Well, we all know that Facebook is not a platform, created by altruistic people to help you to stay in contact with your friends and family. Of course there is an economic dimension to it. However, this is not the economic dimension I want to write about, today. The economic dimension I target is what users try to get out of Facebook.
Here in the Philippines it is very obvious. Even though 34% percent of the Filipinos have Internet access (so around 30 million), there is not a whole lot of information on the Internet. Only the largest hotels, companies and restaurants have an updated website or at least a somehow up-to-date entry in one of the “yellow-pages” online. Most of the time you find nothing or useless webpages. There are certain portals such as olx, where you can find a lot of different stuff like T-Shirt printers or used cars or whatever. However, information here are also sometimes outdated and it is not really helpful. Ebay and Amazon do not work at all.
If I am looking for something like a T-Shirt printer, I just put on my Facebook wall, what I am looking for. One day later, I normally have enough suggestions to get on the cab and find what I was looking for. Well, Philippines ranked 4 in number of Facebook users…100 of them are in my friendlist, enough to help me.
What is even more interesting is the way how Filipinos use Facebook to sell and advertise stuff. If my “friends” create a new brand of clothes or they got new condominium units to sell, it is all published on Facebook. The pictures are there, a mobile phone number and maybe a price is there and then the business is on. Once uploaded, all the friends are “tagged” in the note, that there is something interesting to buy for them, and things go its way.
Of course, that is not what Facebook is intended for. Obviously it works quite well. I am not sure how I would decide when I would be Facebook staff. I am sure that they are aware of that and that they, at least silently, support it. In a way it enriches its platform, however it is no social networking anymore but straight economic interests. The only one who should pursue economic interests with that should be Facebook.
In the end, it is only additional personal information about us, which Facebook is going to convert into dollars, this or the other way.
Who knows – maybe they can claim one day that a famous designer was born on the platform?