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Facebook is 10, but what has it ever done for us?

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The world’s most-famous social network is a decade young. Over those ten years it has changed beyond recognition, moving from university comms platform to all-encompassing digital world.Which has us asking, have we really benefited from this exponential expansion?
Here at Manchester’s finest public relations and social media agency we have long been in love with Zuckerberg’s creation. Nevertheless, we have also been quick to point out its flaws, intrusions and problems- not least in recent years. With that in mind, and in a bid to level the playing field a little, we thought it would be appropriate to look at ten ways in which Facebook has done us some good. Here they are.
Developer opportunities
OK, so we don’t all want to play Candy Crush Saga, and many other social games are similarly annoying. However, in terms of giving new coders an opportunity to hone their skills, and affording brands a chance to offer the public something other than a simple advert, we’d say Facebook has triumphed in creating opportunities for pros and amateurs alike to get creative with its API.
Instant global communication
Admittedly, it’s annoying (or indeed alarming) when that ex pops up with an instant message or, if things ended really badly, a new friend request. However, the idea that you can immediately send a message to that long lost pal in New Zealand, and in the latter years, engage in a video call with them, sans extortionate bill, really is something to be pleased about.
Great when it’s not abused with inane pictures of tonight’s tea, or sickening selfies coupled with declarations of undying love, photo-sharing really is a tech-marvel worthy of note. Within seconds we can show our friends and acquaintances something hilarious, heartwarming, troubling or otherwise significant, and wait for their reactions to the posted item, increasing knowledge of issues and events tenfold.
Tagging photos
This may sound similar to sharing pictures, but there is a distinct difference. By tagging our chums in an image we are automatically giving them access to a treasured moment, which they can then download, store, archive, or, for those who really want to mix the old and new school, send off to be developed into an actual photograph that can be put in a real frame and everything.
Onto business. Facebook’s insights are vital if you want to grow a real following for your company’s page. Without these nuggets of priceless information it’s impossible to tell what type of posts are working best, causing the most engagement and increasing the number of fans you have in the network. Call us geeks, but thank Zuckerberg for giving us the necessary numbers to succeed.
Prioritised feeds
It’s hard to deny that Facebook faces a mammoth task when it comes to keeping the News Feed relevant. And in many ways it struggles. However, when you consider quite how much of a mess the information appearing in yours could be, if it weren’t for clever algorithms used ascertain what’s actually important to the profile, and what’s not, then the intelligent thinkers must concede those boffins are doing a pretty good job.
Socio-political news distribution
So most of us use Facebook for keeping up appearances, finding out what events are happening amongst our friends, and posting amusing memes. The real genius of the network, though, stands for something far more important. Revolutions have been facilitated through social media, and while Twitter often steals the glory when it comes to events such as the Arab Spring, the big blue network has also played a key role in allowing those on the frontline to give the world an insight into what’s happening behind closed borders. Hence so many regimes trying to ban it.
More efficiency than email
In terms of communication, the world has never been more connected. We still remember the days when you arranged to call someone at a certain time, on a particular day of the week. Mobiles changed that, and emails allowed us to pass messages on in an instant, without paying for the privilege.
Thanks to spam and the lack of notifications, though, the latter can often go unread and unnoticed for days, meaning the best way of getting in touch with someone, in relative privacy, is now Facebook via smartphone due to the push functionalities.
Group messages
Threads involving lots of different people can sometimes get out of hand, especially if those included have a penchant for responding with the most ridiculous stickers they can get their hands on. That doesn’t detract from the fact that being able to contact multiple people at once can often be a godsend, whether its to arrange a collection for someone’s 30th birthday or send out thank you notes to the people that matter.
It’s all free
Put simply, you get all of the above for the paltry price of nothing, other than forced exposure to adverts and sponsored stories. If you ask us, that’s a great deal.

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