun or the Mirror – with a friend.
In Madrid I have learnt that the word ‘ilusion’ in Spanish means both hope and illusion, which shows they have a better understanding of the ephemeral world we live in.
This applies particularly to how stock markets value internet companies. Facebook does not manufacture any products, it does not sell any products, nobody pays to use it and personally I have yet to notice any advertisement when I log in and see messages.
Yet according to analysts this is now a global organization worth in excess of $100billion with massive revenues from somewhere. Linkedin and the Chinese networking company, Renren, have also been valued in the tens of billions.
Is this for real or are we living in another internet bubble given that there is likely to be much more competition from new social networking companies all cashing in on Facebook’s success?
I admit that I belong to the old school when it comes to understanding or using internet social networking sites. In fact I never even went to school in the first place. What seems very odd is that when I receive a message Facebook sends me an e-mail to tell me. So what is exactly the point of Facebook when it is so easy to communicate by e mail, and attach photos too?
If anybody wants to be my friend please just give me a call or perhaps send an e mail. Does anyone have a fax machine? A fixed telephone line? Then how about posting a card or using carrier pigeons? Is there anyone out there?
Peter Fieldman’s novel ‘1066 The Conquest’ is available on Amazon or visit www.1066TheConquest.com
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