Facebook critics are fond of pointing out how it can be used for bad things. They cite examples of “trolling”, of bullying and of hate campaigns. And yes, it is true that Facebook can be used for such negative activities. But so can letters or the telephone.
With over a billion active users on Facebook it is inevitable that there will be some nasty people on it – but they are in the minority. The vast majority of Facebook use is positive. Indeed, studies show that around 90% of all comments on social networks are positive ones; we only very rarely say negative things about each other.
But sometimes people worry about who they connect with and the negative impact it may have on them or their image. One particular group of people who get concerned about this are young people who cannot dream of being “friended” by their parents. Goodness me…! Having your Dad as friend?
But how true is it that having your parents as Facebook friends is a problem? Or is it assumption?
Research provides the answer in the form of a study comparing students who have their parents as Facebook friends and those who do not. It transpires that having a parent as a Facebook friend is far from negative for the student. Indeed, it turns out that what is originally perceived as a problem for teenage privacy actually becomes a tool by which parent-child relationships are improved.
Teens think that their private life will be invaded by their parents, but that doesn’t happen. What does happen is that parent-child conflict is reduced and overall the relationships are improved. Far from being negative for teenagers and parents, Facebook turns out to be a force for good.
It should come as no surprise really. The simplest way of reducing conflict – whether between parent and child or client and supplier – is increased communication and understanding of each other. That’s what Facebook provides. So, if you worry about what Facebook might do for the relationship between you and your customers, fear not. It is probably going to improve things quite a bit.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+