The radio woke me this morning at 7am. Along with the usual traffic updates, the gossip about Mel Gibson, Dean Jones (don’t get me started, please) and Lindsay Lohan, the following factoid was announced:
I in 14 people worldwide use Facebook.
Between fighting the urge to press the sleep button, wishing it was Sunday morning and reminding myself I am now in the demographic who should listen to talk-back radio rather than pop, I opened my eyes in a flurry. Well, in as much of a flurry as I do before 8am.
1 in 14 people.
That’s massive. With the advent of iPads and Nano (inappropriate) Touch and WiFi and iWantAlls and even more portable technology, it’s going to get bigger. Made me wonder that if we had a 1 in 14 figure for some other things, we could do a hell of a lot of good.
Consider: if that many people gave something minimal to charity, we might be able to make a dent in world poverty. If 1 in 14 people made an effort to perform a random act of kindness on any given day (or each time they accessed their Facebook) we might be a stronger, more committed community. If 1 in 14 people shared a smile with someone they didn’t know next Monday (say) we might be thoroughly amazed, but it may make some sort of difference. If that number of folk gave without wanting in return, then generosity would be commonplace.
This is all pie in the sky, isn’t it? It’s all about the maybes. Maybe we could make a difference, maybe it would change things on the smallest scale, maybe I’m just talking through my arse! We couldn’t possibly rally that many people worldwide to do these ridiculous, immeasurable things. Why would we bother? We’re all too busy anyway. Getting 1 in 14 people to commit to anything on a world scale is a totally ludicrous thought.
But now we have the means of communication.
Five years ago, if someone had mentioned that 1 in 14 people would be accessing and utilizing a social network within their computer cabling, he/she would have been considered silly. There was no way on earth people would respond, en masse, to any type of initiative. It’s impossible.
Think about how many other things 1 in 14 of the world’s population must do (or is going to do, or has done). Do that number eat regularly? Does 1 in 14 children born get vaccinated? Have enough money to cover basic costs? Have the unconditional love of at least one other human being?
I realize that we can’t look at statistics in a vacuum either. So many variables come into play with our 1 in 14 figure — is this the number signed up, do they use it daily, have some stopped, is it because they are depressed, lonely, overseas, wanting to reconnect with school friends, menopausal, teeny angted, jetsetting, retired…
And, this post is not about disparaging Facebook and its users (because then 99% of my readership would go) nor is it about disgust in our technological world. It’s made out of amazement and it tells us two things:
• humans will network and socialize regardless of platform. We are pack animals.
• in a community of such huge numbers should come equivalent responsibility. We know there is safety in numbers. We know that there is power, and that the voice of the masses can always be heard. Perhaps places like Facebook can generate social justice for people that don’t even have a face, let alone a computer!
People reading this that don’t Facebook? You have yet to respond to the ‘can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ adage, but rest assured, you still have a voice. Whether it’s by hook, crook, blog, tweet or text, it’s something you’ll have to face. But that’s another eStory!