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The digital lamp of Aladdin

  • Published at 07:34 pm January 3rd, 2017
  • Last updated at 08:00 pm January 3rd, 2017
The digital lamp of Aladdin

Facebook is now a matter of social self-esteem, personal branding, and commerce.

While there are some complaints against Facebook -- that it makes people lazy, some people express their creativity and are earning money through the digital platform.

It’s a debate, though the majority will cast their vote for the good side of the trendy social media outlet. It has thousands of uses. It seems that most people are busy with just writing a few words of status, uploading their latest and fashionable photos, to get likes or other emotional button clicks or comments.

Some people write what they have on their minds, some post jokes or funny videos. What we see on our newsfeed differs from user to user.

I know someone who is a branch manager of a reputed bank in Dhaka. He seldom opens his account, twice or thrice in a week. His view is that Facebook is just for likes and comments that he doesn’t enjoy.

The branch manager says he opens his account only to check whether anybody has sent him messages or to see his nearest friends’ updates.

Another individual, a head of a department at an international development organisation, is an active user of Facebook, and from time to time posts his political views and uploads photos.

Nevertheless, he doesn’t like Facebook chat for any official or commercial purposes. His view is that Facebook is only for social purposes, not for corporate communication.

I am acquainted with a boy who works in an ICT gadget sales venture, whose work is to endorse organic Facebook campaigns, alongside looking after the sales of the retails shop.

The owner of the company gives him instructions, and throughout the day, he shares their offers to various Facebook groups. The boy says the process is a bit slow, but it works.

They get some orders through the campaigns. These examples are available because of so many young people wanting to start businesses in this digital era, thus for the first steps of promotion, they use Facebook as the easiest and cheapest form of promoting themselves.

People should think about social media in a positive way and facilitate creativity through it

Conversely, I found a status of a journalist who works in a Bengali online news portal saying: “Whenever I open Facebook, it’s a waste of at least half an hour.” Whereas, surely, many journalists get a lot of their news updates from Facebook.

The US Embassy in Dhaka has a very popular social media presence, as it runs a weekly chat with the consular to answer queries of various people. Aspirants ask questions regarding immigration or studying in the US. This is a unique idea because people can directly get their answers within the stipulated span of time. Till today, it has over four million likes, the largest among the foreign missions in Bangladesh.

Moja losss was a Facebook entertainment page with over a hundred thousand likes. People like the page for fun, not for wasting time. To take a break from a monotonous life, a person needs their entertainment.

We will see many posts on our newsfeeds which are knowledge-based, health and legal advising, crime prevention, citizen journalism, sports, business, and so forth. And I find these inspirational.

If we forget about Facebook being used by the commercial entities who sponsored ads, and if we compare the above examples, we can definitely identify the differences between the two. Therefore, those who blame Facebook as just a waste of time may blame themselves, not the platform.

Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, a renowned ICT expert, in one of his commentaries, mentioned that social media is good if people use it properly. He uses Facebook for mostly communication with his nearest relatives, especially those who live abroad.

There is a proverb that says “money brings money,” and in the digital era, we have to reset that saying to “Facebook brings money,” if we can learn how to use it. Or we may consider Facebook as a digital lamp of Aladdin in the smart-age culture if we know how to blow the pipe.

People should think about social media in a positive way and facilitate creativity through it. Social media platforms may be used as a tool to create ideas in people’s minds for doing something innovative.

Syed Rabius Shams is a freelance Journalist, CEO of NewsfeedPR, and a fellow alumnus of International Exchange Alumni of US Department of State.